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Can Reasons be Seen?

Applicant Nida-Rümelin Martine
Number 113682
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Departement für Philosophie Philosophische Fakultät Universität Freiburg
Institution of higher education University of Fribourg - FR
Main discipline Philosophy
Start/End 01.01.2007 - 31.12.2007
Approved amount 98'773.00
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Keywords (3)

Metaethics; Reasons; Practical Reason

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
What are reasons? Which creatures are capable of having access to them?Are brute emotions like fear perceptions of reasons? The project addresses these central philosophical questions.The main goal of the project is to provide a clarification of the nature of normative reasons in the practical domain. Although the topic of normative reasons has attracted considerable attention in the past ten years, the question of the nature of normative reasons has not yet been sufficiently explored. This project proposes a new theoretical characterization of the nature of reasons based on a few insufficiently appreciated aspects of our commonsense understanding of reasons.Clarifying the nature of normative reasons will help determine what it takes for a creature to have access to them. An important consequence of the approach developed in the project will be that access to normative reasons cannot be secured by lower animals' experience of brute emotions.A significant degree of cognitive sophistication is required for access to normative reasons.The project will make an important and original contribution to the current debates about practical reasons. In addition, it will open new perspectives for thinking about theoretical reasons and for articulating a unified account of normative reasons in both the theoretical and practical domains.Since it is concerned with a fundamental area of philosophy, this project is not designed to have immediate non-academic impact. However, fundamental research on practical reasons can in the long run be expected to inform domains like applied ethics, which are of considerable importance to our political organizations and our everyday lives. The project may also provide useful tools for cognitive psychology, since it proposes a new theoretical framework for characterizing the psychological mechanisms which underwrite rationality.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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