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Derek Baker
Lingnan University
  1. Skepticism About Ought Simpliciter.Derek Clayton Baker - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 13.
    There are many different oughts. There is a moral ought, a prudential ought, an epistemic ought, the legal ought, the ought of etiquette, and so on. These oughts can prescribe incompatible actions. What I morally ought to do may be different from what I self-interestedly ought to do. Philosophers have claimed that these conflicts are resolved by an authoritative ought, or by facts about what one ought to do simpliciter or all-things-considered. However, the only coherent notion of an ought simpliciter (...)
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  2. How Expressivists Can and Should Explain Inconsistency.Derek Clayton Baker & Jack Woods - 2015 - Ethics 125 (2):391-424.
    Mark Schroeder has argued that all reasonable forms of inconsistency of attitude consist of having the same attitude type towards a pair of inconsistent contents (A-type inconsistency). We suggest that he is mistaken in this, offering a number of intuitive examples of pairs of distinct attitudes types with consistent contents which are intuitively inconsistent (B-type inconsistency). We further argue that, despite the virtues of Schroeder's elegant A-type expressivist semantics, B-type inconsistency is in many ways the more natural choice in developing (...)
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  3. The Varieties of Normativity.Derek Clayton Baker - 2017 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 567-581.
    This paper discusses varieties of normative phenomena, ranging from morality, to epistemic justification, to the rules of chess. It canvases a number of distinctions among these different normative phenomena. The most significant distinction is between formal and authoritative normativity. The prior is the normativity exhibited by any standard one can meet or fail to meet. The latter is the sort of normativity associated with phenomena like the "all-things-considered" ought. The paper ends with a brief discussion of reasons for skepticism about (...)
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  4. Akrasia and the Problem of the Unity of Reason.Derek Clayton Baker - 2015 - Ratio 28 (1):65-80.
    Joseph Raz and Sergio Tenenbaum argue that the Guise of the Good thesis explains both the possibility of practical reason and its unity with theoretical reason, something Humean psychological theories may be unable to do. This paper will argue, however, that Raz and Tenenbaum face a dilemma: either the version of the Guise of the Good they offer is too strong to allow for weakness of will, or it will lose its theoretical advantage in preserving the unity of reason.
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  5. Knowing Yourself—And Giving Up On Your Own Agency In The Process.Derek Clayton Baker - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (4):641 - 656.
    Are there cases in which agents ought to give up on satisfying an obligation, so that they can avoid a temptation which will lead them to freely commit an even more significant wrong? Actualists say yes. Possibilists say no. Both positions have absurd consequences. This paper argues that common-sense morality is committed to an inconsistent triad of principles. This inconsistency becomes acute when we consider the cases that motivate the possibilism?actualism debate. Thus, the absurd consequences of both solutions are unsurprising: (...)
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  6. Expression and Guidance in Schroeder’s Expressivist Semantics.Derek Clayton Baker - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (4):829-852.
    Mark Schroeder’s expressivist program has made substantial progress in providing a compositional semantics for normative terms. This paper argues that it risks achieving this semantic progress at the cost of abandoning a key theoretical motivation for embracing expressivism in the first place. The problem can be summarized as a dilemma. Either Schroeder must allow that there are cases in which agents are in disagreement with one another, or can make valid inferences, but that these disagreements or inferences are not expressible (...)
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  7. Why Transparency Undermines Economy.Derek Clayton Baker - 2015 - Synthese 192 (9):3037-3050.
    Byrne offers a novel interpretation of the idea that the mind is transparent to its possessor, and that one knows one’s own mind by looking out at the world. This paper argues that his attempts to extend this picture of self-knowledge force him to sacrifice the theoretical parsimony he presents as the primary virtue of his account. The paper concludes by discussing two general problems transparency accounts of self-knowledge must address.
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  8. The Verdictive Organization of Desire.Derek Clayton Baker - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (5):589-612.
    Deliberation often begins with the question ‘What do I want to do?’ rather than the question of what one ought to do. This paper takes that question at face value, as a question about which of one’s desires is strongest, which sometimes guides action. The paper aims to explain which properties of a desire make that desire strong, in the sense of ‘strength’ relevant to this deliberative question. Both motivational force and phenomenological intensity seem relevant to a desire’s strength; however, (...)
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  9. Ambivalent Desires and the Problem with Reduction.Derek Clayton Baker - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (1):37-47.
    Ambivalence is most naturally characterized as a case of conflicting desires. In most cases, an agent’s intrinsic desires conflict contingently: there is some possible world in which both desires would be satisfied. This paper argues, though, that there are cases in which intrinsic desires necessarily conflict—i.e., the desires are not jointly satisfiable in any possible world. Desiring a challenge for its own sake is a paradigm case of such a desire. Ambivalence of this sort in an agent’s desires creates special (...)
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  10. Deliberators Must Be Imperfect.Derek Clayton Baker - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (3):321-347.
    This paper argues that, with certain provisos, predicting one's future actions is incompatible with rationally deliberating about whether to perform those actions. It follows that fully rational omniscient agents are impossible, since an omniscient being could never rationally deliberate about what to do . Consequently, theories that explain practical reasons in terms of the choices of a perfectly rational omniscient agent must fail. The paper considers several ways of defending the possibility of an omniscient agent, and concludes that while some (...)
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