Eugene Garver

The norms of practical reason

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Logic; Norms; Phronesis; Practical Reason; Practical Wisdom; Rhetoric.

Comparison with a certain model of logic seems to imply that practical reason and so rhetoric cannot be responsive to norms. I look at four charges against practical reason, and then I present four replies on its behalf. 1. The success of practical reason seems relative to its audience, while the validity of logical argument is independent of audience. 2. Logic depends on a distinction between form and matter, and the norms of reasoning are located in its forms. There are no forms of practical reasoning that can be stated apart from their examples. 3. Theoretical reasoning is tested against a mind-independent reality. Practical reason is performative and so has no external check. 4. Logic can evaluate arguments in isolation from other propositions and arguments held by the knower. Such abstraction is impossible in practical reason.

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