Should We Respond Correctly to Our Reasons?

Episteme (forthcoming)
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It has been argued that rationality consists in responding correctly to reasons. Recent defenses of the normativity of rationality assume that this implies that we always ought to be rational. However, this follows only if the reasons rationality requires us to correctly respond to are normative reasons. Recent meta-epistemological contributions have questioned whether epistemic reasons are normative. If they were right, then epistemic rationality wouldn’t provide us with normative reasons independently of wrong-kind reasons to be epistemically rational. This paper spells out this neglected challenge for the normativity of epistemic rationality by connecting the two bodies of literature. Moreover, it generalizes this challenge to the rationality of desire, intention, and emotion. The upshot is that we can only answer the normative question about rationality if we debate about blame and accountability for holding different kinds of irrational attitudes, as well as about the sources of mental normativity.

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Sebastian Schmidt
University of Zürich


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