Reasoning and normative beliefs: not too sophisticated

Müller, Andreas (2019). Reasoning and normative beliefs: not too sophisticated. Philosophical Explorations, 22(1), pp. 2-15. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/13869795.2018.1523449

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Does reasoning to a certain conclusion necessarily involve a normative belief in support of that conclusion? In many recent discussions of the nature of reasoning, such a normative belief condition is rejected. One main objection is that it requires too much conceptual sophistication and thereby excludes certain reasoners, such as small children. I argue that this objection is mistaken. Its advocates overestimate what is necessary for grasping the normative concepts required by the condition, while seriously underestimating the importance of such concepts for our most fundamental agential capacities. Underlying the objection is the observation that normative thoughts do not necessarily cross our minds during reasoning. I show that proponents of the normative belief condition can accommodate this observation by taking the required normative belief to guide the reasoning process and offer a novel account of what such guidance consists in.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy > Practical Philosophy

UniBE Contributor:

Müller, Andreas


100 Philosophy
100 Philosophy > 120 Epistemology
100 Philosophy > 170 Ethics




Taylor & Francis




Andreas Müller

Date Deposited:

27 Jun 2019 11:07

Last Modified:

28 Oct 2019 11:04

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