Acting on a Ground : Reasons, Rational Motivation, and Explanation

Dissertation, Fribourg (2016)
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When someone does something for a reason, what are the reasons for which she does what she does? What is her ‘motivating reason’, as it is sometimes put? The simple answer is: it depends on what is meant by ‘motivating reason’. Non-Psychologists hold that motivating reasons are what the agent believes. I have shown that given that we understand ‘motivating reasons’ as what I term 'grounds', this is quite correct, as what we believe is what plays the role of a ground. However, we have to be careful not to confuse the role of a ground and the role of an explanans. For the conflation of those two roles can occlude the truth in Non-Psychologism. What the Non-Psychologist about Grounds should say is that what plays the role of an explanans, when someone acts on a ground, is a motivation-fact. She should also say that there are two kinds of motivation-facts: those that include normative reasons and those that do not.

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Magnus Frei
Université de Fribourg


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