Varieties of Practical Reasoning

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Practical reasoning is the study of how to figure out what to do. It is of particular importance to ethics. Indeed, new developments in practical reasoning promise to break through long-standing ethical and moral dilemmas. Practical reasoning also has consequences for philosophy of mind, value theory, and the social sciences. This anthology provides an overview of this important area of philosophy. Over the past two decades the field of practical reasoning has changed rapidly, with a small number of entrenched positions giving way to a healthy profusion of competing views. This book covers a broad spectrum of positions on practical reasoning-from the nihilist view that there are no legitimate forms of practical inference, and hence no such thing as practical reasoning, to inferential expressivism, which holds that our desires express commitments to arbitrarily different kinds of practical inferences (as when the desire to stay dry makes explicit the commitment to inferring the need to carry an umbrella if rain is forecast). Underlying all the contributions is the question of how one should go about determining what the legitimate forms of practical reasoning are.