Practical Shape: A Theory of Practical Reasoning

ISBN : 9780198865827

Jonathan Dancy
208 Pages
138 x 216 mm
Pub date
Jun 2020
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Everyone allows that we can reason to a new belief from beliefs that we already have. Aristotle thought that we could also reason from beliefs to action. Practical Shape: A Theory of Practical Reasoning establishes this possibility of reasoning to action, in a way that allows also for reasoning to intention, hope, fear, and doubt. While many philosophers have found little sense in Aristotle's claim, Dancy offers a general theory of reasoning that is sensitive to current debates but still Aristotelian in spirit. The text clearly sets out the similarities between reasoning to action and reasoning to belief, which are far more striking than any dissimilarities. Its detailed account of practical reasoning, a topic inadequately covered in current literature, is presented in such a way as to be intelligible to a variety of readers, making it an ideal resource for students of philosophy but also of interest to academics in related disciplines.


1 What Is the (Supposed) Problem about Practical Reasoning?
2 How Practical Reasoning is Possible
3 The Material Theory of Practical Reasoning
4 From the Practical to the Theoretical
5 Moral Reasoning
6 Taking Stock
7 Instrumental Reasoning
8 Reasoning to Normative Belief
9 Reasoning to Intention
10 Loose Ends

About the author: 

Jonathan Dancy has worked at the University of Texas at Austin since 2005. He previously taught at the University of Keele for 25 years and then at the University of Reading before retiring in the UK in 2011. His books include Practical Reality (2000) and Ethics Without Principles (2004).

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