Prospects for a naturalization of practical reason: Humean instrumentalism and the normative authority of desire

This is an age of naturalization projects. Much epistemological work has been done toward naturalizing theoretical reason. One might view Hume as seeking to naturalize reason in both the theoretical (roughly, epistemological) and the practical realms. I suggest that whatever else underlies the vitality of Hume's instrumentalism - encapsulated in his view that 'reason is and ought only to be the slave of the passions' - one incentive is the hope of naturalizing practical reason. This paper explores some broadly Humean versions of instrumentalism that are among the most plausible contenders to represent instrumentalism as a contemporary naturalistic position. It first offers a taxonomy of reasons for action and, in that light, formulates a plausible version of instrumentalism. It then raises difficulties for the view, some of them concerning the nature of desire. It also develops an epistemologically significant comparison of desires with beliefs. Given the magnitude of the difficulties, it outlines an alternative account of practical reason.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09672550210152104
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,904
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

77 ( #39,693 of 1,725,443 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #134,582 of 1,725,443 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.