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Reasons Without Rationalism

Princeton University Press (2007)

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  1. Pollard on Habits of Action.Christos Douskos - 2017 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 25 (4):504-524.
    Bill Pollard has recently developed an account of habits of action, endeavoring to rehabilitate the traditional notion of habit in a way that can be used to address current philosophical concerns. I argue that Pollard’s account has important shortcomings. The account is intended to apply indiscriminately to both habitual and skilled acts, but this overlooks crucial distinctions. Moreover, Pollard’s account fails to do justice to the various ways in which the idea of habit figures in the explanation and assessment of (...)
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  • Could Integrity Be An Epistemic Virtue?Greg Scherkoske - 2012 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (2):185-215.
    Abstract 1 This paper makes a preliminary case for a central and radical claim. I begin with Bernard Williams? seldom-faced argument that integrity cannot be a moral virtue because it lacks two key ingredients of moral virtues, namely a characteristic thought and motivation. Whereas, for example, generosity involves the thought that another could use assistance, and the motivation to actually give assistance, integrity lacks these two things essential to morally excellent responses. I show that several maneuvers aimed at avoiding Williams? (...)
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  • Constitutivism and Transcendental Practical Philosophy: How to Pull the Rabbit Out of the Hat.Sorin Baiasu - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (4):1185-1208.
    Constitutivism aims to justify substantial normative standards as constitutive of practical reason. In this way, it can defend the constructivist commitment to avoiding realism and anti-realism in normative disciplines. This metaphysical debate is the perspective from which the nature of the constitutivist justification is usually discussed. In this paper, I focus on a related, but distinct, debate. My concern will not be whether the substantial normative claims asserted by the constructivist have some elements, which are not constructed, but real, given (...)
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  • Believing at Will.Kieran Setiya - 2008 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 32 (1):36-52.
    Argues that we cannot form beliefs at will without failure of attention or logical confusion. The explanation builds on Williams' argument in "Deciding to Believe," attempting to resolve some well-known difficulties. The paper ends with tentative doubts about the idea of judgement as intentional action.
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  • Epistemic Modality, Mind, and Mathematics.Hasen Khudairi - 2020 - Dissertation, University of St Andrews
    This book concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The book demonstrates how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; deontic modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the epistemic status of undecidable propositions and abstraction principles in the philosophy of mathematics; to the apriori-aposteriori distinction; to the modal profile of (...)
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  • Autonomous Machines, Moral Judgment, and Acting for the Right Reasons.Duncan Purves, Ryan Jenkins & Bradley J. Strawser - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (4):851-872.
    We propose that the prevalent moral aversion to AWS is supported by a pair of compelling objections. First, we argue that even a sophisticated robot is not the kind of thing that is capable of replicating human moral judgment. This conclusion follows if human moral judgment is not codifiable, i.e., it cannot be captured by a list of rules. Moral judgment requires either the ability to engage in wide reflective equilibrium, the ability to perceive certain facts as moral considerations, moral (...)
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  • Guise of the Good.Sergio Tenenbaum - 2013 - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.
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  • Normative Reasons as Good Bases.Alex Gregory - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2291-2310.
    In this paper, I defend a new theory of normative reasons called reasons as good bases, according to which a normative reason to φ is something that is a good basis for φing. The idea is that the grounds on which we do things—bases—can be better or worse as things of their kind, and a normative reason—a good reason—is something that is just a good instance of such a ground. After introducing RGB, I clarify what it is to be a (...)
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  • Reasons Internalism and the Function of Normative Reasons.Neil Sinclair - 2017 - Dialectica 71 (2):209-229.
    What is the connection between reasons and motives? According to Reasons Internalism there is a non-trivial conceptual connection between normative reasons and the possibility of rationally accessing relevant motivation. Reasons Internalism is attractive insofar as it captures the thought that reasons are for reasoning with and repulsive insofar as it fails to generate sufficient critical distance between reasons and motives. Rather than directly adjudicate this dispute, I extract from it two generally accepted desiderata on theories of normative reasons and argue (...)
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  • ¿Estamos racionalmente obligados a ser eficientes?Julen Ibarrondo Murguialday - 2018 - Análisis Filosófico 38 (2):157-181.
    Ser eficaz a la hora de tomar los medios pertinentes para nuestros fines se ha considerado como uno de los aspectos paradigmáticos de la racionalidad. Sin embargo, reconocer la normatividad de la racionalidad instrumental parece implicar la problemática tesis de que uno debe tomar los medios apropiados para sus fines por el mero hecho de tener estos fines, con independencia de cuán irracionales o inmorales sean. En estas páginas defiendo una concepción de la racionalidad instrumental que permite a un mismo (...)
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  • How Does Coherence Matter?Niko Kolodny - 2007 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 107 (1pt3):229 - 263.
    Recently, much attention has been paid to ‘rational requirements’ and, especially, to what I call ‘rational requirements of formal coherence as such’. These requirements are satisfied just when our attitudes are formally coherent: for example, when our beliefs do not contradict each other. Nevertheless, these requirements are puzzling. In particular, it is unclear why we should satisfy them. In light of this, I explore the conjecture that there are no requirements of formal coherence. I do so by trying to construct (...)
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  • Gandalf’s Solution to the Newcomb Problem.Ralph Wedgwood - 2013 - Synthese 190 (14):2643–2675.
    This article proposes a new theory of rational decision, distinct from both causal decision theory (CDT) and evidential decision theory (EDT). First, some intuitive counterexamples to CDT and EDT are presented. Then the motivation for the new theory is given: the correct theory of rational decision will resemble CDT in that it will not be sensitive to any comparisons of absolute levels of value across different states of nature, but only to comparisons of the differences in value between the available (...)
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  • Ethics and the Nature of Action.Heine A. Holmen - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Oslo
    The following thesis starts from the question «why be moral?» and adresses an action-theoretic strategy for answering this question in the positive by reference to the constitutive natur of actions. In these debates, the epistemology of action has turned into a central issue. The thesis adresses these debates and develops a novel account of the epistemology: an account that may well turn out to provide a ground for the aforementioned constitutivist strategies.
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  • Action and the Problem of Evil.Heine A. Holmen - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 76 (4):335-351.
    Most contemporary action theorists deny the possible existence of intentionally evil actions or diabolic agency. The reason for this is a normative interpretation of agency that appears to be motivated by action theoretic concerns, where agents are conceived as necessarily acting sub specie bonie or under ‘the guise of the good’. I argue that there is nothing in human agency to motivate this view and that diabolic evil is not at odds with inherent features of our nature.
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  • Forms of Luminosity.Hasen Khudairi - 2017
    This dissertation concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The dissertation demonstrates how phenomenal consciousness and gradational possible-worlds models in Bayesian perceptual psychology relate to epistemic modal space. The dissertation demonstrates, then, how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; deontic modality; logical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the (...)
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  • The Formulation of Disjunctivism About Φ-Ing for a Reason.J. J. Cunningham - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (275):235-257.
    We can contrast rationalising explanations of the form S φs because p with those of the form S φs because S believes that p. According the Common Kind View, the two sorts of explanation are the same. The Disjunctive View denies this. This paper sets out to elucidate the sense in which the Common Kind Theorist asserts, but the Disjunctivist denies, that the two explanations are the same. I suggest that, in the light of the distinction between kinds of explanation (...)
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  • From Freedom From to Freedom To: New Perspectives on Intentional Action.Sofia Bonicalzi & Patrick Haggard - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10.
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  • Taking Something as a Reason for Action.Markus E. Schlosser - 2012 - Philosophical Papers 41 (2):267-304.
    This paper proposes and defends an account of what it is to act for reasons. In the first part, I will discuss the desire-belief and the deliberative model of acting for reasons. I will argue that we can avoid the weaknesses and retain the strengths of both views, if we pursue an alternative according to which acting for reasons involves taking something as a reason. In the main part, I will develop an account of what it is to take something (...)
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  • Sobel on Pleasure, Reason, and Desire.Attila Tanyi - 2011 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (1):101-115.
    The paper begins with a well-known objection to the idea that reasons for action are provided by desires. The objection holds that since desires are based on reasons (first premise), which they transmit but to which they cannot add (second premise), they cannot themselves provide reasons for action. In the paper I investigate an attack that has recently been launched against the first premise of the argument by David Sobel. Sobel invokes a counterexample: hedonic desires, i.e. the likings and dislikings (...)
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  • Reply to Bratman and Smith.Kieran Setiya - 2009 - Analysis 69 (3):531-540.
    To begin with, I am deeply grateful to Michael Bratman and Michael Smith for their generosity in responding to my book, for the care with which they have read it, and for the challenge of meeting their objections. I am also grateful for their support and encouragement over the years. It is a pleasure to engage with them here.Because their comments raise many related difficulties, this reply will treat them together, beginning with brief consideration of issues in action theory before (...)
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  • The Subjective Authority of Intention.Lilian O’Brien - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (275):354-373.
    While much has been written about the functional profile of intentions, and about their normative or rational status, comparatively little has been said about the subjective authority of intention. What is it about intending that explains the ‘hold’ that an intention has on an agent—a hold that is palpable from her first-person perspective? I argue that several prima facie appealing explanations are not promising. Instead, I maintain that the subjective authority of intention can be explained in terms of the inner (...)
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  • Reasons with Rationalism After All.Michael Smith - 2009 - Analysis 69 (3):521-530.
    Kieran Setiya begins Reasons Without Rationalism by outlining and arguing for a schema in terms of which he thinks we best understand the nature of normative reasons for action. This is: " Reasons: The fact that p is a reason for A to ϕ just in case A has a collection of psychological states, C, such that the disposition to be moved to ϕ by C-and-the-belief-that-p is a good disposition of practical thought, and C contains no false beliefs. " As (...)
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  • Broome on Reasons to Act.Kieran Setiya - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (1):204-210.
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  • Shapelessness and Predication Supervenience: A Limited Defense of Shapeless Moral Particularism.Peter Shiu-Hwa Tsu - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (S1):51-67.
    Moral particularism, on some interpretations, is committed to a shapeless thesis: the moral is shapeless with respect to the natural. (Call this version of moral particularism ‘shapeless moral particularism’). In more detail, the shapeless thesis is that the actions a moral concept or predicate can be correctly applied to have no natural commonality (or shape) amongst them. Jackson et al. (Ethical particularism and patterns, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000) argue, however, that the shapeless thesis violates the platitude ‘predication supervenes on (...)
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  • Love and the Value of a Life.Kieran Setiya - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (3):251-280.
    Argues that there is no one it is irrational to love, that it is rational to act with partiality to those we love, and that the rationality of doing so is not conditional on love. It follows that Anscombe and Taurek are right: you are not required to save three instead of one, even when those you could save are perfect strangers.
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  • Akrasia and the Constitution of Agency.Kieran Setiya - 2016 - In Practical Knowledge: Selected Essays. Oxford University Press.
    Argues that we do not act intentionally ‘under the guise of the good.’ This makes it hard to explain why akrasia is distinctively irrational; but this is no objection, since it is just as hard to explain on the opposing view. Ends with a problem of akrasia for ethical rationalists.
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  • The Abductive Case for Humeanism Over Quasi-Perceptual Theories of Desire.Derek Baker - 2014 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 8 (2):1-29.
    A number of philosophers have offered quasi-perceptual theories of desire, according to which to desire something is roughly to “see” it as having value or providing reasons. These are offered as alternatives to the more traditional Humean Theory of Motivation, which denies that desires have a representational aspect. This paper examines the various considerations offered by advocates to motivate quasi-perceptualism. It argues that Humeanism is in fact able to explain the same data that the quasi-perceptualist can explain, and in one (...)
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  • Inescapability and Normativity.Matthew Silverstein - 2012 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 6 (3):1-27.
    When we make ethical claims, we invoke a kind of objective authority. A familiar worry about our ethical practices is that this invocation of authority involves a mistake. This worry was perhaps best captured by John Mackie, who argued that the fabric of the world contains nothing so queer as objective authority and thus that all our ethical claims are false. Kantians such as Christine Korsgaard and David Velleman offer accounts of the objectivity of ethics that do without the controversial (...)
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  • Teleology, Narrative, and Death.Roman Altshuler - 2015 - In John Lippitt & Patrick Stokes (eds.), Narrative, Identity and the Kierkegaardian Self. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 29-45.
    Heidegger, like Kierkegaard, has recently been claimed as a narrativist about selves. From this Heideggerian perspective, we can see how narrative expands upon the psychological view, adding a vital teleological dimension to the understanding of selfhood while denying the reductionism implicit in the psychological approach. Yet the narrative approach also inherits the neo-Lockean emphasis on the past as determining identity, whereas the self is fundamentally about the future. Death is crucial on this picture, not as allowing for the possibility of (...)
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  • Favoring.Antti Kauppinen - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1953-1971.
    It has become common to take reasons to form a basic normative category that is not amenable to non-circular analysis. This paper offers a novel characterization of reasons in terms of how we ought or it would be good for us to think in response to our awareness of facts, and thus rejects such Reason Primitivism. Briefly, for r to be a normative reason for A to φ is for it to be the case that A ought to conduct her (...)
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  • The Myth of Practical Consistency.Niko Kolodny - 2008 - European Journal of Philosophy 16 (3):366-402.
    Niko Kolodny It is often said that there is a special class of norms, ‘rational requirements’, that demand that our attitudes be related one another in certain ways, whatever else may be the case.1 In recent work, a special class of these rational requirements has attracted particular attention: what I will call ‘requirements of formal coherence as such’, which require just that our attitudes be formally coherent.2 For example, we are rationally required, if we believe something, to believe what it (...)
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  • Modeling Practical Thinking.Matthew Mosdell - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (4):445-464.
    Intellectualists about knowledge how argue that knowing how to do something is knowing the content of a proposition (i.e, a fact). An important component of this view is the idea that propositional knowledge is translated into behavior when it is presented to the mind in a peculiarly practical way. Until recently, however, intellectualists have not said much about what it means for propositional knowledge to be entertained under thought's practical guise. Carlotta Pavese fills this gap in the intellectualist view by (...)
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  • Instrumental Rationality.Ralph Wedgwood - 2011 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 6:280-309.
    Is there any distinctive aspect of rationality that deserves the label of “instrumental rationality”? Recently, Joseph Raz (2005) has argued that instrumental rationality is a “myth”. In this essay, I shall give some qualified support to Raz’s position: as I shall argue, many philosophers have indeed been seduced by certain myths about instrumental rationality. Nonetheless, Raz’s conclusion is too strong. Instrumental rationality is not itself a myth: there really is a distinctive aspect of rationality that deserves the label of “instrumental (...)
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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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  • Intending is Believing: A Defense of Strong Cognitivism.Berislav Marušić & John Schwenkler - 2018 - Analytic Philosophy 59 (3):309-340.
    We argue that intentions are beliefs—beliefs that are held in light of, and made rational by, practical reasoning. To intend to do something is neither more nor less than to believe, on the basis of one’s practical reasoning, that one will do it. The identification of the mental state of intention with the mental state of belief is what we call strong cognitivism about intentions. It is a strong form of cognitivism because we identify intentions with beliefs, rather than maintaining (...)
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  • Desires as Additional Reasons? The Case of Tie-Breaking.Attila Tanyi - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 152 (2):209-227.
    According to the Desire-Based Reasons Model reasons for action are provided by desires. Many, however, are critical about the Model holding an alternative view of practical reason, which is often called valued-based. In this paper I consider one particular attempt to refute the Model, which advocates of the valued-based view often appeal to: the idea of reason-based desires. The argument is built up from two premises. The first claims that desires are states that we have reason to have. The second (...)
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  • Belief, Credence, and Pragmatic Encroachment1.Jacob Ross & Mark Schroeder - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (2):259-288.
    This paper compares two alternative explanations of pragmatic encroachment on knowledge (i.e., the claim that whether an agent knows that p can depend on pragmatic factors). After reviewing the evidence for such pragmatic encroachment, we ask how it is best explained, assuming it obtains. Several authors have recently argued that the best explanation is provided by a particular account of belief, which we call pragmatic credal reductivism. On this view, what it is for an agent to believe a proposition is (...)
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  • Intelligibility and the Guise of the Good.Paul Boswell - 2018 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 13 (1):1-31.
    According to the Guise of the Good, an agent only does for a reason what she sees as good. One of the main motivations for the view is its apparent ability to explain why action for a reason must be intelligible to its agent, for on this view, an action is intelligible just in case it seems good. This motivation has come under criticism in recent years. Most notably, Kieran Setiya has argued that merely seeing one’s action as good does (...)
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  • The Varieties of Normativity.Derek Clayton Baker - 2017 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 567-581.
    This paper discusses varieties of normative phenomena, ranging from morality, to epistemic justification, to the rules of chess. It canvases a number of distinctions among these different normative phenomena. The most significant distinction is between formal and authoritative normativity. The prior is the normativity exhibited by any standard one can meet or fail to meet. The latter is the sort of normativity associated with phenomena like the "all-things-considered" ought. The paper ends with a brief discussion of reasons for skepticism about (...)
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  • The Pitfalls of ‘Reasons’.Ralph Wedgwood - 2015 - Philosophical Issues 25 (1):123-143.
    Many philosophers working on the branches of philosophy that deal with the normative questions have adopted a " Reasons First" program. This paper criticizes the foundational assumptions of this program. In fact, there are many different concepts that can be expressed by the term 'reason' in English, none of which are any more fundamental than any others. Indeed, most of these concepts are not particularly fundamental in any interesting sense.
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  • Do Desires Provide Reasons? An Argument Against the Cognitivist Strategy.Avery Archer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (8):2011-2027.
    According to the cognitivist strategy, the desire to bring about P provides reasons for intending to bring about P in a way analogous to how perceiving that P provides reasons for believing that P. However, while perceiving P provides reasons for believing P by representing P as true, desiring to bring about P provides reasons for intending to bring about P by representing P as good. This paper offers an argument against this view. My argument proceeds via an appeal to (...)
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  • Against Cognitivism About Practical Rationality.John Brunero - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 146 (3):311-325.
    Cognitivists about Practical Rationality argue that we can explain some of the requirements of practical rationality by appealing to the requirements of theoretical rationality. First, they argue that intentions involve beliefs, and, second, they show how the theoretical requirements governing those involved beliefs can explain some of the practical requirements governing those intentions. This paper avoids the ongoing controversy about whether and how intentions involve beliefs and focuses instead on this second part of the Cognitivist approach, where I think Cognitivism (...)
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  • Revisionary Intellectualism and Gettier.Yuri Cath - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (1):7-27.
    How should intellectualists respond to apparent Gettier-style counterexamples? Stanley offers an orthodox response which rejects the claim that the subjects in such scenarios possess knowledge-how. I argue that intellectualists should embrace a revisionary response according to which knowledge-how is a distinctively practical species of knowledge-that that is compatible with Gettier-style luck.
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  • Intending, Settling, and Relying.Facundo M. Alonso - 2017 - In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility. Volume 4. Oxford University Press. pp. 50-74.
    Philosophers of action of different persuasions have suggested that there is a tight connection between the phenomenon of intending and the phenomena of “being settled on” and of “settling” a course of action. For many, this connection supports an important constraint on intention: one may only intend what one takes one’s so intending as settling. Traditionally, this has been understood as a doxastic constraint on intention: what one takes one’s intention as settling is what one believes one’s so intending as (...)
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  • A Puzzle About Knowledge in Action.Iskra Fileva - 2013 - Logique Et Analyse 56 (223):287-301.
    I question the widespread assumption that when we act for reasons we know what our reasons are. I argue that an agent may act in ignorance, or partial ignorance, regarding his or her reasons, and an action involving ignorance of this sort may still qualify as done for reasons. I conclude from here that we need to develop a suitable new model of action for reasons, and I proceed to offer such a model. Briefly, I argue that an action qualifies (...)
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  • On the Parallels Between Theoretical and Practical Rationality: Reply to Setiya.Eric Marcus - 2013 - Analysis 73 (3):512-525.
    Two principles are central to Rational Causation. Causalism: Believing and acting for a reason are causal phenomena in the sense that there is in both domains a causal connection between ground and grounded. Equivalence: There is a necessary connection between something's being the reason why I believe or act and my taking it to favour the belief or action. Kieran Setiya argues that Causalism is false in the theoretical case and that Equivalence is false in the practical case. I reply (...)
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  • Internal Reasons.Kieran Setiya - 2012 - In Kieran Setiya & Hille Paakkunainen (eds.), Internal Reasons: Contemporary Readings. MIT Press.
    Argues that "internalism about reasons" owes its appeal to a function argument from the nature of agency. Internalism is thus revealed as a species of ethical rationalism. (This paper introduces a volume of recent work on internal and external reasons.).
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  • Kant, Skepticism, and Moral Sensibility.Owen Ware - 2010 - Dissertation, University of Toronto
    In his early writings, Kant says that the solution to the puzzle of how morality can serve as a motivating force in human life is nothing less than the “philosophers’ stone.” In this dissertation I show that for years Kant searched for the philosophers’ stone in the concept of “respect” (Achtung), which he understood as the complex effect practical reason has on feeling. -/- I sketch the history of that search in Chapters 1-2. In Chapter 3 I show that Kant’s (...)
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  • Murdoch on the Sovereignty of Good.Kieran Setiya - 2013 - Philosophers' Imprint 13.
    Argues for an interpretation of Iris Murdoch on which her account of moral reasons has Platonic roots, and on which she gives an ontological proof of the reality of the Good. This reading explains the structure of Sovereignty, how Murdoch's claims differ from a focus on "thick moral concepts," and how to find coherent arguments in her book.
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  • The Guise of Reasons.Alex Gregory - 2013 - American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (1):63-72.
    In this paper it is argued that we should amend the traditional understanding of the view known as the guise of the good. The guise of the good is traditionally understood as the view that we only want to act in ways that we believe to be good in some way. But it is argued that a more plausible view is that we only want to act in ways that we believe we have normative reason to act in. This change (...)
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