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Practical reflection

Philosophical Review 94 (1):33-61 (1985)

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  1. 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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  • Practical Language: Its Meaning and Use.Nate Charlow - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Michigan
    I demonstrate that a "speech act" theory of meaning for imperatives is—contra a dominant position in philosophy and linguistics—theoretically desirable. A speech act-theoretic account of the meaning of an imperative !φ is characterized, broadly, by the following claims. -/- LINGUISTIC MEANING AS USE !φ’s meaning is a matter of the speech act an utterance of it conventionally functions to express—what a speaker conventionally uses it to do (its conventional discourse function, CDF). -/- IMPERATIVE USE AS PRACTICAL !φ's CDF is to (...)
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  • Practical Knowledge and Foreseen Side Effects.Niels Van Miltenburg - 2011 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (1):1-7.
    On Anscombe's view, intentional actions are characterized by a specific type of knowledge (practical knowledge) possessed by the agents that perform them. Recently, interest in Anscombean action theory has been renewed. Sarah Paul argues that Anscombean action theory faces a serious problem: It fails to discriminate between an action’s intended aim or purpose and its foreseen side effects. Since Anscombeans conceive practical knowledge as the formal cause of intentional actions, Paul dubs this a problem of “deviant formal causation.” In this (...)
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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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  • How Humeans Can Make Normative Beliefs Motivating.William Ratoff - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-21.
    Normative realism faces a problem concerning the practicality of normative judgment, the presumptive view that normative judgments are motivational states. Normative judgments, for the normative realist, must be beliefs. This is problematic because it is difficult to see how any belief could have the necessary connection to motivation required to account for the practicality of normative judgment. After all, the Humean theory of motivation has it that motivated action is only brought about by a belief and a desire working in (...)
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  • Prediction, Authority, and Entitlement in Shared Activity.Abraham Sesshu Roth - 2014 - Noûs 48 (4):626-652.
    Shared activity is often simply willed into existence by individuals. This poses a problem. Philosophical reflection suggests that shared activity involves a distinctive, interlocking structure of intentions. But it is not obvious how one can form the intention necessary for shared activity without settling what fellow participants will do and thereby compromising their agency and autonomy. One response to this problem suggests that an individual can have the requisite intention if she makes the appropriate predictions about fellow participants. I argue (...)
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  • Basic Action and Practical Knowledge.Will Small - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    It is a commonplace in philosophy of action that there is and must be teleologically basic action: something done on an occasion without doing it by means of doing anything else. It is widely believed that basic actions are exercises of skill. As the source of the need for basic action is the structure of practical reasoning, this yields a conception of skill and practical reasoning as complementary but mutually exclusive. On this view, practical reasoning and complex intentional action depend (...)
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  • Metaethics After Moore.Terry Horgan & Mark Timmons (eds.) - 2006 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Metaethics, understood as a distinct branch of ethics, is often traced to G. E. Moore's 1903 classic, Principia Ethica. Whereas normative ethics is concerned to answer first order moral questions about what is good and bad, right and wrong, metaethics is concerned to answer second order non-moral questions about the semantics, metaphysics, and epistemology of moral thought and discourse. Moore has continued to exert a powerful influence, and the sixteen essays here represent the most up-to-date work in metaethics after, and (...)
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  • Practical Knowledge and Acting Together.Blomberg Olle - 2018 - In J. Adam Carter, Andy Clark, Jesper Kallestrup, Orestis Palermos & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Socially Extended Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 87-111.
    According to one influential philosophical view of human agency, for an agent to perform an action intentionally is essentially for her to manifest a kind of self-knowledge: An agent is intentionally φ-ing if and only if she has a special kind of practical and non-observational knowledge that this is what she is doing. I here argue that this self-knowledge view faces serious problems when extended to account for intentional actions performed by several agents together as a result of a joint (...)
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  • Intending, Knowing How, Infinitives.Jennifer Hornsby - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (1):1-17.
    Intellectualists tell us that a person who knows how to do something therein knows a proposition. Along with others, they may say that a person who intends to do something intends a proposition. I argue against them. I do so by way of considering ‘know how ——’ and ‘intend ——’ together. When the two are considered together, a realistic conception of human agency can inform the understanding of some infinitives: the argument need not turn on what semanticists have had to (...)
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  • The Guise of the Good.J. David Velleman - 1992 - Noûs 26 (1):3 - 26.
    The agent portrayed in much philosophy of action is, let's face it, a square. He does nothing intentionally unless he regards it or its consequences as desirable. The reason is that he acts intentionally only when he acts out of a desire for some anticipated outcome; and in desiring that outcome, he must regard it as having some value. All of his intentional actions are therefore directed at outcomes regarded sub specie boni: under the guise of the good. This agent (...)
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  • Knowledge in Intention.Kevin Falvey - 2000 - Philosophical Studies 99 (1):21-44.
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  • What Happens When Someone Acts?J. David Velleman - 1992 - Mind 101 (403):461-481.
    What happens when someone acts? A familiar answer goes like this. There is something that the agent wants, and there is an action that he believes conducive to its attainment. His desire for the end, and his belief in the action as a means, justify taking the action, and they jointly cause an intention to take it, which in turn causes the corresponding movements of the agent's body. I think that the standard story is flawed in several respects. The flaw (...)
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  • Varieties of Epistemic Freedom.Alison Fernandes - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4):1-16.
    When we deliberate about what to do, we appear to be free to decide on different options. Three accounts use ordinary beliefs to explain this apparent freedom—appealing to different types of ‘epistemic freedom’. When an agent has epistemic freedom, her evidence while deliberating does not determine what decision she makes. This ‘epistemic gap’ between her evidence and decision explains why her decision appears free. The varieties of epistemic freedom appealed to might look similar. But there is an important difference. Two (...)
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  • Partial Belief, Partial Intention.Richard Holton - 2008 - Mind 117 (465):27-58.
    Is a belief that one will succeed necessary for an intention? It is argued that the question has traditionally been badly posed, framed as it is in terms of all-out belief. We need instead to ask about the relation between intention and partial belief. An account of partial belief that is more psychologically realistic than the standard credence account is developed. A notion of partial intention is then developed, standing to all-out intention much as partial belief stands to all-out belief. (...)
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  • Are We Predictive Engines? Perils, Prospects, and the Puzzle of the Porous Perceiver.Andy Clark - 2013 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (3):233-253.
    The target article sketched and explored a mechanism (action-oriented predictive processing) most plausibly associated with core forms of cortical processing. In assessing the attractions and pitfalls of the proposal we should keep that element distinct from larger, though interlocking, issues concerning the nature of adaptive organization in general.
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  • Agency, Shmagency: Why Normativity Won't Come From What Is Constitutive of Action.David Enoch - 2006 - Philosophical Review 115 (2):169-198.
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  • Intentions and Self-Referential Content.Tomis Kapitan - 1995 - Philosophical Papers 24 (3):151-166.
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  • Person as Scientist, Person as Moralist.Joshua Knobe - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):315.
    It has often been suggested that people’s ordinary capacities for understanding the world make use of much the same methods one might find in a formal scientific investigation. A series of recent experimental results offer a challenge to this widely-held view, suggesting that people’s moral judgments can actually influence the intuitions they hold both in folk psychology and in causal cognition. The present target article distinguishes two basic approaches to explaining such effects. One approach would be to say that the (...)
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  • Learning to Act.Jan Bransen - 2016 - Symposion: Theoretical and Applied Inquiries in Philosophy and Social Sciences 3 (1):11-35.
    In this paper I argue that to understand minded agency – the capacity we typically find instantiated in instances of human behaviour that could sensibly be questioned by asking “What did you do?” – one needs to understand childhood, i.e. the trajectory of learning to act. I discuss two different types of trajectory, both of which seem to take place during childhood and both of which might be considered crucial to learning to act: a growth of bodily control (GBC) and (...)
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  • Teleology and Normativity.Matthew Silverstein - 2016 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 11:214-240.
    Constitutivists seek to locate the metaphysical foundations of ethics in nonnormative facts about what is constitutive of agency. For most constitutivists, this involves grounding authoritative norms in the teleological structure of agency. Despite a recent surge in interest, the philosophical move at the heart of this sort of constitutivism remains underdeveloped. Some constitutivists—Foot, Thomson, and Korsgaard (at least in her recent *Self-Constitution*)—adopt a broadly Aristotelian approach. They claim that the functional nature of agency grounds normative judgments about agents in much (...)
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  • Paternalistic Lying and Deception.Andreas Stokke - 2018 - In Kalle Grill & Jason Hanna (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Paternalism. Oxford, UK: Routledge.
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  • The Policy-Based Approach to Identification.Christian Miller - 2007 - Philosophical Psychology 20 (1):105 – 125.
    In a number of recent papers, Michael Bratman has defended a policy-based theory of identification which represents the most sophisticated and compelling development of a broadly hierarchical approach to the problems about identification which Harry Frankfurt drew our attention to over thirty years ago. Here I first summarize the bare essentials of Bratman's view, and then raise doubts about both its necessity and sufficiency. Finally I consider his objections to rival value-based models, and find those objections to be less compelling (...)
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  • What Are Our Options?Douglas W. Portmore - manuscript
    We ought to perform our best option—that is, the option that we have most reason, all things considered, to perform. This is perhaps the most fundamental and least controversial of all normative principles concerning action. Yet, it is not, I believe, well understood. For even setting aside questions about what our reasons are and about how best to formulate the principle, there is a question about how we should construe our options. This question is of the upmost importance, for which (...)
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  • Anscombe on Practical Knowledge.Kieran Setiya - 2016 - In Practical Knowledge: Selected Essays. Oxford University Press.
    Argues that, for Anscombe, 'practical knowledge' is only sometimes 'the cause of what it understands.' It is the formal cause when its object is 'formally the description of an executed intention.' Nor is such knowledge confined to the present progressive: we have practical knowledge of the future and the past.
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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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  • Acts, Attitudes, and Rational Choice.Douglas W. Portmore - manuscript
    In this paper, I argue that we have obligations not only to perform certain actions, but also to have certain attitudes (such as desires, beliefs, and intentions), and this despite the fact that we rarely, if ever, have direct voluntary control over our attitudes. Moreover, I argue that whatever obligations we have with respect to actions derive from our obligations with respect to attitudes. More specifically, I argue that an agent is obligated to perform an action if and only if (...)
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  • Towards a Convincing Account of Intention.Niel Henk Conradie - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Stellenbosch
    Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.
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  • Agency and Control.Jesus H. Aguilar - unknown
    The main objective of this thesis is to defend an account of the control that agents possess over their actions from the perspective of the causal theory of action, that is, a theory that sees actions as events caused by internal states of their agents. The explanatory strategy that is employed for this purpose consists in addressing three interdependent and fundamental problems concerning the possibility of this type of control. The first problem arises from the possibility of controlling an action (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Perceiving Intentions.Élisabeth Pacherie - unknown
    I will concentrate on the 'executive' conception of intentions and intentional actions. I will argue that intentional bodily movements have distinctive observable characteristics that set them apart from non-intentional bodily motions. I will also argue that that when we observe an action performed by someone else, the perceptual representations we form contain information about the dynamics of movements and their relations to objects in the scene that can be exploited in order to identify at least the more basic intentions of (...)
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  • Causation, Action, and Free Will.Alfred Mele - 2009 - In H. Beebee, C. Hitchcock & P. Menzies (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Causation. Oxford University Press.
    Many issues at the heart of the philosophy of action and of philosophical work on free will are framed partly in terms of causation. The leading approach to understanding both the nature of action and the explanation or production of actions emphasizes causation. What may be termed standardcausalism is the conjunction of the following two theses: firstly, an event's being an action depends on how it was caused; and secondly, proper explanations of actions are causal explanations. Important questions debated in (...)
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  • A Plea for Mental Acts.Joëlle Proust - 2001 - Synthese 129 (1):105-128.
    A prominent but poorly understood domain of human agency is mental action, i.e., thecapacity for reaching specific desirable mental statesthrough an appropriate monitoring of one's own mentalprocesses. The present paper aims to define mentalacts, and to defend their explanatory role againsttwo objections. One is Gilbert Ryle's contention thatpostulating mental acts leads to an infinite regress.The other is a different although related difficulty,here called the access puzzle: How can the mindalready know how to act in order to reach somepredefined result? A (...)
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  • Truth, Lies, and the Narrative Self.Steve Matthews & Jeanette Kennett - 2012 - American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (4):301-316.
    Social persons routinely tell themselves and others richly elaborated autobiographical stories filled with details about deeds, plans, roles, motivations, values, and character. Saul, let us imagine, is someone who once sailed the world as a young adventurer, going from port to port and living a gypsy existence. In telling his new acquaintance, Jess, of his former exotic life, he shines a light on his present character and this may guide to some extent their interaction here and now. Perhaps Jess also (...)
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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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  • Belief and Difficult Action.Berislav Marušić - 2012 - Philosophers' Imprint 12:1-30.
    Suppose you decide or promise to do something that you have evidence is difficult to do. Should you believe that you will do it? On the one hand, if you believe that you will do it, your belief goes against the evidence—since having evidence that it’s difficult to do it constitutes evidence that it is likely that you won’t do it. On the other hand, if you don’t believe that you will do it but instead believe, as your evidence suggests, (...)
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  • Agency, Simulation and Self-Identification.Marc Jeannerod & Elisabeth Pacherie - 2004 - Mind and Language 19 (2):113-146.
    This paper is concerned with the problem of selfidentification in the domain of action. We claim that this problem can arise not just for the self as object, but also for the self as subject in the ascription of agency. We discuss and evaluate some proposals concerning the mechanisms involved in selfidentification and in agencyascription, and their possible impairments in pathological cases. We argue in favor of a simulation hypothesis that claims that actions, whether overt or covert, are centrally simulated (...)
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  • Attitudinal Control.Conor McHugh - 2017 - Synthese 194 (8):2745-2762.
    Beliefs are held to norms in a way that seems to require control over what we believe. Yet we don’t control our beliefs at will, in the way we control our actions. I argue that this problem can be solved by recognising a different form of control, which we exercise when we revise our beliefs directly for reasons. We enjoy this form of attitudinal control not only over our beliefs, but also over other attitudes, including intentions—that is, over the will (...)
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  • The Structure of Instrumental Practical Reasoning.Christian Miller - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (1):1–40.
    The view to be defended in this paper is intended to be a novel and compelling model of instrumental practical reasoning, reasoning aimed at determining how to act in order to achieve a given end in a certain set of circumstances. On standard views of instrumental reasoning, the end in question is the object of a particular desire that the agent has, a desire which, when combined with the agent’s beliefs about what means are available to him or her in (...)
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  • Intentions Are Optimality Beliefs – But Optimizing What?Christoph Lumer - 2005 - Erkenntnis 62 (2):235-262.
    In this paper an empirical theory about the nature of intention is sketched. After stressing the necessity of reckoning with intentions in philosophy of action a strategy for deciding empirically between competing theories of intention is exposed and applied for criticizing various philosophical theories of intention, among others that of Bratman. The hypothesis that intentions are optimality beliefs is defended on the basis of empirical decision theory. Present empirical decision theory however does not provide an empirically satisfying elaboration of the (...)
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  • Toward an Ethics of Professional Understanding.Nicolas Tanchuk, Carly Scramstad & Marc Kruse - 2016 - Ethics and Education 11 (1):5-16.
    In this paper, we advance a novel conception of normative ethics and draw out its implications within the domain of professional ethics. We argue that all moral agents, and thus professionals, share a fundamental and constitutive normative interest in correctly conceiving of their ends. All professionals, we claim, by virtue of their positions of social power, have special role responsibilities in cultivating and sustaining societies oriented by this shared ideal of practically oriented ethical understanding. We defend this conception against a (...)
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  • Action as a Form of Temporal Unity: On Anscombe’s Intention.Douglas Lavin - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (5):609-629.
    The aim of this paper is to display an alternative to the familiar decompositional approach in action theory, one that resists the demand for an explanation of action in non-agential terms, while not simply treating the notion of intentional agency as an unexplained primitive. On this Anscombean alternative, action is not a worldly event with certain psychological causes, but a distinctive form of material process, one that is not simply caused by an exercise of reason but is itself a productive (...)
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  • Believing at Will is Possible.Rik Peels - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):1-18.
    There are convincing counter-examples to the widely accepted thesis that we cannot believe at will. For it seems possible that the truth of a proposition depend on whether or not one believes it. I call such scenarios cases of Truth Depends on Belief and I argue that they meet the main criteria for believing at will that we find in the literature. I reply to five objections that one might level against the thesis that TDB cases show that believing at (...)
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  • No Reason for Identity: On the Relation Between Motivating and Normative Reasons.Susanne Mantel - 2014 - Philosophical Explorations 17 (1):49-62.
    This essay is concerned with the relation between motivating and normative reasons. According to a common and influential thesis, a normative reason is identical with a motivating reason when an agent acts for that normative reason. I will call this thesis the ‘Identity Thesis’. Many philosophers treat the Identity Thesis as a commonplace or a truism. Accordingly, the Identity Thesis has been used to rule out certain ontological views about reasons. I distinguish a deliberative and an explanatory version of the (...)
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  • Explaining Addiction: How Far Does the Reward Account of Motivation Take Us?Jeanette Kennett & Doug McConnell - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (5):470 - 489.
    ABSTRACT Choice theorists such as George Ainslie and Gene Heyman argue that the drug-seeking behaviour of addicts is best understood in the same terms that explain everyday choices. Everyday choices, they claim, aim to maximise the reward from available incentives. Continuing drug-use is, therefore, what addicts most want given the incentives they are aware of but they will change their behaviour if and when better incentives become available. This model might explain many typical cases of addiction, but there are hard (...)
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  • Autonomy and the Authority of Personal Commitments: From Internal Coherence to Social Normativity.Joel Anderson - 2003 - Philosophical Explorations 6 (2):90 – 108.
    It has been argued - most prominently in Harry Frankfurt's recent work - that the normative authority of personal commitments derives not from their intrinsic worth but from the way in which one's will is invested in what one cares about. In this essay, I argue that even if this approach is construed broadly and supplemented in various ways, its intrasubjective character leaves it ill-prepared to explain the normative grip of commitments in cases of purported self-betrayal. As an alternative, I (...)
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  • Intention and the Authority of Avowals.Andy Hamilton - 2008 - Philosophical Explorations 11 (1):23 – 37.
    There is a common assumption that intention is a complex behavioural disposition, or a motivational state underlying such a disposition. Associated with this position is the apparently commonsense view that an avowal of intention is a direct report of an inner motivational state, and indirectly an expression of a belief that it is likely that one will A. A central claim of this article is that the dispositional or motivational model is mistaken since it cannot acknowledge either the future-direction of (...)
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