2.81 Reasons

Category: Ethics

Keywords: desires, motivation, deliberation, motivated, irrational, rationality, desire, internalism, rationally, reasons, rational, wants, practical, instrumental, requirements

Number of Articles: 398
Percentage of Total: 1.2%
Rank: 33rd

Weighted Number of Articles: 370.4
Percentage of Total: 1.2%
Rank: 32nd

Mean Publication Year: 1993.1
Weighted Mean Publication Year: 1986.3
Median Publication Year: 1997
Modal Publication Year: 2009

Topic with Most Overlap: Ordinary Language (0.0662)
Topic this Overlaps Most With: Norms (0.037)
Topic with Least Overlap: Quantum Physics (0.00023)
Topic this Overlaps Least With: Denoting (0.00057)

A scatterplot showing which proportion of articles each year are in the reasonstopic. The x-axis shows the year, the y-axis measures the proportion of articles each year in this topic. There is one dot per year. The highest value is in 2009 when 2.7% of articles were in this topic. The lowest value is in 1887 when 0.0% of articles were in this topic. The full table that provides the data for this graph is available in Table A.81 in Appendix A.

Figure 2.186: Reasons.

A set of twelve scatterplots showing the proportion of articles in each journal in each year that are in the Reasonstopic. There is one scatterplot for each of the twelve journals that are the focus of this book. In each scatterplot, the x-axis is the year, and the y-axis is the proportion of articles in that year in that journal in this topic. Here are the average values for each of the twelve scatterplots - these tell you on average how much of the journal is dedicated to this topic. Mind - 0.9%. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society - 1.1%. Ethics - 2.9%. Philosophical Review - 1.2%. Analysis - 1.0%. Philosophy and Public Affairs - 1.1%. Journal of Philosophy - 1.1%. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research - 1.4%. Philosophy of Science - 0.3%. Noûs - 2.0%. The Philosophical Quarterly - 1.4%. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science - 0.3%. The topic reaches its zenith in year 2009 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 3.4% of the articles. And it hits a minimum in year 1887 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 0.0% of the articles.

Figure 2.187: Reasons articles in each journal.

Table 2.197: Characteristic articles of the reasons topic.
Table 2.198: Highly cited articles in the reasons topic.


This includes a bunch of relatively modern work on the nature of reasons, the nature of desires, and the interaction between them. This could say more about me than about the model, but I was surprised this topic wasn’t both bigger and later. It isn’t small—either the thirty-second or thirty-third largest depending on which measure is used. But plenty of model runs had a topic centered on reasons as the latest topic to appear, and having nine topics come after it was not something I saw in many runs. What happened here, I think, was that this model was more inclusive than other models I ran at including 1970s work (like the Watson and Wiggins articles in the highly cited list), but also split off some papers into the norms topic that could have been here.

One nice thing is that the model seems to have not gotten tricked at all by the terms internalism and externalism. I would have thought they would have thrown it for a loop. But it seems to have been able to figure out that papers about internalism versus externalism about reasons are not the same as papers about internalism versus externalism about justification. This was pleasing and a fairly hard test for the utility of the model in classifying papers.