Summary of Broome

We're reading: Rationality Through Reasoning (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013)

Here is a full history of Broome's work on these topics.

From the Preface about how his views evolved on the way towards the book:

First, I disentangled rationality from normativity in general. Many philosophers think of rationality as a sort of enforcer for normativity: it is your rationality that makes you do what you have a reason to do, or at least what you believe you have a reason to do. I now think that rationality is much less tightly connected with normativity than that. Second, I disentangled reasoning, which is something a person does, from rationality, which is a property of a person and her mental states.

My account of reasoning has gone through several revolutions, each correcting an initial mistake of mine. At first I was deceived by a similarity between the contents of instrumental practical reasoning and the contents of theoretical reasoning by modus ponens. I thought that the two were somehow fused together. I have now concluded that their similarity is only superficial. A second mistake was to assume that, when reasoning is correct, it is made correct by requirements of rationality. I now realize that reasoning is made correct by permissions, not requirements. Correct reasoning is not reasoning you are required to do by rationality, but reasoning you are permitted to do by rationality. This seems intuitively obvious, but I understood it properly only as a result of facing up to an objection to my previous account of reasoning that was shown me by Kieran Setiya. A third mistake was to assume that reasoning --- at least when it is conscious and something we do --- has to be conducted in language. This may be true, but a discussion with Paul Boghossian persuaded me it is best not to assume it.

Core theses of the book:

Terms Broome uses


Chapter 12: rejects that reasoning must involve higher-order belief, that you ought to have some attitude Chapter 13: FO theoretical reasoning Chapter 14: practical reasoning, where your premises/conclusions aren't always beliefs Chapter 15: explicit reasoning: do attitudes have to be expressed in language to reason with them? Chapter 16: enkratic reasoning (pp. 288-294, short)

Chapter 2-4: oughts and reasons

Chapters 5-6: the property of being rational

Chapters 7-8: the meaning and logic of requirements

Chapters 9 and 10

Chapter 11: is rationality normative?