The will as reason

Philosophical Perspectives 23 (1):201-220 (2009)
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Abstract
I here defend an account of the will as practical reason —or, using Kant's phrase, as " reason in its practical employment"—as against a view of the will as a capacity for choice, in addition to reason, by which we execute practical judgments in action. Certain commonplaces show distance between judgment and action and thus seem to reveal the need for a capacity, in addition to reason, by which we execute judgment in action. However, another ordinary fact pushes in the other direction: the activities of the will are activities for which the person is answerable in a very particular sort of way. This answerability is most easily understood if willing involves settling a question. Settling a question seems to be a capacity of reason. Thus it can seem that activities of will are activities of our capacity for reasoning. I will suggest that we can accommodate the commonplaces while still understanding the will as reason in its practical employment, by abandoning the assumption that practical reasoning concludes in a judgment. Rather, reasoning which concludes in a judgment—reasoning directed at the question of whether p—is theoretical reasoning. In its practical employment, reason is directed at the question of whether to x; it concludes, not in a judgment about x-ing, but rather in an intention to x
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