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Rational Requirements and the Primacy of Pressure

Mind 129 (516):1033-1070 (2020)

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  1. Incommensurability, Incomparability, and Practical Reason.Ruth Chang - 1997 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard.
    Can quite different values be rationally weighed against one another? Can the value of one thing always be ranked as greater than, equal to, or less than the value of something else? If not, when do we find commensurability and comparability unavailable? What are the moral and legal implications? In this book, philosophers address these questions.
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  • Making Space for the Normativity of Coherence.Alex Worsnip - 2022 - Noûs 56 (2):393-415.
    This paper offers a new account of how structural rationality, or coherence, is normative. The central challenge to the normativity of coherence – which I term the problem of “making space” for the normativity of coherence – is this: if considerations of coherence matter normatively, it is not clear how we ought to take account of them in our deliberation. Coherence considerations don’t seem to show up in reasoning about what to believe, intend, desire, hope, fear, and so on; moreover, (...)
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  • Immorality and Irrationality.Alex Worsnip - 2019 - Philosophical Perspectives 33 (1):220-253.
    Does immorality necessarily involve irrationality? The question is often taken to be among the deepest in moral philosophy. But apparently deep questions sometimes admit of deflationary answers. In this case we can make way for a deflationary answer by appealing to dualism about rationality, according to which there are two fundamentally distinct notions of rationality: structural rationality and substantive rationality. I have defended dualism elsewhere. Here, I’ll argue that it allows us to embrace a sensible – I will not say (...)
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  • Higher-Order Evidence.Daniel Whiting - 2021 - Analysis 80 (4):789-807.
    A critical survey of recent work in epistemology on higher-order evidence. It discusses the nature of higher-order evidence, some puzzles it raises, responses to those puzzles, and problems facing them. It concludes by indicating connections between debates concerning higher-order evidence in epistemology and parallel debates in ethics and aesthetics.
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  • The Dual Scale Model of Weighing Reasons.Chris Tucker - 2022 - Noûs 56 (2):366-392.
    The metaphor of weighing reasons brings to mind a single (double-pan balance) scale. The reasons for φ go in one pan and the reasons for ~φ go in the other. The relative weights, as indicated by the relative heights of the two pans of the scale, determine the deontic status of φ. This model is simple and intuitive, but it cannot capture what it is to weigh reasons correctly. A reason pushes the φ pan down toward permissibility (has justifying weight) (...)
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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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  • Real and Ideal Rationality.Robert Weston Siscoe - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (3):879-910.
    Formal epistemologists often claim that our credences should be representable by a probability function. Complete probabilistic coherence, however, is only possible for ideal agents, raising the question of how this requirement relates to our everyday judgments concerning rationality. One possible answer is that being rational is a contextual matter, that the standards for rationality change along with the situation. Just like who counts as tall changes depending on whether we are considering toddlers or basketball players, perhaps what counts as rational (...)
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  • New Work for a Theory of Instrumental Rationality.Keshav Singh - 2022 - Analysis (3):537-551.
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  • Coherence and Knowability.Luis Rosa - 2022 - The Philosophical Quarterly 72 (4):960-978.
    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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  • The Real Myth of Coherence.Wooram Lee - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (3):1211-1230.
    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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  • 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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  • Imperative Inference and Practical Rationality.Daniel W. Harris - 2021 - Philosophical Studies (4):1065-1090.
    Some arguments include imperative clauses. For example: ‘Buy me a drink; you can’t buy me that drink unless you go to the bar; so, go to the bar!’ How should we build a logic that predicts which of these arguments are good? Because imperatives aren’t truth apt and so don’t stand in relations of truth preservation, this technical question gives rise to a foundational one: What would be the subject matter of this logic? I argue that declaratives are used to (...)
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  • Structural Rationality and the Property of Coherence.Marc-Kevin Daoust - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    What is structural rationality? Specifically, what is the distinctive feature of structural requirements of rationality? Some philosophers have argued, roughly, that the distinctive feature of structural requirements is coherence. But what does coherence mean, exactly? Or, at least, what do structuralists about rationality have in mind when they claim that structural rationality is coherence? This issue matters for making progress in various active debates concerning rationality. In this paper, I analyze three strategies for figuring out what coherence means in the (...)
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  • Reasons, basing, and the normative collapse of logical pluralism.Christopher Blake-Turner - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):4099-4118.
    Logical pluralism is the view that there is more than one correct logic. A key objection to logical pluralism is that it collapses into monism. The core of the Collapse Objection is that only the pluralist’s strongest logic does any genuine normative work; since a logic must do genuine normative work, this means that the pluralist is really a monist, who is committed to her strongest logic being the one true logic. This paper considers a neglected question in the collapse (...)
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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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  • Which Reasons? Which Rationality?Daniel Fogal & Alex Worsnip - 2021 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 8.
    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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  • What is (In)Coherence?Alex Worsnip - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 13:184-206.
    Recent work on rationality has been increasingly attentive to “coherence requirements”, with heated debates about both the content of such requirements and their normative status (e.g., whether there is necessarily reason to comply with them). Yet there is little to no work on the metanormative status of coherence requirements. Metaphysically: what is it for two or more mental states to be jointly incoherent, such that they are banned by a coherence requirement? In virtue of what are some putative requirements genuine (...)
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  • Rationality is Not Coherence.Nora Heinzelmann - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    According to a popular account, rationality is a kind of coherence of an agent’s mental states and, more specifically, a matter of fulfilling norms of coherence. For example, in order to be rational an agent is required to intend to do what they judge they ought to and can do. This norm has been called ‘Enkrasia’. Another norm requires that, ceteris paribus, an agent retain their intention over time. This has been called ‘Persistence of Intention’. This paper argues that thus (...)
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  • Misleading Higher-Order Evidence, Conflicting Ideals, and Defeasible Logic.Aleks Knoks - 2021 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 8:141--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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  • The Eclipse of Instrumental Rationality.Kurt Sylvan - forthcoming - In The Routledge Handbook of Practical Reason.
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  • Reasons, Rationality, Reasoning: How Much Pulling-Apart?Alex Worsnip - 2018 - Problema 12:59-93.
    At the heart of John Broome’s research program in the philosophy of normativity is a distinction between reasons, on one hand, and requirements of rationality, on the other. I am a friend of Broome’s view that this distinction is deep and important, and that neither notion can be analyzed in terms of the other. However, I also think there are major challenges that this view is yet to meet. In the first part of the paper, I’ll raise four such challenges, (...)
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