Reasons as Defaults

Hardcover | April 18, 2012

byJohn F. Horty

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There has recently been a good deal of discussion of reasons in the philosophical literature, much of it motivated by the idea that the concept of a reason is basic to the normative realm, a fundamental concept in terms of which other normative notions can be analyzed. In this volume, JohnHorty brings to bear his work in logic to present a framework that allows for answers to key questions about reasons and reasoning, namely: What are reasons, and how do they support actions or conclusions? Given a collection of individual reasons, possibly suggesting conflicting actions orconclusions, how can we determine which course of action, or which conclusion, is supported by the collection as a whole? What is the mechanism of support? This book joins an important and active literature, but it also occupies a unique position. Most of the current work on reasons is concerned with a number of complex philosophical issues, such as, for example, the relation between reasons and motivation, desires, and values, the issue of internalismversus externalism in the theory of reasons, and the issue of objectivity versus subjectivity of reasons. Horty's book, by contrast, concentrates on developing a concrete theory of the way in which reasons might interact to support their outcomes. He brings to the study of reasons and their outcomesthe same standards of rigor that Frege first applied in studying the relation between ordinary logical premises and their conclusions.

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There has recently been a good deal of discussion of reasons in the philosophical literature, much of it motivated by the idea that the concept of a reason is basic to the normative realm, a fundamental concept in terms of which other normative notions can be analyzed. In this volume, JohnHorty brings to bear his work in logic to pres...

John Horty is Professor of Philosophy, University of Maryland. He is the author of Agency and Deontic Logic and Frege on Definitions.

other books by John F. Horty

Agency and Deontic Logic
Agency and Deontic Logic

Hardcover|Oct 15 2000

$97.95

Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:April 18, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199744076

ISBN - 13:9780199744077

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Table of Contents

IntroductionI Default logic1. A primer on default logic1.1 Basic concepts1.1.1 Default rules1.1.2 Priority relations1.1.3 Theories and scenarios1.2 Central definitions1.2.1 Binding defaults1.2.2 Proper scenarios and extensions1.3 Extensions and conclusions1.3.1 Theories with multiple extensions1.3.2 Theories without extensions2. From defaults to reasons2.1 An austere theory of reasons2.2 Developing the theory2.2.1 Conflict, strength, and defeat2.2.2 Reasons and enablers2.2.3 Reason amalgamationII Deontic logic3. Reasons and oughts3.1 The two logics3.1.1 Simple oughts3.1.2 Conditional oughts3.1.3 Some history3.2 Properties of the logics4. Moral conflicts4.1 Logical objections4.1.1 Agglomeration4.1.2 Other logical objections4.2 Conceptual objections4.3 Objections based on reasons as moral forcesIII Some elaborations5. Variable priorities and exclusion5.1 Variable priority default theories5.1.1 The definition5.1.2 Some examples5.2 Exclusionary default theories5.2.1 The definition5.2.2 Some examples5.3 Discussion5.3.1 Downward closure of exclusion5.3.2 Exclusion by weaker defaults5.3.3 Excluders, intensifiers, and attenuators6. Particularism6.1 Dancy's argument6.2 Evaluating the argument6.3 Discussion6.3.1 Pragmatic considerations6.3.2 Borrowing a book6.3.3 Moderate particularismIV Some complications7. Skepticism and floating conclusions7.1 Floating conclusions7.1.1 Arguments and paths7.1.2 Two versions of skepticism7.2 The problem with floating conclusions7.2.1 An example7.2.2 Objections to the example7.3 Discussion7.3.1 Other examples7.3.2 Skepticism8. Poblems with priorities8.1 Refining the concept of defeat8.2 Controlling the order of application8.3 Discussion8.3.1 Inappropriate equilibria8.3.2 Other orderings8.3.3 ReinstatementV AppendicesA Notes on the default logicsA.1 Proper scenariosA.2 Some observations on defeatA.3 Normal default theoriesB Notes on the deontic logicsB.1 A comparison with van Fraassen's logicB.2 A comparison with standard deontic logic