How Reasoning Aims at Truth

Noûs 55 (1):221-241 (2021)
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Many hold that theoretical reasoning aims at truth. In this paper, I ask what it is for reasoning to be thus aim-directed. Standard answers to this question explain reasoning’s aim-directedness in terms of intentions, dispositions, or rule-following. I argue that, while these views contain important insights, they are not satisfactory. As an alternative, I introduce and defend a novel account: reasoning aims at truth in virtue of being the exercise of a distinctive kind of cognitive power, one that, unlike ordinary dispositions, is capable of fully explaining its own exercises. I argue that this account is able to avoid the difficulties plaguing standard accounts of the relevant sort of mental teleology.
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