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Title: Practical reason: desires and imagination
Author: Dickson, Barnabas W.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2728 4066
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1990
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This thesis offers an account of certain aspects of practical reason. The chief aim is to develop our understanding of practical rationality by undermining some of the connections which are thought to exist between explicit criteria and codifiable rules on the one hand, and practical reason on the other. The thesis begins with a consideration of the question of what reasons for action are constituted from. It is argued that a necessary component of any practical reason is a desire of the person for whoa the reason is a reason (Part One). Equipped with this account of practical reasons two rationalistic prejudices are then attacked. The first of these is the claim that it must be possible to formulate explicit criteria of rational choice which set the standards of deliberation over a wide range of deliberative problems. It is argued that this claim is undermined by an examination of the actual circumstances in which deliberation takes place. On the positive side it is then contended that an understanding of deliberation requires consideration of the process of deliberation, and that this leads, in particular, to a recognition of the important role of imaginative thinking in solving deliberative problems (Part Two). The second prejudice that is attacked is the claim that a conception of how to act which determines the specific choices an agent makes must be codifiable. Against this, it it suggested that the idea that such conceptions can be determinate and yet not fully codifiable enables one to make better sense of certain aspects of deliberation. An argument demonstrating how it is possible for there to be such conceptions is than developed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available