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Chapter 2 - Mind, Action, and Reasoning

from Part I - The Metaethics of Reasons

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 October 2018

Arash Abizadeh
Affiliation:
McGill University, Montréal
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Summary

The hybrid metaethical interpretation of Hobbes (with which chapter 1 ended) is undermined by his account of practical reasoning and counsel: it fails to integrate the reasoning-based and prescriptivist elements composing it. This chapter argues, against the dominant interpretation, that Hobbesian deliberation and action can be reflectively responsive to both practical reasoning and to judgements about reasons. When humans engage in practical reasoning or give counsel, they do not merely (a) assent to or assert the proposition that some fact furnishes a reason to do something combined with (b) a decision or prescription to do it. The two elements are intrinsically linked: one decides to do something or prescribes doing it on the basis of a putative fact furnishing a reason to do it. Linguistic reasoning for Hobbes consists in reflectively reasoning from premises—inferentially drawing conclusions on the basis of propositions one supposes or takes to provide a reason from which to draw conclusions. Similarly, good counsellors ground their advice in the reasons they cite. The hybrid interpretation severs this intrinsic connection between deciding or prescribing and reasons. Only an irreducibly normative interpretation of Hobbes’s metaethics properly accounts for Hobbes’s account of linguistic practical reasoning and counsel.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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  • Mind, Action, and Reasoning
  • Arash Abizadeh, McGill University, Montréal
  • Book: Hobbes and the Two Faces of Ethics
  • Online publication: 18 October 2018
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108277310.004
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  • Mind, Action, and Reasoning
  • Arash Abizadeh, McGill University, Montréal
  • Book: Hobbes and the Two Faces of Ethics
  • Online publication: 18 October 2018
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108277310.004
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Mind, Action, and Reasoning
  • Arash Abizadeh, McGill University, Montréal
  • Book: Hobbes and the Two Faces of Ethics
  • Online publication: 18 October 2018
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108277310.004
Available formats
×