!?

Zwichenzug

an in-between move

Cool kids read The Bellman.

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Don't read this blog!

I mean, thanks for dropping by my little corner of the blogospheric backwaters, but the blog you should be reading is The Bellman. The stuff I post there is much, much less likely to be imbued with dormitive powers.

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Zwischenzug
[German, from zwischen, intermediate + zug, move

n.
Literally an "in-between move". A move in a tactical sequence is called a zwischenzug* when it does not relate directly to the tactical motif in operation. |source|


image copyright TWIC

From this position, black played a zwischenzug: 19…d5
Adams-Kasparov
(Linares 2002, 1-0)

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about your blogger

David Rowland studies philosophy at the University of Illinois - Urbana / Champaign, where he's an active member of the Graduate Employees Organization. He used to play a lot of chess, but wasn't all that good. He has a blog. And email.

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some folks I know

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a daily dose of architecture
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eripsa
January Girl
mimi jingcha
bleen
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some blogs I read

strip mining for whimsy
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Saheli
Fall of the State
Dru Blood
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Colossal Waste of Bandwidth
Running from the Thought Police
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E.G.
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Freiheit und Wissen

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This Modern World
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DeLong
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Rule 33
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Orsinal: Morning Sunshine
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some philosoblogging

Six views about reasons
Seidman on reflection and rationality
And another thing
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Tiffany's argument for strong internalism
Internalism v. Externalism
What do internalists believe anyway?
Rationalism and internalism
The experimental method in philosophy
Advertising to children
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A linguistic argument
Whorf
More on Williams
Williams on reasons
General and particular
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Moore on torture
On the phenomenology of deliberation
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He made a porch for the throne where he might judge
Every shepherd is an abomination
Droppin' H-bombs
ad hominem

Sunday, June 12, 2005

 

Six views about reasons

In What do internalists believe anyway? I distinguished between two varieties of internalism and attempted to articulate the differences between them. In this post I want to map out the logical space in which those two views are located.

First, let me assert a common distinction and introduce a terminological convention in order to deal with it. In everyday talk when we provide explanations in terms of reasons there are two apparently different things that we might mean. On the one hand, we might be providing what I will henceforth call an explanation. An explanation is an account of an event which, if successful, provides a true description of the event. So, if someone were to say, "The reason you hear thunder after you see the lightning is that light travels faster than sound" then this would be a successful explanation. On the other hand, we might instead be making a normative claim or a claim about an agent's motivations. So, for example, we might say "The reason that John left is that he was offended." I'm going to limit the use of the term reason to apply to cases of this second sort.

Another terminological convention will be to refer to whatever is a candidate for being a reason as a consideration.

The basic distinction between internal and external reasons has to do with whether a consideration's status as a reason is tied to the possibility that the consideration might have motivational force for a given agent. To say that some consideration is an internal reason for an agent is to say that the consideration is capable of motivating that agent to act. To say that some consideration is an external reason for an agent is to say that it counts in favor of some action even if there is no possibility that the agent could be motivated by the consideration.

In mapping out the logical possibilities below, the hope is to say what conditions must hold in order for some consideration to be a reason proper. For the purposes of the list it is assumed that both the notion of an internal reason and that of an external reason are coherent and that it is conceivable that a consideration may count as either without being a reason proper.

Six views about reasons:
  • Pure Internalism[1]
    That the consideration is an internal reason is always necessary and sufficient, but that it is an external reason is never necessary or sufficient.

  • Weak Internalism
    That the consideration is an internal reason is always necessary and sometimes but not always sufficient, while that it is an external reason is sometimes necessary but never sufficient.

  • Strong Ecuminicism
    That the consideration is both an internal and an external reason is always necessary, hence its being either is never sufficient on its own.

  • Weak Ecuminicism
    Both that the consideration is an internal reason and that it is an external reason is sometimes necessary and sometimes sufficent.

  • Weak Externalism
    That the consideration is an external reason is always necessary and sometimes but not always sufficient, while that it is an internal reason is sometimes necessary but never sufficient.

  • Pure Externalism
    That the consideration is an external reason is always necessary and sufficient, but that it is an internal reason is never necessary or sufficient.
I'm not going to attempt to adjudicate fully between these views, but here is one preliminary thought. Note that there seem to be two major purposes served by engaging in talk about reasons. There is, first, the project of providing advice to one another, and second, the project of explaining the actions of particular agents. Much of the support for internalism comes from the seeming fact that neither of these projects can be accomplished unless the purported reasons are, at the very least, the sorts of considerations which might figure in the motivations of the agent in question. On the other hand, the projects of giving advice and providing explanations additionally require that the purported reasons be rationally intelligible to us, and this seems to indicate that a consideration's status as a reason depends on its conformity to evaluative standards that are independent of any particular agent's idiosyncratic psychology. Given these demands, I am inclined to think that both Pure Externalism and Pure Internalism are inadequate.

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1 This is the view I have previously called strong internalism. The expression pure internalism is Tiffany's and now seems to me to be a better fit.



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