Means-end coherence, stringency, and subjective reasons

Philosophical Studies 143 (2):223 - 248 (2009)
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Intentions matter. They have some kind of normative impact on our agency. Something goes wrong when an agent intends some end and fails to carry out the means she believes to be necessary for it, and something goes right when, intending the end, she adopts the means she thinks are required. This has even been claimed to be one of the only uncontroversial truths in ethical theory. But not only is there widespread disagreement about why this is so, there is widespread disagreement about in what sense it is so. In this paper I explore an underdeveloped answer to the question of in what sense it is so, and argue that resolving an apparent difficulty with this view leads to an attractive picture about why it is so

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Mark Schroeder
University of Southern California


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