The composition of reasons

Synthese 191 (5):779-800 (2013)
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Abstract
How do reasons combine? How is it that several reasons taken together can have a combined weight which exceeds the weight of any one alone? I propose an answer in mereological terms: reasons combine by composing a further, complex reason of which they are parts. Their combined weight is the weight of their combination. I develop a mereological framework, and use this to investigate some structural views about reasons, the main two being "Atomism" and "Holism". Atomism is the view that atomic reasons are fundamental: all reasons reduce to atomic reasons. Holism is the view that whole reasons are fundamental. I argue for Holism, and against Atomism. I also consider whether reasons might be "context-sensitive".
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Archival date: 2013-04-24
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