Practical reasoning and the act of naming reality

Fabrizio Macagno, Douglas Walton

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In the tradition stemming from Aristotle through Aquinas, rational decision making is seen as a complex structure of distinct phases in which reasoning and will are interconnected. Intention, deliberation, and decision are regarded as the fundamental steps of the decision-making process, in which an end is chosen, the means are specifi ed, and a decision to act is made. Underlying this process is the notion of classifi cation, the way a state of affairs is regarded and evaluated. The assessment and classifi cation of an end or the means thereto become the reason of an action, to which the agent needs to assent and commit to. The Aristotelian-Thomistic account, underscoring the essential dependence between naming, assessing, and choosing, can provide a new perspective for analysing the modern models of decision making and practical reasoning developed in argumentation theory, philosophy, and Artifi cial Intelligence (Bench-Capon 2003; Atkinson and Bench-Capon 2007; Russell and Norvig 1995; Walton 2015; Brandom 1998). The purpose of this paper is to analyze the Aristotelian and Thomistic structure
of the reasoning underlying decision making in order to bring to light the structure of argument from practical reasoning (Walton, Reed, and Macagno 2008).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-404
Number of pages12
JournalRevue Internationale De Philosophie
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Pragmatics
  • Argumentation
  • Reasoning


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