Reasons have no weight

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2 Scopus citations


Practical reasoning is often described as weighing reasons. When one deliberates about what to do one puts all the reasons for the action on one side and all the reasons against the action on the other side. The balance between both sides determines the outcome of the deliberation. Assuming that this description is correct, the next question is how the different reasons for and against the action determine the outcome of the deliberation. This is the place where the notion of weight enters. The natural answer is that every reason for or against an action has a weight, and the weights of all the reasons involved determine what one should do. The aim of this paper is to argue that this answer is wrong; weights of reasons have no role in a theory of reasoning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-76
Number of pages17
JournalPhilosophical Quarterly
Issue number270
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Dancy
  • Practical reasoning
  • Prima facie reason
  • Weighing reasons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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