The Beliefs and Intentions of Buridan's Ass

Journal of the American Philosophical Association 3 (2):209-226 (2017)
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The moral of Buridan's Ass is that it can sometimes be rational to perform one action rather than another even though one lacks stronger reason to do so. Yet it is also commonly believed that it cannot ever be rational to believe one proposition rather than another if one lacks stronger reason to do so. This asymmetry has been taken to indicate a deep difference between epistemic and practical rationality. According to the view articulated here, the asymmetry should instead be explained by the difference between rational intentions and rational actions. Thus, it turns out, Buridan's Ass-style cases do not indicate an asymmetry between epistemic and practical rationality as such.

Author Profiles

Nathaniel Sharadin
University of Hong Kong
Finnur Dellsén
University of Iceland


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