The Routledge Handbook of Practical Reason  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Practical Reason

Edited By

Ruth Chang


Kurt Sylvan

ISBN 9781138195929
Published December 30, 2020 by Routledge
590 Pages

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Book Description

Over the last several decades, questions about practical reason have come to occupy the center stage in ethics and metaethics. The Routledge Handbook of Practical Reason is an outstanding reference source to this exciting and distinctive subject area and is the first volume of its kind. Comprising thirty-six chapters by an international team of contributors, the Handbook provides a comprehensive overview of the field and is divided into five parts:

  • Foundational Matters
  • Practical Reason in the History of Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Practical Reason as Action Theory and Moral Psychology
  • Philosophy of Practical Reason as Theory of Practical Normativity
  • The Philosophy of Practical Reason as the Theory of Practical Rationality

The Handbook also includes two chapters by the late Derek Parfit, ‘Objectivism about Reasons’ and ‘Normative Non-Naturalism.’

The Routledge Handbook of Practical Reason is essential reading for philosophy students and researchers in metaethics, philosophy of action, action theory, ethics, and the history of philosophy.

Table of Contents

An introduction to the philosophy of practical reason Kurt Sylvan and Ruth Chang

Part 1: Foundational matters

1. Some central questions about practical reason T. M. Scanlon

2. Practical reason: rationality or normativity but not both John Broome

3. Can reason be practical? narrow and broad conceptions and capacities Peter Railton

4. Practical reason and social practices Sally Haslanger

5. How to be a pragmatist Elizabeth Anderson

6. What is it to be a rational agent? Ruth Chang

Part 2: Practical reason in the history of philosophy

7. Practical reasoning in early Chinese philosophy David B. Wong

8. Aristotle on deliberation Agnes Callard

9. Hume’s robust theory of practical reason Geoffrey Sayre-McCord

10. Kant’s approach to the theory of human agency Tamar Schapiro

11. Anscombe on acting for reasons Keshav Singh

Part 3: Philosophy of practical reason as action theory and moral psychology

12. Three dogmas of agency theory Nomy Arpaly

13. Some reflections on the relationship between reasons and the will Sarah Buss

14. Three for the price of two Jonathan Dancy

15. The guise of the good Sergio Tenenbaum

16. Motivational internalism and externalism Connie S. Rosati

17. Emotions in practical reasoning Patricia Greenspan

18. Psychopathy, agency, and practical reason Monique Wonderly

19. Practical reason and social science research Valerie Tiberius and Natalia Washington

Part 4: The philosophy of practical reason as the theory of practical normativity

Section 1: The nature and grounds of normative practical reasons

20. Objectivism about reasons Derek Parfit (edited by Ruth Chang)

21. How to be a subjectivist David Sobel

22. Kantian constructivism Julia Markovits and Kenny Walden

23. Constitutivism: on rabbits, hats, and holy grails David Enoch

24. Reasoning first Pamela Hieronymi

25. Normative nonnaturalism Derek Parfit (edited by Ruth Chang)

Section 2: Some substantive matters

26. Non-requiring reasons Margaret Olivia Little and Coleen Macnamara

27. Requirements of reason R. Jay Wallace

28. Normative pluralism and skepticism about ‘ought simpliciterDavid Copp

29. There is no moral ought and no prudential ought Elizabeth Harman

30. Practical reason and the second-person standpoint Stephen Darwall

Part 5: The philosophy of practical reason as the theory of pratical rationality

31. The normativity of rationality Errol Lord

32. The eclipse of instrumental rationality Kurt Sylvan

33. Rationality, regret, and choice over time Chrisoula Andreou

34. Plan rationality Michael E. Bratman

35. Between sophistication and resolution – wise choice Wlodek Rabinowicz

36. The norms of practical reasoning Jennifer M. Morton and Sarah K. Paul

Appendix: a guide to further reading


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Ruth Chang is Chair and Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford and Professorial Fellow at University College, Oxford, UK.

Kurt Sylvan is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southampton, UK.


'This volume boasts a very impressive list of distinguished contributors. It is well-organized and covers a wide range of topics central to contemporary work on practical reason. The chapters manage to simultaneously introduce topics in ways that would be accessible to beginning graduate students while also advancing the debate in ways that make the volume essential reading for specialists working in this area.' - John Brunero, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, USA