The most compelling instances of exclusionary reasons are those which Joseph Raz, in essence, overlooked

Andrea Faggion, Associate Professor, State University of Londrina (UEL), Londrina – Brazil.

Logo of the journal Trans/form/ação.

The complexity of practical reasoning goes beyond weighing a multitude of favorable and unfavorable considerations regarding a given action (Scanlon, 1998; Dancy, 2018).  Practical reasoning also has multiple layers.  In other words, considerations from different levels impact our deliberation. The topic is the main focus of a recent article published in the journal Trans/Form/Ação, entitled Are there exclusionary reasons? An inquiry on a third kind of exclusionary reasons.

Joseph Raz sought to capture this phenomenon through the concept of exclusionary reasons. Exclusionary reasons are not reasons that count against or in favor of a particular action. They are reasons for not acting on certain reasons (Raz, 1999). In fact, Raz (1989) dispelled any possible ambiguity of the concept and made it clear to accept only the motivational interpretation of exclusionary reasons. Thus, in summary, exclusionary reasons are negative second-order reasons for not having certain valid first-order reasons as our guiding ones.

However, not all exclusionary reasons are directly motivational. An example of a directly motivational exclusionary reason is Colin’s promise to his wife. He has committed not to decide which school to enroll their child in based on any reason other than the quality of education the child will receive (Raz, 1999).

Photograph of two paper cutouts shaped like human figures, clipped to a string with clothespins and hanging against a blurred green background.

Imagem: Freepik.

In addition to this specific type of exclusionary reason, Raz (1999) also accepted another category of exclusionary reasons—evidential exclusionary ones. The latter is strategically adopted to optimize conformity with the excluded reasons or with the totality of ones applicable to us (Raz, 1989, 2021). In other words, when it comes to this latter type of exclusionary reason, the agent cannot be motivated by a certain reason, but the reason for them to avoid that motivation is an indirect strategy to enhance their conformity with that same reason or with the totality of reasons applicable to them.

The existence of exclusionary reasons of any kind is controversial, to say the least. In this work, I focus on reasons that are excluded by their very nature. If they exist, it is inherent to their nature that they cannot motivate action; otherwise, there would be no conformity with them. Raz (2021) briefly mentions the possibility that some reasons are inherently unable to motivate action. I provide a representative example from a wide range of cases. In my analysis of the example, I argue that these cases form a third category of exclusionary reasons, potentially the most significant one.

About Andrea Faggion

Andrea Faggion holds a Doctorate in Philosophy from the State University of Campinas and serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the State University of Londrina. Her research is currently supported by a funding grant from the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).


RAZ, J. Facing up: A reply. Southern California Law Review [online]. 1989, vol. 62, pp. 1153-1237 [viewed 19 June 2024]. Available from:

RAZ, J. Practical reason and norms. 2. ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

RAZ, J. Exclusionary reasons. SSRN Electronic Journal [online]. 2021 [viewed 19 June 2024]. Available from:

To read the article, access

FAGGION, Andrea. Are there exclusionary reasons? An inquiry on a third kind of exclusionary reasons. Trans/Form/Ação [online]. 2024, vol. 47, no. 2, pp. 1–14 [viewed 19 June 2024]. Available from:

External links

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Andrea Faggion – ORCID: 0000-0003-4260-1771


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

FAGGION, A. The most compelling instances of exclusionary reasons are those which Joseph Raz, in essence, overlooked [online]. SciELO in Perspective: Humanities, 2024 [viewed ]. Available from:


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