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Having Reasons

Having Reasons: An Essay on Rationality and Sociality

Copyright Date: 1984
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    Having Reasons
    Book Description:

    This important contribution to choice theory examines two theories of motivation and two kinds of explanation of behavior that they support.

    Originally published in 1984.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5683-1
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. 1 Prospectus
    (pp. 3-8)

    1. Some people cannot stand pigs, and others can’t live without them. There are people whom pigs disgust, who insist that pigs are unclean. Others see pigs as special friends, some even as part of the family. These last bring them up with their children, feed them from their table, stroke them and talk to them and sleep next to them. In the end they slaughter them all, but then they start over with new pigs.

    This is not the usual thing, so we ask what moves people here. How did these people come to this? Marvin Harris takes up...

  5. 2 Some Basics
    (pp. 9-36)

    1. What follows deals mostly with people’s choices. This may seem unpromising. In our usual thinking about people, how they act is what matters to us. An action often, however, expresses a prior choice of the agent’s, and this allows us to think about actions in terms that we can define for choices. A rational action is then an action expressing a rational choice, and a social action is one that expresses a choice that is social. Here we are using a concept of expression yet to be introduced, so we again are ahead of ourselves. We must start further...

  6. 3 Rationality
    (pp. 37-65)

    1. A common premise of explanation is that the agent expected some benefit. It says that people look ahead, and that they go by what they might gain, by what best suits their interests. In this sense it says that every person is rational.

    A rational person is outcome directed. Yes, but what does this mean? He pursues his interests in what might follow; the choices he makes have ends in view, they look to the sequels—this leaves it dark. A much more useful statement is possible. Let us approach it in stages.

    2. First, the case of certainty....

  7. 4 Cooperation
    (pp. 66-87)

    1. The genie has made you his offer, and you have chosen the one-box option and pocketed a million. The door now bursts open and the police rush in. They arrest the genie for robbing a bank and hold you as an accomplice.

    The captain at the station house advises you both to confess. He warns you however that, if you both do, you will both get a heavy sentence. If one of you confesses and the other does not, the one who confessed will be set free and the other will get averyheavy sentence. If neither of...

  8. 5 Sociality
    (pp. 88-119)

    1. What we have called ‘cooperation’ is a kind of other-suiting conduct. Where someone cooperates with another, he does what he thinks that other person wants—I will say heaccommodateshim. It also however involves some sense of what this other is doing. The agent is cooperating with some person where he accommodates him in the belief that this other is (or did, or will) accommodatehim.

    Cooperation implies accommodation, but not vice versa. We see now we were lax in our language on that point in Chapter 4. Some of what we there called ‘cooperation’ was indeed cooperation,...

  9. 6 Commitment
    (pp. 120-148)

    1. Titmuss speaks of blood donation as agiftrelationship. He remarks that this involves a special concern with the interests of others. There is more to giving than the transfer of goods, and sometimes too there is less. No transfer need be arranged—it may be that nothing changes hands. Giving is one sort of sociality, a doing of this or that because some others want us to do it, or because they want it done (by whomever), or because they want something else we think it will bring about.

    Giving is one sort of sociality. There is also...

  10. References
    (pp. 149-154)
  11. Index
    (pp. 155-158)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 159-159)