Entitlement to Reasons for Action

In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility vol. 4. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press. pp. 75-92 (2017)
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The reasons for which I act are normally my reasons; I represent goal states and the means to attaining them, and these guide me in action. Can your reason ever be the reason why I act? If I haven’t yet taken up your reason and made it mine by representing it for myself, then it may seem mysterious how this could be possible. Nevertheless, the paper argues that sometimes one is entitled to another’s reason and that what one does is to be explained in terms of it. The case for this draws on aspects of the interplay between reasons and intentions in individual agency that have not received the attention they deserve. The paper closes by exploring the limits of interpersonal entitlement to reasons by formulating a hypothesis about which reasons one might be entitled to, and by considering how defeaters can undermine entitlement.

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Abe (Abraham) Roth
Ohio State University


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