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date: 10 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Reasons for action are traditionally divided into “motivating reasons,” which explain why someone did something, and “normative reasons,” which concern why she should (or should not) have done it. We explore various positions concerning both types of reason, and the relations between them. We discuss Davidson’s causal account of action, reasons internalism and externalism, constructivism, motivational internalism and externalism, and practical normative realism (PNR)—the view that there are truths concerning what you have reason to do (this is opposed by error theorists and noncognitivists, whose views we also briefly address). In our account of PNR, we distinguish between what you ought to do and what you have most reason to do, by appealing to the idea of reasonable credences. And we include two appendices, one resisting Lewis’s argument to the effect that advocates of PNR must reject motivational internalism, the other responding to a concern about future contingents.

Keywords: action, causal, constructivism, credence, externalism, internalism, motivation, normative, ought, reasons

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