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  1. added 2019-01-29
    Review of Practical Shape: A Theory of Practical Reasoning, by Jonathan Dancy. [REVIEW]Jonathan Way - forthcoming - Ethics.
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  2. added 2018-09-18
    Cognitivism About Practical Rationality.John Brunero - 2014 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 9:18-44.
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  3. added 2018-09-14
    What is Good Reasoning?Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:153-174.
    What makes the difference between good and bad reasoning? In this paper we defend a novel account of good reasoning—both theoretical and practical—according to which it preserves fittingness or correctness: good reasoning is reasoning which is such as to take you from fitting attitudes to further fitting attitudes, other things equal. This account, we argue, is preferable to two others that feature in the recent literature. The first, which has been made prominent by John Broome, holds that the standards of (...)
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  4. added 2018-05-11
    Trying Cognitivism: A Defence of the Strong Belief Thesis.Avery Archer - 2018 - Theoria 84 (2):140-156.
    According to the Strong Belief Thesis (SBT), intending to X entails the belief that one will X. John Brunero has attempted to impugn SBT by arguing that there are cases in which an agent intends to X but is unsure that she will X. Moreover, he claims that the standard reply to such putative counterexamples to SBT – namely, to claim that the unsure agent merely has an intention to try – comes at a high price. Specifically, it prevents SBT (...)
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  5. added 2017-09-28
    Repliken.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2017 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 71 (4):578-83.
    This a a reply to Gerhard Ernst's and Erasmus Mayr's critical comments on my book 'The Normativity of Rationality'.
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  6. added 2017-07-17
    Constitutive Arguments.Ariela Tubert - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (8):656-666.
    Can the question "Why do what morality requires?" be answered in such a way that anyone regardless of their desires or interests has reason to be moral? One strategy for answering this question appeals to constitutive arguments. In general, constitutive arguments attempt to establish the normativity of rational requirements by pointing out that we are already committed to them insofar as we are believers or agents. This study is concerned with the general prospects for such arguments. It starts by explaining (...)
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  7. added 2017-06-25
    Circularity, Naturalism, and Desire-Based Reasons.Attila Tanyi - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (4):451-470.
    In this paper, I propose a critique of the naturalist version of the Desire-Based Reasons Model. I first set the scene by spelling out the connection between naturalism and the Model. After this, I introduce Christine Korsgaard’s circularity argument against what she calls the instrumental principle. Since Korsgaard’s targets, officially, were non-naturalist advocates of the principle, I show why and how the circularity charge can be extended to cover the naturalist Model. Once this is done, I go on to investigate (...)
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  8. added 2016-10-12
    Epistemic Instrumentalism and the Reason to Believe in Accord with the Evidence.Nathaniel Sharadin - 2018 - Synthese 195 (9):3791-3809.
    Epistemic instrumentalists face a puzzle. In brief, the puzzle is that if the reason there is to believe in accord with the evidence depends, as the instrumentalist says it does, on agents’ idiosyncratic interests, then there is no reason to expect that this reason is universal. Here, I identify and explain two strategies instrumentalists have used to try and solve this puzzle. I then argue that we should find these strategies wanting. Faced with the failure of these strategies, I articulate (...)
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  9. added 2016-08-19
    Epistemic Instrumentalism, Permissibility, and Reasons for Belief.Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen - 2018 - In Conor McHugh, Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting (eds.), Normativity: Epistemic and Practical. Oxford University Press. pp. 260-280.
    Epistemic instrumentalists seek to understand the normativity of epistemic norms on the model practical instrumental norms governing the relation between aims and means. Non-instrumentalists often object that this commits instrumentalists to implausible epistemic assessments. I argue that this objection presupposes an implausibly strong interpretation of epistemic norms. Once we realize that epistemic norms should be understood in terms of permissibility rather than obligation, and that evidence only occasionally provide normative reasons for belief, an instrumentalist account becomes available that delivers the (...)
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  10. added 2016-03-28
    Practical Reasoning.Antti Kauppinen - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter presents two contemporary pictures of practical reasoning. According to the Rule-Guidance Conception, roughly, practical reasoning is a rule-guided operation of acquiring (or retaining or giving up) intentions so as to meet synchronic requirements of rationality. According to the Reasons-Responsiveness Conception, practical reasoning is a process of responding to reasons we take ourselves to have, and its standards of correctness derive from what we objectively have reason to do, if things are as we suppose them to be. I argue (...)
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  11. added 2016-02-11
    Ambivalent Desires and the Problem with Reduction.Derek Clayton Baker - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (1):37-47.
    Ambivalence is most naturally characterized as a case of conflicting desires. In most cases, an agent’s intrinsic desires conflict contingently: there is some possible world in which both desires would be satisfied. This paper argues, though, that there are cases in which intrinsic desires necessarily conflict—i.e., the desires are not jointly satisfiable in any possible world. Desiring a challenge for its own sake is a paradigm case of such a desire. Ambivalence of this sort in an agent’s desires creates special (...)
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  12. added 2015-11-03
    Instrumental Reasoning.John Broome - 2000 - In Julian Nida-Rümelin & Wolfgang Spohn (eds.), Rationality, Rules and Structure. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 195-207.
    Like all reasoning, practical reasoning is a process that takes a person from some of her existing mental states to a new mental state. Theoretical reasoning concludes in a belief; practical reasoning in an intention. This paper concentrates on instrumental reasoning, a species of practical reasoning in general. It argues that instrumental reasoning is correct if the content of the reasoning is a valid derivation, just as theoretical reasoning is correct if its content is a valid derivation. It also argues (...)
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  13. added 2015-09-03
    On Risk and Rationality.Brad Armendt - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S6):1-9.
    It is widely held that the influence of risk on rational decisions is not entirely explained by the shape of an agent’s utility curve. Buchak (Erkenntnis, 2013, Risk and rationality, Oxford University Press, Oxford, in press) presents an axiomatic decision theory, risk-weighted expected utility theory (REU), in which decision weights are the agent’s subjective probabilities modified by his risk-function r. REU is briefly described, and the global applicability of r is discussed. Rabin’s (Econometrica 68:1281–1292, 2000) calibration theorem strongly suggests that (...)
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  14. added 2015-09-02
    Rational Choice and the Transitivity of Betterness.Toby Handfield - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (1):584-604.
    If A is better than B and B is better than C, then A is better than C, right? Larry Temkin and Stuart Rachels say: No! Betterness is nontransitive, they claim. In this paper, I discuss the central type of argument advanced by Temkin and Rachels for this radical idea, and argue that, given this view very likely has sceptical implications for practical reason, we would do well to identify alternative responses. I propose one such response, which employs the idea (...)
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  15. added 2015-09-02
    Procrastination as Vice. Baker - 2010 - In Chrisoula Andreou Mark D. White (ed.), The Thief of Time: Philosophical Essays on Procrastination. Oxford University Press.
    Philosophers often give procrastination an anemic description—a preference, a confl ict, a case of irrationality. Presumably, this is done in order to make it susceptible to analysis. But if one makes use of ethical theory, particularly one with an accompanying account of moral psychology, no arid depiction of procrastination is necessary. An ethical theory that is robust enough—such as traditional virtue ethics—can meet procrastination head on, unhindered by its complex emotionality and opaque intentionality. It can then place it alongside similarly (...)
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  16. added 2015-08-26
    Prudence and Person-Stages.Kristie Miller - 2015 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (5):403-417.
    Persons care about their future selves. They reason about their future selves’ interests; they plan for their future selves’ happiness and they worry about their future selves’ suffering. This paper is interested in the interplay between diachronic prudential reason and certain accounts of the metaphysics of personal identity that fall under the broad umbrella ‘conventionalist’. Some conventionalists conclude that under certain conditions there are intractable decisions for there is no fact of the matter regarding whether a person-stage ought (prudentially) to (...)
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  17. added 2015-03-24
    How to Rationally Approach Life's Transformative Experiences.Marcus Arvan - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (8):1199-1218.
    In a widely discussed forthcoming article, “What you can't expect when you're expecting,” L. A. Paul challenges culturally and philosophically traditional views about how to rationally make major life-decisions, most specifically the decision of whether to have children. The present paper argues that because major life-decisions are transformative, the only rational way to approach them is to become resilient people: people who do not “over-plan” their lives or expect their lives to play out “according to plan”—people who understand that beyond (...)
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  18. added 2015-03-22
    Instrumental Reasoning Reconsidered.Georg Spielthenner - 2008 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 4 (1):59-76.
    Since Aristotle it has been common among philosophers to distinguish between two fundamental types of reasoning, theoretical and practical. We do not only want to work out what is the case but also what we ought to do. This article offers a logical analysis of instrumental reasoning, which is the paradigm of practical reasoning. In the first section I discuss the major types of instrumental reasoning and show why the accounts of most authors are defective. On the basis of this (...)
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  19. added 2015-03-20
    Introduction.Ruth Chang - 1997 - In Incommensurability, Incomparability, and Practical Reason. Harvard University Press. pp. 1-34.
    This paper is the introduction to the volume. It gives an argumentative view of the philosophical landscape concerning incommensurability and incomparability. It argues that incomparability, not incommensurability, is the important phenomenon on which philosophers should be focusing and that the arguments for the existence of incomparability are so far not compelling.
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  20. added 2014-09-06
    The Locality and Globality of Instrumental Rationality: The Normative Significance of Preference Reversals.Brian Kim - 2014 - Synthese 191 (18):4353-4376.
    When we ask a decision maker to express her preferences, it is typically assumed that we are eliciting a pre-existing set of preferences. However, empirical research has suggested that our preferences are often constructed on the fly for the decision problem at hand. This paper explores the ramifications of this empirical research for our understanding of instrumental rationality. First, I argue that these results pose serious challenges for the traditional decision-theoretic view of instrumental rationality, which demands global coherence amongst all (...)
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  21. added 2014-08-08
    Instrumental Normativity: In Defense of the Transmission Principle.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2015 - Ethics 125 (4):921-946.
    If you ought to perform a certain act, and some other action is a necessary means for you to perform that act, then you ought to perform that other action as well – or so it seems plausible to say. This transmission principle is of both practical and theoretical significance. The aim of this paper is to defend this principle against a number of recent objections, which (as I show) are all based on core assumptions of the view called actualism. (...)
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  22. added 2014-04-02
    What is (Correct) Practical Reasoning?Julian Fink - 2013 - Acta Analytica 28 (4):471-482.
    This paper argues that practical reasoning is a mental process which leads a person from a set of existent mental states to an intention. In Section 1, I defend this view against two other proposals according to which practical reasoning either concludes in an action itself or in a normative belief. Section 2 discusses the correctness of practical reasoning and explains how the correctness of instrumental reasoning can be explained by the logical relations that hold between the contents of the (...)
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  23. added 2014-04-01
    Intentions, Akrasia, and Mere Permissibility.Jonathan Way - 2013 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 20 (4):588-611.
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  24. added 2014-04-01
    Irrational Desires.Donald C. Hubin - 1991 - Philosophical Studies 62 (1):23 - 44.
    Many believe that the rational evaluation of actions depends on the rational evaluation of even basic desires. Hume, though, viewed desires as "original existences" which cannot be contrary to either truth or reason. Contemporary critics of Hume, including Norman, Brandt and Parfit, have sought a basis for the rational evaluation of desires that would deny some basic desires reason-giving force. I side with Hume against these modern critics. Hume's concept of rational evaluation is admittedly too narrow; even basic desires are, (...)
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  25. added 2014-03-22
    What's Special About Humeanism.Donald C. Hubin - 1999 - Noûs 33 (1):30-45.
    One of the attractions of the Humean instrumentalist theory of practical rationality is that it appears to offer a special connection between an agent's reasons and her motivation. The assumption that Humeanism is able to assert a strong connection between reason and motivation has been challenged, most notably by Christine Korsgaard. She argues that Humeanism is not special in the connection it allows to motivation. On the contrary, Humean theories of practical rationality do connect reasons and motivation in a unique (...)
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  26. added 2014-03-19
    The Groundless Normativity of Instrumental Rationality.Donald C. Hubin - 2001 - Journal of Philosophy 98 (9):445-468.
    Neo-Humean instrumentalist theories of reasons for acting have been presented with a dilemma: either they are normatively trivial and, hence, inadequate as a normative theory or they covertly commit themselves to a noninstrumentalist normative principle. The claimed result is that no purely instrumentalist theory of reasons for acting can be normatively adequate. This dilemma dissolves when we understand what question neo-Humean instrumentalists are addressing. The dilemma presupposes that neo-Humeans are attempting to address the question of how to act, 'simpliciter'. Instead, (...)
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  27. added 2014-02-19
    Minimalism About Intention: A Modest Defense.Sergio Tenenbaum - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (3):384-411.
    Inquiry, Volume 57, Issue 3, Page 384-411, June 2014.
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  28. added 2013-11-12
    Probabilizing the End.Jacob Stegenga - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (1):95-112.
    Reasons transmit. If one has a reason to attain an end, then one has a reason to effect means for that end: reasons are transmitted from end to means. I argue that the likelihood ratio (LR) is a compelling measure of reason transmission from ends to means. The LR measure is superior to other measures, can be used to construct a condition specifying precisely when reasons transmit, and satisfies intuitions regarding end-means reason transmission in a broad array of cases.
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  29. added 2013-08-23
    Instrumental Rationality.Jonathan Way - 2013 - In Tim Crane (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philsophy. Routledge.
    This is a short introductory article. I focus on three questions: What is instrumental rationality? What are the principles of instrumental rationality? Could instrumental rationality be all of practical rationality?
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  30. added 2013-02-15
    How to Solve “Free Will” Puzzles and Overcome Limitations of Platonic Science.Robert Kovsky - 2013
    “Free will” puzzles are failed attempts to make freedom fit into forms of science. The failures seem puzzling because of widespread beliefs that forms of science describe and control everything. Errors in such beliefs are shown by reconstruction of forms of “platonic science” that were invented in ancient Greece and that have developed into modern physics. Like platonic Ideas, modern Laws of Physics are said to exercise hegemonic control through eternal, universal principles. Symmetries, rigidity and continuity are imposed through linear (...)
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  31. added 2012-06-12
    Vague Projects and the Puzzle of the Self-Torturer.Sergio Tenenbaum & Diana Raffman - 2012 - Ethics 123 (1):86-112.
    In this paper we advance a new solution to Quinn’s puzzle of the self-torturer. The solution falls directly out of an application of the principle of instrumental reasoning to what we call “vague projects”, i.e., projects whose completion does not occur at any particular or definite point or moment. The resulting treatment of the puzzle extends our understanding of instrumental rationality to projects and ends that cannot be accommodated by orthodox theories of rational choice.
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  32. added 2012-01-16
    The Vice of Procrastination.Sergio Tenenbaum - 2010 - In Chrisoula Andreou & Mark White (eds.), The Thief of Time. Oxford University Press.
    The aim of this chapter is to understand more precisely what kind of irrationality involved in procrastination. The chapter argues that in order to understand the irrationality of procrastination one needs to understand the possibility and the nature of what I call “top-down independent” policies and long-term actions. A policy or long-term action) is top-down independent if it is possible to act irrationally relative to the adoption of the policy without ever engaging in a momentary action that is per se (...)
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  33. added 2011-05-29
    Intransitive Preferences, Vagueness, and the Structure of Procrastination.Duncan MacIntosh - 2010 - In Chrisoula Andreou & Mark D. White (eds.), The Thief of Time. Oxford University Press.
    Chrisoula Andreou says procrastination qua imprudent delay is modeled by Warren Quinn’s self-torturer, who supposedly has intransitive preferences that rank each indulgence in something that delays his global goals over working toward those goals and who finds it vague where best to stop indulging. His pair-wise choices to indulge result in his failing the goals, which he then regrets. This chapter argues, contra the money-pump argument, that it is not irrational to have or choose from intransitive preferences; so the agent’s (...)
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  34. added 2011-05-27
    Retaliation Rationalized: Gauthier's Solution to the Deterrence Dilemma.Duncan MacIntosh - 1991 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 72 (1):9-32.
    Gauthier claims: (1) a non-maximizing action is rational if it maximized to intend it. If one intended to retaliate in order to deter an attack, (2) retaliation is rational, for it maximized to intend it. I argue that even on sympathetic theories of intentions, actions and choices, (1) is incoherent. But I defend (2) by arguing that an action is rational if it maximizes on preferences it maximized to adopt given one's antecedent preferences. (2) is true because it maximized to (...)
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  35. added 2011-02-15
    In Defense of the Wide-Scope Instrumental Principle.Simon Rippon - 2010 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 5 (2):1-21.
    I make the observation that English sentences such as “You have reason to take the bus or to take the train” do not have the logical form that they superficially appear to have. I find in these sentences a conjunctive use of “or,” as found in sentences like “You can have milk or lemon in your tea,” which gives you a permission to have milk, and a permission to have lemon, though no permission to have both. I argue that a (...)
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  36. added 2011-01-31
    Converging on Values.Donald C. Hubin - 1999 - Analysis 59 (4):355–361.
    In 'The Moral Problem', Michael Smith defends a conception of normative reasons that is nonrelative. Given his understanding of normative reasons, nonrelativity commits him to the convergence hypothesis: that, as a result of the process or correction of beliefs and rational deliberation, 'all' agents would converge on having the same set of desires. I develop several reasons for being pessimistic about the truth of this hypothesis. As a result, if normative reasons exist, we have a reason to be skeptical of (...)
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  37. added 2010-06-27
    Preference's Progress: Rational Self-Alteration and the Rationality of Morality.Duncan MacIntosh - 1991 - Dialogue 30 (1-2):3-32.
    I argue that Gauthier's constrained-maximizer rationality is problematic. But standard Maximizing Rationality means one's preferences are only rational if it would not maximize on them to adopt new ones. In the Prisoner's Dilemma, it maximizes to adopt conditionally cooperative preferences. (These are detailed, with a view to avoiding problems of circularity of definition.) Morality then maximizes. I distinguish the roles played in rational choices and their bases by preferences, dispositions, moral and rational principles, the aim of rational action, and rational (...)
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  38. added 2010-06-22
    Preference-Revision and the Paradoxes of Instrumental Rationality.Duncan MacIntosh - 1992 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 22 (4):503-529.
    To the normal reasons that we think can justify one in preferring something, x (namely, that x has objectively preferable properties, or has properties that one prefers things to have, or that x's obtaining would advance one's preferences), I argue that it can be a justifying reason to prefer x that one's very preferring of x would advance one's preferences. Here, one prefers x not because of the properties of x, but because of the properties of one's having the preference (...)
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  39. added 2010-06-22
    McClennen’s Early Cooperative Solution to the Prisoner’s Dilemma.Duncan MacIntosh - 1991 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 29 (3):341-358.
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  40. added 2010-06-22
    Libertarian Agency and Rational Morality: Action-Theoretic Objections to Gauthier's Dispositional Soution of the Compliance Problem.Duncan MacIntosh - 1988 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 26 (4):499-525.
    David Gauthier thinks agents facing a prisoner's dilemma ('pd') should find it rational to dispose themselves to co-operate with those inclined to reciprocate (i.e., to acquire a constrained maximizer--'cm'--disposition), and to co-operate with other 'cmers'. Richmond Campbell argues that since dominance reasoning shows it remains to the agent's advantage to defect, his co-operation is only rational if cm "determines" him to co-operate, forcing him not to cheat. I argue that if cm "forces" the agent to co-operate, he is not acting (...)
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