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The Importance of Being Rational

Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press (2018)

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  1. Everything is Self-Evident.Steven Diggin - 2021 - Logos and Episteme: An International Journal of Epistemology 12 (4):413-426.
    Plausible probabilistic accounts of evidential support entail that every true proposition is evidence for itself. This paper defends this surprising principle against a series of recent objections from Jessica Brown. Specifically, the paper argues that: (i) explanationist accounts of evidential support convergently entail that every true proposition is self-evident, and (ii) it is often felicitous to cite a true proposition as evidence for itself, just not under that description. The paper also develops an objection involving the apparent impossibility of believing (...)
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  • Prime Time (for the Basing Relation).Kurt Sylvan & Errol Lord - forthcoming - In J. Adam Carter & Patrick Bondy (eds.), Well Founded Belief: New Essays on the Epistemic Basing Relation.
    It is often assumed that believing that p for a normative reason consists in nothing more than (i) believing that p for a reason and (ii) that reason’s corresponding to a normative reason to believe that p, where (i) and (ii) are independent factors. This is the Composite View. In this paper, we argue against the Composite View on extensional and theoretical grounds. We advocate an alternative that we call the Prime View. On this view, believing for a normative reason (...)
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  • Neither/Nor.Clayton Littlejohn - 2019 - In Casey Doyle, Joe Milburn & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), New Issues in Epistemological Disjunctivism. Routledge.
    Abstract: On one formulation, epistemological disjunctivism is the view that our perceptual beliefs constitute knowledge when they are based on reasons that provide them with factive support. Some would argue that it is impossible to understand how perceptual knowledge is possible unless we assume that we have such reasons to support our perceptual beliefs. Some would argue that it is impossible to understand how perceptual experience could furnish us with these reasons unless we assume that the traditional view of experience (...)
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  • Motivierende Gründe: Aktuelle Probleme und Kontroversen.Jean Moritz Müller - 2019 - Information Philosophie 2019 (4):16-28.
    Dieser Forschungsbericht gibt einen Überblick über die aktuelle Debatte über motivierende Gründe in der Handlungs- und Erkenntnistheorie. Folgende drei Fragen werden schwerpunktmäßig behandelt: a) Was für eine Art von Entität sind motivierende Gründe? b) Welche Beziehung besteht zwischen einer Handlung oder Einstellung und ihren motivierenden Gründen? c) Welche kognitiven Bedingungen gelten für die Zuschreibung motivierender Gründe?
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  • What You’Re Rationally Required to Do and What You Ought to Do.Errol Lord - 2017 - Mind 126 (504):1109-1154.
    It is a truism that we ought to be rational. Despite this, it has become popular to think that it is not the case that we ought to be rational. In this paper I argue for a view about rationality—the view that what one is rationally required to do is determined by the normative reasons one possesses—by showing that it can vindicate that one ought to be rational. I do this by showing that it is independently very plausible that what (...)
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  • Intentions, Akrasia, and Mere Permissibility.Jonathan Way - 2013 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 20 (4):588-611.
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  • Epistemology without guidance.Nick Hughes - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (1):163-196.
    Epistemologists often appeal to the idea that a normative theory must provide useful, usable, guidance to argue for one normative epistemology over another. I argue that this is a mistake. Guidance considerations have no role to play in theory choice in epistemology. I show how this has implications for debates about the possibility and scope of epistemic dilemmas, the legitimacy of idealisation in Bayesian epistemology, uniqueness versus permissivism, sharp versus mushy credences, and internalism versus externalism.
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  • The Coherent and the Rational.Errol Lord - 2014 - Analytic Philosophy 55 (2):151-175.
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  • A Brief History of Rationality: Reason, Reasonableness, Rationality, and Reasons.Karl Schafer - 2018 - Manuscrito 41 (4):501-529.
    In this paper, I present a brief (and more than a little potted) history of the concepts of reason, rationality, reasonableness, and reasons in modern European philosophy and consider whether this history might support the "Anscombean" conclusion that, "The concepts of rationality and reasons ought to jettisoned if this is psychologically possible; because they are survivals, or derivatives from survivals, from an earlier conception of psychology and philosophy which no longer generally survives, and are only harmful without it.".
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  • Reliabilism Without Epistemic Consequentialism.Kurt L. Sylvan - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (3):525-555.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • Coherence and Knowability.Luis Rosa - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    Why should we avoid incoherence? An influential view tells us that incoherent combinations of attitudes are such that it is impossible for all of those attitudes to be simultaneously vindicated by the evidence. But it is not clear whether this view successfully explains what is wrong with certain akratic doxastic states. In this paper I flesh out an alternative response to that question, one according to which the problem with incoherent combinations of attitudes is that it is impossible for all (...)
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  • Misleading Higher-Order Evidence, Conflicting Ideals, and Defeasible Logic.Aleks Knoks - 2021 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 8 (6):141--74.
    Thinking about misleading higher-order evidence naturally leads to a puzzle about epistemic rationality: If one’s total evidence can be radically misleading regarding itself, then two widely-accepted requirements of rationality come into conflict, suggesting that there are rational dilemmas. This paper focuses on an often misunderstood and underexplored response to this (and similar) puzzles, the so-called conflicting-ideals view. Drawing on work from defeasible logic, I propose understanding this view as a move away from the default metaepistemological position according to which rationality (...)
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  • Which Reasons? Which Rationality?Daniel Fogal & Alex Worsnip - 2021 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 8 (11).
    The slogan that rationality is about responding to reasons has a turbulent history: once taken for granted; then widely rejected; now enjoying a resurgence. The slogan is made harder to assess by an ever-increasing plethora of distinctions pertaining to reasons and rationality. Here we are occupied with two such distinctions: that between subjective and objective reasons, and that between structural rationality (a.k.a. coherence) and substantive rationality (a.k.a. reasonableness). Our paper has two main aims. The first is to defend dualism about (...)
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  • The Independence of (in)Coherence.Wooram Lee - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):6563-6584.
    On an increasingly popular view of rationality, rationality is fundamentally about responding correctly to reasons and there is no independent rational requirement to avoid incoherence: having an incoherent combination of attitudes is irrational not because there is a fundamental requirement of rationality that prohibits it, but rather because you are guaranteed to fail to respond correctly to reasons in having it. This paper argues that any such attempt to explain the irrationality of incoherence in terms of responsiveness to reasons fails. (...)
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  • Sentimental Reasons.Edgar Phillips - 2021 - In Simon Cushing (ed.), New Philosophical Essays on Love and Loving. pp. 171–194.
    Much recent discussion of love concerns ‘the reasons for love’: whether we love for reasons and, if so, what sorts of things those reasons are. This chapter seeks to call into question some of the assumptions that have shaped this debate, in particular the assumption that love might be ‘responsive’ to reasons in something like the way that actions, beliefs, intentions and ordinary emotions are. I begin by drawing out some tensions in the existing literature on reasons for love, suggesting (...)
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  • Wouldn't It Be Nice: Enticing Reasons for Love.N. L. Engel-Hawbecker - forthcoming - In Simon Cushing (ed.), New Philosophical Essays on Love and Loving. Palgrave Macmillan.
    A central debate in the philosophy of love is whether people can love one another for good reasons. Reasons for love seem to help us sympathetically understand and evaluate love or even to count as loving at all. But it can seem that if reasons for love existed, they could require forms of love (like rampant infidelity) presumably illicit. It might seem that only some form of wishful thinking would lead us to believe reasons for love could never do this. (...)
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  • Inquiry and the Epistemic.David Thorstad - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (9):2913-2928.
    The zetetic turn in epistemology raises three questions about epistemic and zetetic norms. First, there is the relationship question: what is the relationship between epistemic and zetetic norms? Are some epistemic norms zetetic norms, or are epistemic and zetetic norms distinct? Second, there is the tension question: are traditional epistemic norms in tension with plausible zetetic norms? Third, there is the reaction question: how should theorists react to a tension between epistemic and zetetic norms? Drawing on an analogy to practical (...)
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  • Do We Really Need a Knowledge-Based Decision Theory?Davide Fassio & Jie Gao - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):7031-7059.
    The paper investigates what type of motivation can be given for adopting a knowledge-based decision theory. KBDT seems to have several advantages over competing theories of rationality. It is commonly argued that this theory would naturally fit with the intuitive idea that being rational is doing what we take to be best given what we know, an idea often supported by appeal to ordinary folk appraisals. Moreover, KBDT seems to strike a perfect balance between the problematic extremes of subjectivist and (...)
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  • Ambidextrous Reasons (or Why Reasons First's Reasons Aren't Facts).Nathan Robert Howard - 2021 - Philosophers' Imprint 21 (30):1-16.
    The wrong kind of reason (WKR) problem is a problem for attempts to analyze normative properties using only facts about the balance of normative reasons, a style of analysis on which the ‘Reasons First’ programme depends. I argue that this problem cannot be solved if the orthodox view of reasons is true --- that is, if each normative reason is numerically identical with some fact, proposition, or state-of-affairs. That’s because solving the WKR problem requires completely distinguishing between the right- and (...)
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  • Rationality and Responsibility.Sebastian Schmidt - 2020 - Australasian Philosophical Review 4 (4):379-385.
    Broome takes the debate on rationality to be concerned with the ordinary use of 'rational'. I argue that this is at best misleading. For the object of current theories of rationality is determined by a specific use of 'rational' that is intimately connected to blame and praise. I call the property it refers to 'rationalityRESP'. This focus on rationalityRESP, I argue, has two significant implications for Broome's critique of theories of rationality as reasons-responsiveness. First, rationalityRESP is plausibly conceived of as (...)
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  • A Humean Explanation of Acting on Normative Reasons.Elizabeth S. Radcliffe - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):1269-1292.
    This article presents a limited defense of Humeanism about practical reason. Jonathan Dancy and other traditional objective-reasons theorists argue that all practical reasons, what we think about when we deliberate, are facts or states of affairs in the world. On the Humean view, the reasons that motivate us are belief-desire combinations, which are in the mind. Thus, Dancy and others reject Humeanism on the grounds that it cannot allow that anyone acts from a normative reason. I argue, first, that this (...)
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  • Possessing Reasons: Why the Awareness-First Approach is Better Than the Knowledge-First Approach.Paul Silva - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2925-2947.
    In order for a reason to justify an action or attitude it must be one that is possessed by an agent. Knowledge-centric views of possession ground our possession of reasons, at least partially, either in our knowledge of them or in our being in a position to know them. On virtually all accounts, knowing P is some kind of non-accidental true belief that P. This entails that knowing P is a kind of non-accidental true representation that P. I outline a (...)
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  • The Place of Reasons in Epistemology.Kurt Sylvan & Ernest Sosa - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity.
    This paper considers the place of reasons in the metaphysics of epistemic normativity and defends a middle ground between two popular extremes in the literature. Against members of the ‘reasons first’ movement, we argue that reasons are not the sole fundamental constituents of epistemic normativity. We suggest instead that the virtue-theoretic property of competence is the key building block. To support this approach, we note that reasons must be possessed to play a role in the analysis of central epistemically normative (...)
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  • Desire and What It’s Rational to Do.Ashley Shaw - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (4):761-775.
    ABSTRACT It is often taken for granted that our desires can contribute to what it is rational for us to do. This paper examines an account of desire—the ‘guise of the good’— that promises an explanation of this datum. I argue that extant guise-of-the-good accounts fail to provide an adequate explanation of how a class of desires—basic desires—contributes to practical rationality. I develop an alternative guise-of-the-good account on which basic desires attune us to our reasons for action in virtue of (...)
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  • Epistemic Feedback Loops (Or: How Not to Get Evidence).Nick Hughes - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Epistemologists spend a great deal of time thinking about how we should respond to our evidence. They spend far less time thinking about the ways that evidence can be acquired in the first place. This is an oversight. Some ways of acquiring evidence are better than others. Many normative epistemologies struggle to accommodate this fact. In this article I develop one that can and does. I identify a phenomenon – epistemic feedback loops – in which evidence acquisition has gone awry, (...)
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  • Rationality as Reasons-Responsiveness.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2020 - Australasian Philosophical Review 4 (4):332-342.
    John Broome argues that rationality cannot consist in reasons-responsiveness since rationality supervenes on the mind, while reasons-responsiveness does not supervene on the mind. I here defend this conception of rationality by way of defending the assumption that reasons-responsiveness supervenes on the mind. Given the many advantages of an analysis of rationality in terms of reasons-responsiveness, and in light of independent considerations in favour of the view that reasons-responsiveness supervenes on the mind, we should take seriously the backup view, a hypothesis (...)
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  • Rationality and Kinds of Reasons.Keshav Singh - 2020 - Australasian Philosophical Review 4 (4):386-392.
    ABSTRACT In his ‘Rationality versus Normativity’, John Broome argues against the view that rationality is reducible to normativity. Broome’s argument rests on the claim that while rationality supervenes on the mind, normativity does not. In this commentary, I argue that Broome's arguments succeed only against views on which reasons and normativity are univocal. Once we admit of multiple kinds of normative reasons, some fact-given and others non-factive, a version of the reasons-responsiveness view emerges that is untouched by Broome's arguments. On (...)
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  • Love, Reasons, and Replaceability.Andrea Iacona & José Antonio Díez - forthcoming - Critica.
    Lovers typically entertain two sorts of thoughts about their beloveds. On the one hand, they think that some qualities of their beloveds provide reasons for loving them. Romeo would say that he loves Juliet in virtue of the way she is. On the other hand, they regard their beloveds as irreplaceable. Romeo would never be willing to exchange Juliet with another maiden. Yet it may be asked how these two sorts of thoughts can coherently coexist. If some qualities of Juliet (...)
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  • Embracing Incoherence.Claire Field - forthcoming - In Nick Hughes (ed.), Epistemic Dilemmas. Oxford University Press. pp. 1-29.
    Incoherence is usually regarded as a bad thing. Incoherence suggests irrationality, confusion, paradox. Incoherentism disagrees: incoherence is not always a bad thing, sometimes we ought to be incoherent. If correct, Incoherentism has important and controversial implications. It implies that rationality does not always require coherence. Dilemmism and Incoherentism both embrace conflict in epistemology. After identifying some important differences between these two ways of embracing conflict, I offer some reasons to prefer Incoherentism over Dilemmism. Namely, that Incoherentism allows us to deliberate (...)
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  • Explaining Normative Reasons.Daniel Fogal & Olle Risberg - forthcoming - Noûs.
    In this paper, we present and defend a natural yet novel analysis of normative reasons. According to what we call support-explanationism, for a fact to be a normative reason to φ is for it to explain why there’s normative support for φ-ing. We critically consider the two main rival forms of explanationism—ought-explanationism, on which reasons explain facts about ought, and good-explanationism, on which reasons explain facts about goodness—as well as the popular Reasons-First view, which takes the notion of a normative (...)
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  • Respect and the reality of apparent reasons.Kurt L. Sylvan - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3129-3156.
    Rationality requires us to respond to apparent normative reasons. Given the independence of appearance and reality, why think that apparent normative reasons necessarily provide real normative reasons? And if they do not, why think that mistakes of rationality are necessarily real mistakes? This paper gives a novel answer to these questions. I argue first that in the moral domain, there are objective duties of respect that we violate whenever we do what appears to violate our first-order duties. The existence of (...)
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  • The Real Myth of Coherence.Wooram Lee - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    In this paper, I offer a novel view of the coherence (or structural) requirements on belief and intention, according to which they are not norms, but rather principles describing how your belief and intention operate. I first argue, on the basis of the unintelligibility of some relevant attitudes-reports, that there are conditions under which you simply do not count as believing or intending unless your beliefs and intentions satisfy the requirements: the conditions under which all of your relevant attitudes are (...)
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  • Knowledge and the Many Norms on Action.James Fritz - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    If there is pragmatic encroachment in epistemology, whether a person knows that p can vary with normative facts about her actions—including facts that do not bear on the truth or likelihood of p. This paper raises an underappreciated question for defenders of pragmatic encroachment: which of the many norms on action are distinctively connected to knowledge? To the extent that contemporary defenders of pragmatic encroachment address this question, they do so by citing norms of ‘practical rationality.’ I show that this (...)
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  • Three Cheers for Dispositions: A Dispositional Approach to Acting for a Normative Reason.Susanne Mantel - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (3):561-582.
    Agents sometimes act for normative reasons—for reasons that objectively favor their actions. Jill, for instance, calls a doctor for the normative reason that Kate is injured. In this article I explore a dispositional approach to acting for a normative reason. I argue for the need of epistemic, motivational, and executional dispositional elements of a theory of acting for a normative reason. Dispositions play a mediating role between, on the one hand, the normative reason and its normative force, and the action (...)
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  • Books Received. [REVIEW][author unknown] - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (1):125-130.
    Volume 27, Issue 1, February 2019, Page 125-130.
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  • Suspension, Higher-Order Evidence, and Defeat.Errol Lord & Kurt Sylvan - forthcoming - In Mona Simion & Jessica Brown (eds.), Reasons, Justification, and Defeat. Oxford University Press.
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  • Epistemic Blame and the Normativity of Evidence.Sebastian Schmidt - 2021 - Erkenntnis:1-24.
    The normative force of evidence can seem puzzling. It seems that having conclusive evidence for a proposition does not, by itself, make it true that one ought to believe the proposition. But spelling out the condition that evidence must meet in order to provide us with genuine normative reasons for belief seems to lead us into a dilemma: the condition either fails to explain the normative significance of epistemic reasons or it renders the content of epistemic norms practical. The first (...)
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  • Are Epistemic Reasons Normative?Benjamin Kiesewetter - forthcoming - Noûs.
    According to a widely held view, epistemic reasons are normative reasons for belief – much like prudential or moral reasons are normative reasons for action. In recent years, however, an increasing number of authors have questioned the assumption that epistemic reasons are normative. In this article, I discuss an important challenge for anti-normativism about epistemic reasons and present a number of arguments in support of normativism. The challenge for anti-normativism is to say what kind of reasons epistemic reasons are if (...)
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  • All Reasons Are Fundamentally For Attitudes.Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - forthcoming - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
    As rational agents, we are governed by reasons. The fact that there’s beer at the pub might be a reason to go there and a reason to believe you’ll enjoy it. As this example illustrates, there are reasons for both action and for belief. There are also many other responses for which there seem to be reasons – for example, desire, regret, admiration, and blame. This diversity raises questions about how reasons for different responses relate to each other. Might certain (...)
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  • The Eclipse of Instrumental Rationality.Kurt Sylvan - forthcoming - In The Routledge Handbook of Practical Reason.
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  • Epistemic Consequentialism, Veritism, and Scoring Rules.Marc-Kevin Daoust & Charles Côté-Bouchard - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-25.
    We argue that there is a tension between two monistic claims that are the core of recent work in epistemic consequentialism. The first is a form of monism about epistemic value, commonly known as veritism: accuracy is the sole final objective to be promoted in the epistemic domain. The other is a form of monism about a class of epistemic scoring rules: that is, strictly proper scoring rules are the only legitimate measures of inaccuracy. These two monisms, we argue, are (...)
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  • Degrees of Doxastic Justification.Moritz Schulz - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-30.
    This paper studies degrees of doxastic justification. Dependency relations among different beliefs are represented in terms of causal models. Doxastic justification, on this picture, is taken to run causally downstream along appropriate causal chains. A theory is offered which accounts for the strength of a derivative belief in terms of the strength of the beliefs on which it is based, and the epistemic quality of the belief-forming mechanisms involved. It is shown that the structure of degrees of justification converges to (...)
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  • Emotion: More Like Action Than Perception.Hichem Naar - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-30.
    Although some still advance reductive accounts of emotions—according to which they fall under a more familiar type of mental state—contemporary philosophers tend to agree that emotions probably constitute their own kind of mental state. Agreeing with this claim, however, is compatible with attempting to find commonalities between emotions and better understood things. According to the advocates of the so-called ‘perceptual analogy’, thinking of emotion in terms of perception can fruitfully advance our understanding even though emotion may not be reducible to (...)
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  • Two roles for reasons: Cause for divorce?Wooram Lee - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):1993-2008.
    An increasingly popular view in the literature on rationality attempts to vindicate the strong normativity of rationality by giving a unifying account of rational requirements and what one ought to do in terms of reasons that fall within one’s perspective. In this paper, I pose a dilemma for such a view: one’s rationality is determined by a narrower set of reasons, such as the set of reasons that one is attending to, whereas what one ought to do is determined by (...)
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  • How There Could Be Reasons for Affective Attitudes.Alexander Heape - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (3-4):667-680.
    Barry Maguire has recently argued that the nature of normative support for affective attitudes like fear and admiration differs fundamentally from that of reasons. These arguments appear to raise new and serious challenges for the popular ‘reasons-first’ view according to which normative support of any kind comes from reasons. In this paper, I show how proponents of the reasons-first view can meet these challenges. They can do so, I argue, if they can successfully meet some other well-known challenges to their (...)
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  • Even If It Might Not Be True, Evidence Cannot Be False.Clayton Littlejohn & Julien Dutant - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-27.
    Internalists about evidence (‘internalists’ hereafter) believe that internal duplicates necessarily have the same evidence. While many internalists have held that our evidence is constituted by the states of mind we share in common with our internal duplicates (e.g., our experiences, apparent memories, intuitions, etc.), worldly internalists claim that our evidence includes (non-trivial) propositions about our environment. They think that when we have the experience as of, say, a red, bulgy tomato, our evidence might include propositions that will be true iff (...)
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  • Perspectivism and the Argument From Guidance.Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (2):361-374.
    Perspectivists hold that what you ought to do is determined by your perspective, that is, your epistemic position. Objectivists hold that what you ought to do is determined by the facts irrespective of your perspective. This paper explores an influential argument for perspectivism which appeals to the thought that the normative is action guiding. The crucial premise of the argument is that you ought to φ only if you are able to φ for the reasons which determine that you ought (...)
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  • False Beliefs and Misleading Evidence.Marc-Kevin Daoust - 2021 - Theoria 87 (3):520-541.
    False beliefs and misleading evidence have striking similarities. In many regards, they are both epistemically bad or undesirable. Yet, some epistemologists think that, while one’s evidence is normative (i.e., one’s available evidence affects the doxastic states one is epistemically permitted or required to have), one’s false beliefs cannot be evidence and cannot be normative. They have offered various motivations for treating false beliefs differently from true misleading beliefs, and holding that only the latter may be evidence. I argue that this (...)
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  • Deliberative Authority and Representational Determinacy: A Challenge for the Normative Realist.Tristram McPherson - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6.
    Controversy about the credibility of normative realism is endemic to contemporary metaethics. Some take realism to be “obviously, the default position,” while others, to put it mildly, do not., In the face of such persistent controversy, it can be valuable to step back from the myriad arguments for and against realism, and seek to understand the challenges that face this view in their deepest and most general form. This paper aims to achieve this deeper understanding with respect to a pair (...)
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  • On the Normativity of Rationality and of Normative Reasons.Clayton Littlejohn & Julien Dutant - manuscript
    Abstract: Scepticism about the normativity of rationality is often partially based on the assumption that normative reasons are normative. Starting from the assumption that normative reasons are normative, someone will argue that reasons and rationality can require different things from us and conclude that rationality must not be normative. We think that the assumption that normative reasons are normative is one that deserves more scrutiny, particularly if it turns out, as we shall argue, that no one has yet shown that (...)
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