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The Possibility of Practical Reason

Ethics 106 (4):694-726 (1996)

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  1. Leading a Life of One’s Own: On Well-Being and Narrative Autonomy.Johan BrÄnnmark - 2006 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 59:65-82.
    We all want things. And although we might disagree on just how significant our wants, desires, or preferences are for the matter of how well we fare in life, we would probably all agree on some of them having some significance. So any reasonable theory about the human good should in some way acknowledge this. The theory that most clearly meets this demand is of course preferentialism, but even pluralist theories can do so. However, then they will at the same (...)
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  • Preference-Formation and Personal Good.Connie S. Rosati - 2006 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 59:33-64.
    As persons, beings with a capacity for autonomy, we face a certain practical task in living out our lives. At any given period we find ourselves with many desires or preferences, yet we have limited resources, and so we cannot satisfy them all. Our limited resources include insufficient economic means, of course; few of us have either the funds or the material provisions to obtain or pursue all that we might like. More significantly, though, we are limited to a single (...)
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  • Illusions of Value.Pete Fossey - 2015 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (2):01-06.
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  • Giving the Benefit of the Doubt.Paul Faulkner - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (2):139-155.
    Faced with evidence that what a person said is false, we can nevertheless trust them and so believe what they say – choosing to give them the benefit of the doubt. This is particularly notable when the person is a friend, or someone we are close to. Towards such persons, we demonstrate a remarkable epistemic partiality. We can trust, and so believe, our friends even when the balance of the evidence suggests that what they tell us is false. And insofar (...)
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  • Epistemic Instrumentalism and the Too Few Reasons Objection.Charles Côté-Bouchard - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (3):337-355.
    According to epistemic instrumentalism, epistemic normativity arises from and depends on facts about our ends. On that view, a consideration C is an epistemic reason for a subject S to Φ only if Φ-ing would promote an end that S has. However, according to the Too Few Epistemic Reasons objection, this cannot be correct since there are cases in which, intuitively, C is an epistemic reason for S to Φ even though Φ-ing would not promote any of S’s ends. After (...)
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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 Fundamental Principle of Practical Reasoning.Ralph Wedgwood - 1998 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 6 (2):189 – 209.
    The fundamental principle of practical reasoning (if there is such a thing) must be a rule which we ought to follow in all our practical reasoning, and which cannot lead to irrational decisions. It must be a rule that it is possible for us to follow directly - that is, without having to follow any other rule of practical reasoning in order to do so. And it must be a basic principle, in the sense that the explanation of why we (...)
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  • Performance, Self-Explanation, and Agency.Ron Mallon - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (10):2777-2798.
    Social constructionist explanations of human thought and behavior hold that our representations produce and regulate the categories, thoughts, and behaviors of those they represent. Performative versions of constructionist accounts explain these thoughts and behaviors as part of an intentional, strategic performance that is elicited and regulated by our representations of ourselves. This paper has four aims. First, I sketch a causal model of performative social constructionist claims. Second, I articulate a puzzling feature of performative claims that makes them seem especially (...)
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  • How is Moral Disagreement a Problem for Realism?David Enoch - 2009 - Journal of Ethics 13 (1):15-50.
    Moral disagreement is widely held to pose a threat for metaethical realism and objectivity. In this paper I attempt to understand how it is that moral disagreement is supposed to present a problem for metaethical realism. I do this by going through several distinct (though often related) arguments from disagreement, carefully distinguishing between them, and critically evaluating their merits. My conclusions are rather skeptical: Some of the arguments I discuss fail rather clearly. Others supply with a challenge to realism, but (...)
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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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  • Corporate Personality: A Politico-Jurisprudential Argument.Anthony Amatrudo - 2011 - Ratio Juris 24 (4):471-493.
    This article is an attempt to develop a practical politico-jurisprudential account of the corporate person, which it does by building on contemporary ideas about collective and shared intentions. It argues for a model of shared intentions, which posits a set of interlocking preferences, and other supporting attitudes. It examines the work of Bratman, Gilbert, Hurley, and Sugden and addresses issues of choice, coercion and will.
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  • Narrative Self-Shaping: A Modest Proposal.Daniel D. Hutto - 2016 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 15 (1):21-41.
    Decoupling a modestly construed Narrative Self Shaping Hypothesis from Strong Narrativism this paper attempts to motivate devoting our intellectual energies to the former. Section one briefly introduces the notions of self-shaping and rehearses reasons for thinking that self-shaping, in a suitably tame form, is, at least to some extent, simply unavoidable for reflective beings. It is against this background that the basic commitments of a modest Narrative Self-Shaping Hypothesis are articulated. Section two identifies a foundational commitment—the central tenet—of all Strong (...)
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  • Who's There? Selfhood, Self-Regard, and Social Relations.Diana Tietjens Meyers - 2000 - Hypatia 20 (4):200-215.
    J. David Velleman develops a canny, albeit mentalistic, theory of selfhood that furnishes some insights feminist philosophers should heed but that does not adequately heed some of the insights feminist philosophers have developed about the embodiment and relationality of the self. In my view, reflenvity cannot do the whole job of accounting for selfhood, for it rests on an unduly sharp distinction between reflexive loci of understanding and value, on the one hand, and embodiment and relationality, on the other. 1 (...)
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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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  • If You Can't Change What You Believe, You Don't Believe It.Grace Helton - 2020 - Noûs 54 (3):501-526.
    I develop and defend the view that subjects are necessarily psychologically able to revise their beliefs in response to relevant counter-evidence. Specifically, subjects can revise their beliefs in response to relevant counter-evidence, given their current psychological mechanisms and skills. If a subject lacks this ability, then the mental state in question is not a belief, though it may be some other kind of cognitive attitude, such as a supposi-tion, an entertained thought, or a pretense. The result is a moderately revisionary (...)
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  • Belief Without Credence.J. Adam Carter, Benjamin W. Jarvis & Katherine Rubin - 2016 - Synthese 193 (8):2323-2351.
    One of the deepest ideological divides in contemporary epistemology concerns the relative importance of belief versus credence. A prominent consideration in favor of credence-based epistemology is the ease with which it appears to account for rational action. In contrast, cases with risky payoff structures threaten to break the link between rational belief and rational action. This threat poses a challenge to traditional epistemology, which maintains the theoretical prominence of belief. The core problem, we suggest, is that belief may not be (...)
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  • Sartre's Theory of Motivation.Daniel Vanello - 2019 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 57 (2):259-278.
    The aim of this paper is to offer a novel reconstruction of Sartre’s theory of motivation. I argue for four related claims: Sartre’s theory of motivation revolves around the Schelerian-inspired notion of affectivity and the peculiar way affectivity provides us access to evaluative properties of the objects in our environment; according to Sartre, the structure of intentional action, and in particular the act of choice and commitment to projects, is inextricably linked with “affectivity”; the inextricable link between intentional action and (...)
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  • Attitude, Inference, Association: On the Propositional Structure of Implicit Bias.Eric Mandelbaum - 2016 - Noûs 50 (3):629-658.
    The overwhelming majority of those who theorize about implicit biases posit that these biases are caused by some sort of association. However, what exactly this claim amounts to is rarely specified. In this paper, I distinguish between different understandings of association, and I argue that the crucial senses of association for elucidating implicit bias are the cognitive structure and mental process senses. A hypothesis is subsequently derived: if associations really underpin implicit biases, then implicit biases should be modulated by counterconditioning (...)
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  • Who's There? Selfhood, Self-Regard, and Social Relations.Diana Tietjens Meyers - 2000 - Hypatia 20 (4):200-215.
    : J. David Velleman develops a canny, albeit mentalistic, theory of selfhood that furnishes some insights feminist philosophers should heed but that does not adequately heed some of the insights feminist philosophers have developed about the embodiment and relationality of the self. In my view, reflexivity cannot do the whole job of accounting for selfhood, for it rests on an unduly sharp distinction between reflexive loci of understanding and value, on the one hand, and embodiment and relationality, on the other. (...)
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  • Epistemic Schmagency?A. K. Flowerree - 2018 - In Christos Kyriacou & Robin McKenna (eds.), Metaepistemology: Realism & Antirealism. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 289-310.
    Constructivist approaches in epistemology and ethics offer a promising account of normativity. But constructivism faces a powerful Schmagency Objection, raised by David Enoch. While Enoch’s objection has been widely discussed in the context of practical norms, no one has yet explored how the Schmagency Objection might undermine epistemic constructivism. In this paper, I rectify that gap. First, I develop the objection against a prominent form of epistemic constructivism, Belief Constitutivism. Belief Constitutivism is susceptible to a Schmagency Objection, I argue, because (...)
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  • Is There a Confidence Condition in the Concept of Intention?John McGuire - 2020 - Philosophical Psychology 33 (5):705-730.
    The concept of intention is widely thought to involve a confidence condition of some sort, a condition that specifies certain beliefs that one must either have or lack if one intends to do somethin...
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  • Farewell to the Luck (and Mind) Argument.Christopher Evan Franklin - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (2):199-230.
    In this paper I seek to defend libertarianism about free will and moral responsibility against two well-known arguments: the luck argument and the Mind argument. Both of these arguments purport to show that indeterminism is incompatible with the degree of control necessary for free will and moral responsibility. I begin the discussion by elaborating these arguments, clarifying important features of my preferred version of libertarianism—features that will be central to an adequate response to the arguments—and showing why a strategy of (...)
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  • Hobartian Voluntarism and Epistemic Deontologism.Andrei Buckareff - 2006 - Disputatio 2 (21):1 - 17.
    Mark Heller has recently offered a proposal in defense of a fairly strong version of doxastic voluntarism. Heller looks to the compatibilist theory of free will proposed by R.E. Hobart in the first half of the twentieth century for an account of doxastic control. Heller’s defense of Hobartian Voluntarism is motivated by an appeal to epistemic deontologism. In this paper I argue that Heller’s defense of a version of strong or direct doxastic voluntarism ultimately fails. I finally argue that the (...)
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  • Defending Fundamental Requirements of Practical Reason: A Constitutivist Framework.David Alm - 2011 - Journal of Philosophical Research 36:77-102.
    In this paper I offer a partial defense of a constitutivist view according to which it is possible to defend fundamental requirements of practical reason by appeal to facts about what is constitutive of rational agency. I show how it is possible for that approach to circumvent the ‘is’/’ought’ problem as well as the requirement that it be possible to act contrary to practical reason. But I do not attempt to establish any particular fundamental requirement. The key ideas are that (...)
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  • Objective Reasons.Michael Pendlebury - 2007 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (4):533-563.
    In order to establish that judgments about practical reasons can be objective, it is necessary to show that the applicable standards provide an adequate account of truth and error. This in turn requires that these standards yield an extensive set of substantive, publicly accessible judgments that are presumptively true. This output requirement is not satisfied by the standards of universalizability, consistency, coherence, and caution alone. But it is satisfied if we supplement them with the principle that desire is a source (...)
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  • The Possibility of Deliberate Norm-Adherence in AI.Danielle Swanepoel - forthcoming - Ethics and Information Technology.
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  • Historical Moral Responsibility: Is The Infinite Regress Problem Fatal?Eric Christian Barnes - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (4):533-554.
    Some compatibilists have responded to the manipulation argument for incompatibilism by proposing an historical theory of moral responsibility which, according to one version, requires that agents be morally responsible for having their pro-attitudes if they are to be morally responsible for acting on them. This proposal, however, leads obviously to an infinite regress problem. I consider a proposal by Haji and Cuypers that addresses this problem and argue that it is unsatisfactory. I then go on to propose a new solution (...)
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  • Events, Agents, and Settling Whether and How One Intervenes.Jason Runyan - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (6):1629-1646.
    Event-causal libertarians maintain that an agent’s settling of whether certain states-of-affairs obtain on a particular occasion can be reduced to the causing of events by certain mental events or states, such as certain desires, beliefs and/or intentions. Agent-causal libertarians disagree. A common critique against event-causal libertarian accounts is that the agent’s role of settling matters is left unfilled and the agent “disappears” from such accounts—a problem known as the disappearing agent problem. Recently, Franklin has argued that an “enriched” event-causal account (...)
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  • Agential Settling Requires a Conscious Intention.Yishai Cohen - 2015 - Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (01):139-155.
    Helen Steward holds that an agent’s settling something does not require a conscious, full-fledged intention. Rather, sub-intentional acts can be instances of settling by the agent if that act is subordinated to the agent’s personal-level conscious systems. I argue that this position is mistaken, and that agential settling does in fact require a conscious intention. I argue for this claim by offering a case which on Steward’s position has counterintuitive implications. I consider a variety of ways in which Steward might (...)
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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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  • The Construction of a Sustainable Development in Times of Climate Change.Eric Brandstedt - 2013 - Dissertation, Lund University
    This dissertation is a contribution to the debate about ‘climate justice’, i.e. a call for a just and feasible distribution of responsibility for addressing climate change. The main argument is a proposal for a cautious, practicable, and necessary step in the right direction: given the set of theoretical and practical obstacles to climate justice, we must begin by making contemporary development practices sustainable. In times of climate change, this is done by recognising and responding to the fact that emissions of (...)
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  • ‘The Doing is Everything’: A Middle-Voiced Reading of Agency in Nietzsche.Béatrice Han-Pile - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (1):42-64.
    ABSTRACTNietzsche's famous claim, ‘das Thun ist Alles’, is usually translated as ‘the deed is everything’. I argue that it is better rendered as ‘the doing is everything’. Accordingly, I propose a processual reading of agency in GM 1 13 which draws both on Nietzsche's reflections on grammar, and on the Greek middle voice, to displace the opposition between deeds and events, agents and patients by introducing the notion of middle-voiced ‘doings’. The relevant question then is not ‘is this a doing (...)
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  • Ethics, Fitting Attitudes, and Practical Reason: A Theory of Normative Facts.Howard Nye - 2009 - Dissertation, University of Michigan
    I present and defend (1) an account of ethical judgments as judgments about our reasons to feel specific motivationally laden attitudes, (2) an account of what an agent should do in terms of what would achieve ends that she has reason to be motivated to pursue, and (3) an account of an agent’s reasons for motivation (and thus action) in terms of the prescriptions of the most fundamental principles that guide her deliberations. Using these accounts, I explain the connection between (...)
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  • Rationalization, Evidence, and Pretense.Jason D'Cruz - 2015 - Ratio 28 (3):318-331.
    In this paper I distinguish the category of “rationalization” from various forms of epistemic irrationality. I maintain that only if we model rationalizers as pretenders can we make sense of the rationalizer's distinctive relationship to the evidence in her possession. I contrast the cognitive attitude of the rationalizer with that of believers whose relationship to the evidence I describe as “waffling” or “intransigent”. In the final section of the paper, I compare the rationalizer to the Frankfurtian bullshitter.
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  • Agency and Inner Freedom.Michael Garnett - 2017 - Noûs 51 (1):3-23.
    This paper concerns the relationship between two questions. The first is a question about inner freedom: What is it to be rendered unfree, not by external obstacles, but by aspects of oneself? The second is a question about agency: What is it to fail at being a thing that genuinely acts, and instead to be a thing that is merely acted upon, passive in relation to its own behaviour? It is widely believed that answers to the first question must rest (...)
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  • Reducing Reasons.Matthew Silverstein - 2016 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 10 (1):1-22.
    Reasons are considerations that figure in sound reasoning. This is considered by many philosophers to be little more than a platitude. I argue that it actually has surprising and far-reaching metanormative implications. The view that reasons are linked to sound reasoning seems platitudinous only because we tend to assume that soundness is a normative property, in which case the view merely relates one normative phenomenon (reasons) to another (soundness). I argue that soundness is also a descriptive phenomenon, one we can (...)
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  • A Constitutive Account of 'Rationality Requires'.Julian Fink - 2014 - Erkenntnis (4):909-941.
    The requirements of rationality are fundamental in practical and theoretical philosophy. Nonetheless, there exists no correct account of what constitutes rational requirements. This paper attempts to provide a correct constitutive account of ‘rationality requires’. I argue that rational requirements are grounded in ‘necessary explanations of subjective incoherence’, as I shall put it. Rationality requires of you to X if and only if your rational capacities, in conjunction with the fact that you not-X, explain necessarily why you have a non-maximal degree (...)
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  • Ethics and Practical Reasoning.Matthew Silverstein - 2017 - Ethics 127 (2):353 - 382.
    How is practical reasoning related to ethical reasoning? The most common view is that they are identical: practical reasoning just is ethical reasoning. I criticize this view and then propose an alternative account of the relation between ethical thought and practical thought: ethical reasoning is reasoning about sound practical reasoning. I argue that this account of the relation between ethics and practical reasoning explains various phenomena that more familiar views leave unexplained. It also entails that the philosophy of action bears (...)
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  • Recent Work on Internal and External Reasons.John Brunero - 2017 - American Philosophical Quarterly 54 (2):99-118.
    This paper examines some recent arguments for internalism that (i) appeal to an analogy between practical and theoretical reasons, (ii) look toward our practices of reasoning with others, or (iii) tie reasons to good deliberation. The conclusion of this paper is a skeptical one: none of these new arguments gives us sufficient reason to think that internalism is true.
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  • Rational Uniqueness and Religious Disagreement.Christopher Willard-Kyle - manuscript
    This paper argues for extreme rational permissivism—the view that agents with identical evidence can rationally believe contradictory hypotheses—and a mild version of steadfastness. Agents can rationally come to different conclusions on the basis of the same evidence because their way of weighing the theoretic virtues may differ substantially. Nevertheless, in the face of disagreement, agents face considerable pressure to reduce their confidence. Indeed, I argue that agents often ought to reduce their confidence in the higher-order propositions that they know or (...)
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  • Belief: A Pragmatic Picture By Aaron Z. Zimmerman.David Hunter - 2019 - Analysis 79 (1):180-183.
    _ Belief: A Pragmatic Picture _ By ZimmermanAaron Z.Oxford University Press, 2018. viii + 180 pp.
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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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  • Setiya on Intention, Rationality and Reasons.Michael E. Bratman - 2009 - Analysis 69 (3):510-521.
    ‘The idea that there are standards of practical reason apart from or independent of good character,’ Kieran Setiya trenchantly argues, ‘is a philosophical mirage’. 1 Setiya's argument in this fine book is a striking blend of philosophy of action and normative philosophy. A central claim is that the intention is a special kind of belief. I want both to challenge that claim and to reflect on a subtle argument in its favour that is in the background.1.Practical thinking, as understood by (...)
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  • VIII-An Argument Against Motivational Internalism.Elinor Mason - 2008 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (1part2):135-156.
    In this paper I argue that I argue that motivational internalism should not be driving metaethics. I first show that many arguments for motivational internalism beg the question by resting on an illicit appeal to internalist assumptions about the nature of reasons. Then I make a distinction between weak internalism and the weakest form of internalism. Weak internalism allows that agents fail to act according to their normative judgments when they are practically irrational. I show that when we clarify the (...)
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  • ¿Qué es la argumentación práctica?Julder Gómez - 2017 - Co-herencia 14 (27):215-243.
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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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  • 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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  • Transparency, Belief, Intention.Alex Byrne - 2011 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 85:201-21.
    This paper elaborates and defends a familiar ‘transparent’ account of knowledge of one's own beliefs, inspired by some remarks of Gareth Evans, and makes a case that the account can be extended to mental states in general, in particular to knowledge of one's intentions.
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  • Introduction. Reconsidering Some Dogmas About Desire.Federico Lauria & Julien Deonna - 2017 - In Federico Lauria & Julien Deonna (eds.), The Nature of Desire. New York: Oxford University Press.
    Desire has not been at the center of recent preoccupations in the philosophy of mind. Consequently, the literature settled into several dogmas. The first part of this introduction presents these dogmas and invites readers to scrutinize them. The main dogma is that desires are motivational states. This approach contrasts with the other dominant conception: desires are positive evaluations. But there are at least four other dogmas: the world should conform to our desires (world-to-mind direction of fit), desires involve a positive (...)
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  • Artifice and Authenticity: Gender Technology and Agency in Two Jenny Saville Portraits.Diana Tietjens Meyers - 2009 - In Laurie Shrage (ed.), You’ve Changed”: Sex Reassignment and Personal Identity. Oxford University Press.
    This paper addresses two related topics: 1. The disanalogies between elective cosmetic practices and sex reassignment surgery. Why does it seem necessary for me – an aging professional woman – to ignore the blandishments of hairdressers wielding dyes and dermatologists wielding acids and scalpels? Why does it not seem equally necessary for a transgendered person to repudiate sex reassignment procedures? 2. The role of the body in identity and agency. How do phenomenological insights regarding the constitution of selfhood in relation (...)
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