1st Edition

Practical Inferences

By D S Clarke Copyright 1985

    First published in 1985, Practical Inferences describes how practical inferences are used. Starting with relatively simple inference patterns exhibited in everyday prudential decisions, the author extends a basic structural framework to the more complex inferences used in assessing probabilities, and finally to moral inferences. In this way what have been regarded as disparate activities are shown to exhibit fundamental similarities. The author argues that at all levels of decision-making the practical inferences used contain at least one premise expressing the desires or preferences of the agent. This is in opposition to the dominant view in Western philosophy that desires must be regulated or evaluated by means of principles of conduct discovered by rational procedures. By examining the premises implied by holders of this view, the author shows that they are inadequate bases for justifying practical decisions. This book will be of interest to students of philosophy, logic and mathematics.

    Preface 1. Introduction 2. Deliberation, Justification and Explanation 3. The Inferential Relation 4. Cognitivist Reformulations 5. Assimilation to Deductive Inferences 6. Varieties of Practical Inferences 7. Moral Inferences Notes Name Index Subject Index


    D. S. Clarke, Jr