, Volume 82, Issue 3, pp 561–582 | Cite as

Three Cheers for Dispositions: A Dispositional Approach to Acting for a Normative Reason

Original Research


Agents sometimes act for normative reasons—for reasons that objectively favor their actions. Jill, for instance, calls a doctor for the normative reason that Kate is injured. In this article I explore a dispositional approach to acting for a normative reason. I argue for the need of epistemic, motivational, and executional dispositional elements of a theory of acting for a normative reason. Dispositions play a mediating role between, on the one hand, the normative reason and its normative force, and the action on the other hand. Thereby, they help to deal with problem cases such as cases of deviant causal chains and improper instrumental motivation.


Causal Chain Normative Reason Lightning Strike Causal Account Dispositional Account 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I would like to thank the participants of the colloquium of Holmer Steinfath for insightful comments on an earlier version of this paper. Special thanks is due to Benjamin Kiesewetter and Ralf Stoecker, who provided me with valuable feedback concerning the dispositional approach on a symposium on my book manuscript “Acting for a normative reason: A competence account” in Berlin in 2015. Further thanks goes to Christoph Fehige, Frank Hofmann, and Eva Schmidt, as well as to two anonymous referees for Erkenntnis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophisches InstitutUniversität des SaarlandesSaarbrückenGermany

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