Institutional Research Information Service
UCL Logo
Please report any queries concerning the funding data grouped in the sections named "Externally Awarded" or "Internally Disbursed" (shown on the profile page) to your Research Finance Administrator. Your can find your Research Finance Administrator at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/finance/research/post_award/post_award_contacts.php by entering your department
Please report any queries concerning the student data shown on the profile page to:

Email: portico-services@ucl.ac.uk

Help Desk: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ras/portico/helpdesk
Publication Detail
From the Agent's Point of View
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Phillips EH
  • Date awarded:
  • Pagination:
    1, 77
  • Supervisors:
    O'Brien LF,Martin MGF
  • Status:
  • Awarding institution:
    UCL (University College London)
  • Language:
  • Date Submitted:
This is an essay about the role of reasons in explaining human thought and action. Three plausible-seeming ideas appear to be in tension here: that all reasons for action are facts, that we can often explain an action as rational by ascribing a false belief to its agent, and that we always explain actions as rational by identifying the agent’s reasons for acting. One of the aims of this thesis is to show how we can gain a clear understanding of the first two ideas if we are willing to sacrifice the third. I distinguish two forms of ‘rationalising’ action-explanation: ‘worldly rationalisations’, which explain an action by stating the reason for which it was done, and ‘psychologised rationalisations’, which explain an action by stating something about what the agent thought, or how things seemed to them. I outline how, if we take sufficiently seriously the idea of the agent’s point of view, we can make sense of the way psychologised rationalisations explain actions as rational without implying that the agent acted for any reason. This raises an important question: is psychologised rationalisation all we need in order to make sense of agents’ behaviour as rational? That is, is the role of worldly rationalisation reducible to that of psychologised rationalisation? Early in the thesis I argue that considerations familiar from the literature on the nature of mental states suggest that this reductive approach to worldly rationalisation is not obligatory: there is no conclusive a priori argument against the autonomy of worldly rationalisation. In the final chapter, I present an argument which, if successful, would show that the reduction is positively undesirable. The (tentative) conclusion is that we should recognise a fundamental role for reasons themselves in explaining our thought and behaviour.
Publication data is maintained in RPS. Visit https://rps.ucl.ac.uk
 More search options
UCL Researchers
Dept of Philosophy
University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT Tel:+44 (0)20 7679 2000

© UCL 1999–2011

Search by