The Toxin and the Tyrant: Two Tests for Gauthier's Theory of Rationality

Hume famously said that “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions.”2 Let us assume, with Hume, that reason does not, because it cannot, tell a person which ends to pursue. In other words, let us assume that although reason can apprise a person of the availability of various ends and of the costs and benefits likely to attend the pursuit of those ends,3 it cannot judge the desirability of those ends themselves. Assuming all this—assuming, in short, a purely instrumental view of rationality—it is natural to think that at least the following (if only this) can be said on reason’s behalf: the more rational a person’s choice of conduct is, the more will it further her ends, whatever they may be. And from this it is natural to infer that what is fully rational is for a person to choose whatever conduct will further her ends the most. This conception of rationality—the idea that it’s rational for a person to choose whatever conduct will further her ends the most—is as simple as it sounds, and I think it’s no exaggeration to say that it enjoys the status of orthodoxy among rational-choice theorists, game theorists, and other people who traffic in such things. But like any orthodoxy, this one has its heretics, and one of these is David Gauthier. As an alternative to..
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 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 Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
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

32 ( #100,267 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #147,227 of 1,726,249 )

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.