Having reasons

Research paper by Mark Schroeder

Indexed on: 28 Jul '07Published on: 28 Jul '07Published in: Philosophical Studies


What is it to have a reason? According to one common idea, the Factoring Account, you have a reason to do A when there is a reason for you to do A which you have—which is somehow in your possession or grasp. In this paper, I argue that this common idea is false. But though my arguments are based on the practical case, the implications of this are likely to be greatest in epistemology: for the pitfalls we fall into when trying to defend the Factoring Account reflect very well the major developments in empiricist epistemology during the 20th century. I conjecture that this is because epistemologists have been—wrongly—wedded to the Factoring Account about evidence, which I conjecture is a certain kind of reason to believe.