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The Guise of the Good

Noûs 26 (1):3 - 26 (1992)

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  1. Ontological-Transcendental Defence of Metanormative Realism.Michael Kowalik - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (2):573-586.
    If there is something (P) that every possible agent is committed to value, and certain actions or attitudes either enhance or diminish P, then normative claims about a range of intentional actions can be objectively and non-trivially evaluated. I argue that the degree of existence as an agent depends on the consistency of reflexive-relating with other individuals of the agent-kind: the ontological thesis. I then show that in intending to act on a reason, every agent is rationally committed to value (...)
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  • The Place of Animals in Kantian Ethics. Review of Christine M. Korsgaard, Fellow Creatures: Our Obligations to the Other Animals. [REVIEW]Jonathan Birch - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35:8.
    Kantian ethics has struggled terribly with the challenge of incorporating non-human animals as beings to which we can owe obligations. Christine Korsgaard’s Fellow Creatures is a bold, substantial attempt to meet that challenge. In this essay review, I set the scene for the book’s core argument, offer a reconstruction of that argument, and reflect on its strengths and limitations, arguing that it is ultimately unconvincing.
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  • Self-Knowledge in a Predictive Processing Framework.Lukas Schwengerer - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (3):563-585.
    In this paper I propose an account of self-knowledge based on a framework of predictive processing. Predictive processing understands the brain as a prediction-action machine that tries to minimize error in its predictions about the world. For this view to evolve into a complete account of human cognition we ought to provide an idea how it can account for self-knowledge – knowledge of one’s own mental states. I provide an attempt for such an account starting from remarks on introspection made (...)
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  • The Guise of the Bad in Augustine’s Pear Theft.Hans Bernhard Schmid - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (1):71-89.
    In the second book of his Confessions, Augustine of Hippo presents his famous juvenile Pear Theft as an apparent case of acting under the guise of the bad. At least since Thomas Aquinas’ influential interpretation, scholars have usually taken Augustine’s detailed discussion of the case to be dispelling this “guise of the guise of the bad”, and to offer a solid “guise of the good”-explanation. This paper addresses an important challenge to this view: Augustine offers two different “guise of the (...)
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  • The Good, the Bad, and the Uncertain: Intentional Action Under Normative Uncertainty.Fabienne Peter - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (1):57-70.
    My focus in this paper is on a type of bad actions, namely actions that appear to be done for reasons that are not good reasons. I take such bad actions to be ubiquitous. But their ubiquity gives rise to a puzzle, especially if we assume that intentional actions are performed for what one believes or takes to be good reasons. The puzzle I aim to solve in this paper is: why do we seem to be getting it wrong so (...)
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  • The Guise of the Guise of the Bad.Sergio Tenenbaum - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (1):5-20.
    It is undeniable that human agents sometimes act badly, and it seems that they sometimes pursue bad things simply because they are bad. This latter phenomenon has often been taken to provide counterexamples to views according to which we always act under the guise of the good. This paper identifies several distinct arguments in favour of the possibility that one can act under the guise of the bad. GG seems to face more serious difficulties when trying to answer three different, (...)
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  • On Some Counter-Examples to the Guise of the Good-Thesis: Intelligibility Without Desirability.Arto Laitinen - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (1):21-36.
    This paper argues that there are cases, which various guise of the good-theses concerning desires, intentions and actions would not allow. In these cases the agent acts for considerations that the agent does not regard as good reasons. The considerations render the actions intelligible but not desirable. These cases are atypical, but nonetheless show that those guise of the good-theses which do not allow them, should be revised. In typical cases the intelligibility of desires, intentions and actions co-varies with their (...)
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  • Knowing What I’M About To Do Without Evidence.Robert Dunn - 1998 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 6 (2):231 – 252.
    J. David Velleman casts foreknowledge of one's own next move as psychologically active. As agents, we form prior intentions about what we will do next. Such prior intentions are licensed self-fulfilling beliefs or directive cognitions. These cognitions differ from ordinary predictions in their psychological relation to the evidence, in that they precede that crucial part of the evidence which consists in the fact that they have been formed. However, once formed, these cognitions are epistemologically unremarkable: they are directly justified by (...)
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  • "The Logic of the Liver". A Deontic View of the Intentionality of Desire.Federico Lauria - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Geneva
    Desires matter. How are we to understand the intentionality of desire? According to the two classical views, desire is either a positive evaluation or a disposition to act: to desire a state is to positively evaluate it or to be disposed to act to realize it. This Ph.D. Dissertation examines these conceptions of desire and proposes a deontic alternative inspired by Meinong. On this view, desiring is representing a state of affairs as what ought to be or, if one prefers, (...)
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  • A Cognitive Theory of Empty Names.Eduardo García-Ramírez - 2011 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (4):785-807.
    Ordinary use of empty names encompasses a variety of different phenomena, including issues in semantics, mental content, fiction, pretense, and linguistic practice. In this paper I offer a novel account of empty names, the cognitive theory, and show how it offers a satisfactory account of the phenomena. The virtues of this theory are based on its strength and parsimony. It allows for a fully homogeneous semantic treatment of names coped with ontological frugality and empirical and psychological adequacy.
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  • The Irrational Project: Toward a Different Understanding of Self-Deception.Amber Leigh Griffioen - 2010 - Iowa Research Online.
    This dissertation focuses on questions regarding the metaphysical and psychological possibility of self-deception and attempts to show that self-deception is a phenomenon best characterized as both motivated and intentional, such that self-deceivers can be held responsible for their deceptions in a stronger sense than that of being merely epistemically negligent. -/- In Chapter One, I introduce the paradoxes of self-deception, which arise when one attempts to draw a close analogy between self- and other-deception, and I discuss the various ways in (...)
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  • Acting for Reasons, Apt Action, and Knowledge.Susanne Mantel - 2013 - Synthese 190 (17):3865-3888.
    I argue for the view that there are important similarities between knowledge and acting for a normative reason. I interpret acting for a normative reason in terms of Sosa’s notion of an apt performance. Actions that are done for a normative reason are normatively apt actions. They are in accordance with a normative reason because of a competence to act in accordance with normative reasons. I argue that, if Sosa’s account of knowledge as apt belief is correct, this means that (...)
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  • How We Know What We Intend.Sarah K. Paul - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 161 (2):327-346.
    How do we know what our intentions are? It is argued that work on self-knowledge has tended to neglect the attitude of intention, and that an epistemological account is needed that is attuned to the specific features of that state. Richard Moran’s Authorship view, on which we can acquire self-knowledge by making up our minds, offers a promising insight for such an account: we do not normally discover what we intend through introspection. However, his formulation of the Authorship view, developed (...)
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  • Against Quietist Normative Realism.Tristram McPherson - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (2):223-240.
    Recently, some philosophers have suggested that a form of robust realism about ethics, or normativity more generally, does not face a significant explanatory burden in metaphysics. I call this view metaphysically quietist normative realism . This paper argues that while this view can appear to constitute an attractive alternative to more traditional forms of normative realism, it cannot deliver on this promise. I examine Scanlon’s attempt to defend such a quietist realism, and argue that rather than silencing metaphysical questions about (...)
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  • Moral Expressivism and Sentential Negation.Neil Sinclair - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 152 (3):385-411.
    This paper advances three necessary conditions on a successful account of sentential negation. First, the ability to explain the constancy of sentential meaning across negated and unnegated contexts (the Fregean Condition). Second, the ability to explain why sentences and their negations are inconsistent, and inconsistent in virtue of the meaning of negation (the Semantic Condition). Third, the ability of the account to generalize regardless of the topic of the negated sentence (the Generality Condition). The paper discusses three accounts of negation (...)
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  • Pure Cognitivism and Beyond.Attila Tanyi - 2014 - Acta Analytica 29 (3):331-348.
    The article begins with Jonathan Dancy’s attempt to refute the Humean Theory of Motivation. It first spells out Dancy’s argument for his alternative position, the view he labels ‘Pure Cognitivism’, according to which what motivate are always beliefs, never desires. The article next argues that Dancy’s argument for his position is flawed. On the one hand, it is not true that desire always comes with motivation in the agent; on the other, even if this was the case, it would still (...)
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  • Desires, Descriptivism, and Reference Failure.Alexander Hughes - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (1):279-296.
    I argue that mental descriptivism cannot be reasonably thought superior to rival theories on the grounds that it can (while they cannot) provide an elegant account of reference failure. Descriptivism about the particular-directed intentionality of our mental states fails when applied to desires. Consider, for an example, the desire that Satan not tempt me. On the descriptivist account, it looks like my desire would be fulfilled in conditions in which there exists exactly one thing satisfying some description only Satan satisfies (...)
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  • The Guise of the Good and the Problem of Partiality.Allan Hazlett - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (6):851-872.
    According to the guise of the good thesis, we desire things under the ‘guise of the good.’ Here I sympathetically articulate a generic formulation of the guise of the good thesis, and addre...
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  • Are Events Things of the Past?Julian Bacharach - 2021 - Mind 130 (518):381-412.
    A popular claim in recent philosophy of mind and action is that events only exist once they are over. This has been taken to have the consequence that many temporal phenomena cannot be understood ‘from the inside’, as they are unfolding, purely in terms of events. However, as I argue here, the claim that events exist only when over is incoherent. I consider two ways of understanding the claim and the notion of existence it involves: one that ties existence to (...)
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  • Acting Sub Specie Boni.Erasmus Mayr - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (sup2):55-72.
    On a traditional view of human agency, intentional actions are performed sub specie boni: Agents, in acting intentionally, must see some good in what they are doing. This view has come under heavy criticism, which has partly focussed on several putative counterexamples, and partly on the view’s underlying rationale. In this paper, I defend one version of the sub specie boni view and try to show that it still deserves its old standing as the “default view” about acting with an (...)
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  • Agency and Normative Self-Governance.Matthew Silverstein - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):517-528.
    We are agents: we can deliberate about what to do, and then act on the basis of that deliberation. We are also capable of normative self-governance: we can identify and respond to reasons as reasons. Many theorists believe that these two capacities are intimately connected. On the basis of this connection they conclude that practical reasoning must be carried out under the guise of a justification. This paper explores two strategies for avoiding that conclusion. The first, which just denies the (...)
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  • Happiness, Pleasure, and Belief.Edward Skidelsky - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):435-446.
    This paper argues that happiness and pleasure are distinct states of mind because they stand in a distinct logical relation to belief. Roughly, being happy about a state of affairs s implies that one believes that s satisfies the description ‘s’ and that it is in some way good, whereas taking pleasure in s does not. In particular, Fred Feldman's analysis of happiness in terms of attitudinal pleasure overlooks this distinction.
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  • Games and the Art of Agency.C. Thi Nguyen - 2019 - Philosophical Review 128 (4):423-462.
    Games may seem like a waste of time, where we struggle under artificial rules for arbitrary goals. The author suggests that the rules and goals of games are not arbitrary at all. They are a way of specifying particular modes of agency. This is what make games a distinctive art form. Game designers designate goals and abilities for the player; they shape the agential skeleton which the player will inhabit during the game. Game designers work in the medium of agency. (...)
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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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  • Agency and Self‐Sufficiency in Fichte's Ethics.Michelle Kosch - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (2):348-380.
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  • The Platonic Model: Statement, Clarification and Defense.Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin - 2015 - Philosophical Explorations 18 (3):378-392.
    I defend Gary Watson's Platonic Model of free agency against two arguments by counterexample, one by J. David Velleman and the other by Michael Bratman. I claim that these arguments are unconvincing for three reasons. First, they do not accurately target the Platonic Model. Second, they do not convincingly present cases of self-governed action. Third, they call attention to issues about theoretical commitments that are not fit to be settled by appeal to cases. On the basis of this discussion, I (...)
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  • Aiming at the Good.Amir Saemi - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (2):197-219.
    This paper shows how we can plausibly extend the guise of the good thesis in a way that avoids intellectualist challenge, allows animals to be included, and is consistent with the possibility of performing action under the cognition of their badness. The paper also presents some independent arguments for the plausibility of this interpretation of the thesis. To this aim, a teleological conception of practical attitudes as well as a cognitivist account of arational desires is offered.
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  • Knowing the Good and Knowing What One is Doing.Sergio Tenenbaum - 2009 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (S1):91-117.
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  • What is Reliance?Facundo M. Alonso - 2014 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 44 (2):163-183.
    In this article I attempt to provide a conceptual framework for thinking about reliance in a systematic way. I argue that reliance is a cognitive attitude that has a tighter connection to the guidance of our thought and action than ordinary belief does. My main thesis is that reliance has a ‘constitutive aim’: namely, it aims at guiding our thought and action in a way that is sensible from the standpoint of practical or theoretical ends. This helps explain why reliance (...)
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  • A Moorean Paradox of Desire.David Wall - 2012 - Philosophical Explorations 15 (1):63-84.
    Moore's paradox is a paradox in which certain kinds of belief or assertion, such as a belief that ?it is raining and I do not believe that it is raining?, are irrational despite involving no obvious contradiction in what is believed. But is there a parallel paradox involving other kinds of attitude, in particular desire? I argue that certain kinds of desire would be irrational to have for similar, distinctive reasons that having Moorean beliefs would be irrational to have. Hence, (...)
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  • How to Keep Up Good Appearances: Desire, Imagination, and the Good.Uku Tooming - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    It is not uncommon to think that having a desire involves taking its object to be good in some sense. This idea has been developed in two directions: either toward a view that understands the positive evaluation in terms of a judgment or belief or a view according to which the relevant evaluation is perception-like. In this article, I defend a novel proposal that takes the positive evaluation of the object of desire to be a kind of imagining.
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  • Practical Reason: A Review of the Current Debate and Problems. [REVIEW]Stefan Gosepath - 2002 - Philosophical Explorations 5 (3):229 – 238.
    In this review article I refer to some of the most relevant recent publications in the field of practical rationality, mainly drawing on two new anthologies by Wallace and Millgram that contain the principal arguments in the current debate, and on new books and articles by Bittner, Dancy, Nida-Rümelin and Raz. The purpose of the article is to offer an overview of the relevant positions in the current debate, to clarify the main arguments against the belief-desire model, and to situate (...)
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  • Expressive Actions.Monika Betzler - 2009 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 52 (3):272-292.
    Actions expressing emotions (such as caressing the clothes of one's dead friend in grief, or tearing apart a photograph out of jealousy) pose a notorious challenge to action theorists. They are thought to be intentional in that they are in some sense under the agent's control. They are not thought to be done for a reason, however, because they cannot be explained by considerations that favor them from the agent's point of view. This seems to be the case, at least, (...)
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  • Delusions and Not-Quite-Beliefs.Maura Tumulty - 2012 - Neuroethics 5 (1):29-37.
    Bortolotti argues that the irrationality of many delusions is no different in kind from the irrationality that marks many non-pathological states typically treated as beliefs. She takes this to secure the doxastic status of those delusions. Bortolotti’s approach has many benefits. For example, it accounts for the fact that we can often make some sense of what deluded subjects are up to, and helps explain why some deluded subjects are helped by cognitive behavioral therapy. But there is an alternative approach (...)
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  • I—Kathleen Stock: Fictive Utterance and Imagining.Kathleen Stock - 2011 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 85 (1):145-161.
    A popular approach to defining fictive utterance says that, necessarily, it is intended to produce imagining. I shall argue that this is not falsified by the fact that some fictive utterances are intended to be believed, or are non-accidentally true. That this is so becomes apparent given a proper understanding of the relation of what one imagines to one's belief set. In light of this understanding, I shall then argue that being intended to produce imagining is sufficient for fictive utterance (...)
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  • Creative Imagining as Practical Knowing: An Akbariyya Account.Reza Hadisi - 2021 - Res Philosophica 98 (s):181-204.
    I argue that practical knowledge can be understood as constituted by a kind of imagining. In particular, it is the knowledge of what I am doing when that knowledge is represented via extramental imagination. Two results follow. First, on this account, we can do justice both to the cognitive character and the practical character of practical knowledge. And second, we can identify a condition under which imagination becomes factive, and thus a source of ob-jective evidence. I develop this view by (...)
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  • Sympathy, Discernment, and Reasons.Garrett Cullity - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (1):37–62.
    According to "the argument from discernment", sympathetic motivation is morally faulty, because it is morally undiscriminating. Sympathy can incline you to do the right thing, but it can also incline you to do the wrong thing. And if so, it is no better as a reason for doing something than any other morally arbitrary consideration. The only truly morally good form of motivation--because the only morally non-arbitrary one--involves treating an action's rightness as your reason for performing it. This paper attacks (...)
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  • The Guise of Good Reason.Ulf Hlobil - 2021 - Philosophical Explorations 24 (2):204-224.
    The paper argues for a version of the Guise of the Good thesis, namely the claim that if someone acts as the result of practical reasoning, then she takes her premises to jointly provide a sufficient and undefeated reason for her action. I argue for this by showing, first, that it is an application of Boghossian's Taking Condition on inference to practical reasoning and, second, that the motivations for the Taking Condition for theoretical reasoning carry over to practical reasoning. I (...)
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  • The Environmental Constituents of Flourishing: Rethinking External Goods and the Ecological Systems That Provide Them.Kenneth Shockley - forthcoming - Ethics, Policy and Environment:1-20.
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  • Changing Direction on Direction of Fit.Alex Gregory - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (5):603-614.
    In this paper, I show that we should understand the direction of fit of beliefs and desires in normative terms. After rehearsing a standard objection to Michael Smith’s analysis of direction of fit, I raise a similar problem for Lloyd Humberstone’s analysis. I go on to offer my own account, according to which the difference between beliefs and desires is determined by the normative relations such states stand in. I argue that beliefs are states which we have reason to change (...)
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  • Meaning, Evidence, and Objectivity.Olivia Sultanescu - 2021 - In Syraya Chin-Mu Yang & Robert H. Myers (eds.), Donald Davidson on Action, Mind and Value. pp. 171-184.
    This chapter addresses the question of what, according to the conception of meaning offered by Donald Davidson, makes expressions meaningful. It addresses this question by reflecting on Kathrin Glüer’s recent response to it. It argues that Glüer misconstrues both the evidence for meaning that the radical interpreter must rely on and the way in which the principle of charity must be deployed. The articulation of the correct construal of the evidence and the principle reveals the thoroughly non-reductionist aspect of Davidson’s (...)
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  • Nonbelief and the Desire-as-Belief Thesis.Charles B. Cross - 2008 - Acta Analytica 23 (2):115-124.
    I show the incompatibility of two theses: (a) to desire the truth of p amounts to believing a certain proposition about the value of p’s truth; (b) one cannot be said to desire the truth of p if one believes that p is true. Thesis (a), the Desire-As-Belief Thesis, has received much attention since the late 1980s. Thesis (b) is an epistemic variant of Socrates’ remark in the Symposium that one cannot desire what one already has. It turns out that (...)
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  • The Indifference Argument.Nick Zangwill - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (1):91 - 124.
    I argue against motivational internalism. First I recharacterise the issue over moral motivation. Second I describe the indifference argument against motivation internalism. Third I consider appeals to irrationality that are often made in the face of this argument, and I show that they are ineffective. Lastly, I draw the motivational externalist conclusion and reflect on the nature of the issue.
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  • You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do.John Gibbons - 2009 - Noûs 43 (1):157-177.
    One question about the role of the mental in the determination of practical reason concerns the pro-attitudes: can any set of beliefs, without the help of a desire, rationalize or make reasonable a desire, intention, attempt, or intentional action? After criticizing Michael Smith’s argument for a negative answer to this question, I present two arguments in favor of a positive answer. Another question about the role of the mental in the determination of practical reason concerns belief: what gives you a (...)
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  • Intention in Criminal Law: The Challenge From Non‐Observational Knowledge.Bebhinn Donnelly-Lazarov - 2017 - Ratio Juris 30 (4):451-470.
    Intention is at the heart of criminal law. If it is not the mens rea requirement found most often in offences, it is still the standard against which other grades of fault tend relatively to be judged. It has generated much controversy, as the crucial question, “Did the defendant intend X?” is resistant to clear answers. This paper argues that intention-questions are difficult because intention is not the thing law takes it to be: Importantly, contrary to law's assumptions, it is (...)
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  • Introduction.Michelle Kosch - 2012 - Philosophical Forum 43 (3):243-246.
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  • Ethical Non-Naturalism and the Guise of the Good.Francesco Orsi - 2018 - Topoi (4):581-590.
    The paper presents a positive argument for a version of metaphysically light ethical non-naturalism from the nature of mental states such as desires. It uses as its premise the time-honoured, and recently rediscovered, doctrine of the guise of the good, whereby it is essential to desire that the object of desire be conceived as good or as normatively favoured under some description. The argument is that if the guise of the good is a correct theory of desire, then a certain (...)
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  • Good, Evil, and the Necessity of an Act.Sebastian Rödl - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (1):91-102.
    Kant asserts that the formula of the schools “nihil appetimus, nisi sub ratione boni” is undoubtedly certain when clearly expressed. Conversely, doubt reflects a failure clearly to express it. Once we comprehend the concepts of the formula, of the good and of desire, there is no doubting it. In recent times, the formula has fallen into doubt. If Kant is right, then this shows a lack of clarity with respect to the concepts the formula conjoins. I want to suggest that (...)
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  • Reasons and Passions.Ferenc Huoranszki - 2006 - Acta Analytica 21 (2):41-53.
    Jonathan Dancy has argued that agents’ reasons for their actions are facts or features of the situations rather than their psychological states. The purpose of the paper is to show that even if we grant that this is so in most of the cases, there is a class of mental states that can be reasons. Although beliefs and desires are not reasons for actions, some emotional states—like loving, liking or disliking someone—can generate reasons. The distinctive feature of these states is (...)
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  • Seeing What to Do: Affective Perception and Rational Motivation.Sabine A. Döring - 2007 - Dialectica 61 (3):363-394.
    Theories of practical reason must meet a psychological requirement: they must explain how normative practical reasons can be motivationally efficacious. It would be pointless to claim that we are subject to normative demands of reason, if we were in fact unable to meet those demands. Concerning this requirement to account for the possibility of rational motivation, internalist approaches are distinguished from externalist ones. I defend internalism, whilst rejecting both ways in which the belief‐desire model can be instantiated. Both the Humean (...)
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