Reasons and Motives

In order to understand conduct, it is helpful to clarify the distinction between reasons and motives:

Whereas the reasons for a certain form of conduct are confined to the details and can ultimately only be named by the concrete actor, the motives that governed action are frequently easier for outsiders to judge.

If one wants to ascertain reasons, then talking with the individuals concerned is essential in order to discover their points of view. It may however be better to assume an historian’s detached view in order to identify motives.