From a Rational Point of View: How We Represent Subjective Perspectives in Practical Discourse

ISBN : 9780198797036

Tim Henning
256 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
May 2018
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When discussing normative reasons, oughts, requirements of rationality, motivating reasons, and so on, we often have to use verbs like believe and want to capture a relevant subject's perspective. According to the received view about sentences involving these verbs, what they do is describe the subject's mental states. Many puzzles concerning normative discourse have to do with the role that mental states consequently appear to play in normative discourse. Tim Henning uses tools from semantics and the philosophy of language to develop an alternative account of sentences involving these verbs. According to this view, which is called parentheticalism, we very commonly use these verbs in a parenthetical sense. These verbs themselves express backgrounded side-remarks on the contents they embed, and these latter, embedded contents constitute the at-issue contents. This means that instead of speaking about the subject's mental states, we often use sentences involving believe and


1 Parentheticalism about believe
2 Parentheticalism about want
3 Parentheticalism and Normative Reasons
4 Parentheticalism, Normative Reasons, and Error Cases
5 Parentheticalism and Requirements of Rationality
6 Parentheticalism and Action Explanation
7 Parentheticalism and (Ir)rational Agency

About the author: 

Tim Henning is Professor of Practical Philosophy at the University of Stuttgart. His research interests include normative ethics, metanormativity, philosophy of language, and Kant. He has published several articles and books in German and English. His books include a monograph on personal autonomy and personal history, entitled Person sein und Geschichten erzahlen, and an introduction to Kant's ethics (in German). His articles have appeared in journals such as Philosophical Review, Ethics, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research and Philosophical Quarterly.

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