A dual systems theory of incontinent action

Philosophical Psychology 30 (7):925-944 (2017)
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In philosophy of action, we typically aim to explain action by appealing to conative attitudes whose contents are either logically consistent propositions or can be rendered as such. Call this “the logical criterion.” This is especially difficult to do with clear-minded, intentional incontinence since we have to explain how two judgments can have non-contradicting contents yet still aim at contradictory outcomes. Davidson devises an innovative way of doing this but compromises his ability to explain how our better judgments can cause our continent behaviors. In this essay, I preserve Davidson’s approach to the logical criterion but deviate from his broader theory of action by developing a default-interventionist dual systems theory of action. To do this, I focus on the dynamical relationship between System 1 and System 2: the logical construction of value judgments in System 2 from System 1 and the imaginative construction of non-propositional conative attitudes in System 1 from System 2. I draw on Street’s Humean constructivism and Peacocke’s theory of imagination for logical and imaginative construction, respectively. Within this framework, I provide a new definition of continence and incontinence that satisfies the logical criterion and explains how our better judgments can cause our continent behaviors.
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The Sources of Normativity.Korsgaard, Christine

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