Asymmetry, Scope, and Rational Consistency

Croatian Journal of Philosophy 10 (2):109-130 (2010)
Suppose rationality requires you to A if you believe you ought to A. Suppose you believe that you ought to A. How can you satisfy this requirement? One way seems obvious. You can satisfy this requirement by A-ing. But can you also satisfy it by stopping to believe that you ought to A? Recently, it has been argued that this second option is not a genuine way of satisfying the above requirement. Conditional requirements of rationality do not have two ‘symmetric’, but only one ‘asymmetric’ satisfaction condition. This paper explores the consequences of this argument for a theory of the requirements of rationality. I seek to show that thisview conflicts with another powerful intuition about the requirements of rationality, i.e. ‘rational consistency’: if rationality requires you to X, then it is not the case that rationality requires you to not-X. I shall conclude that ‘asymmetric’ satisfying is based on a misleading intuition, for which we should not sacrifice ‘rational consistency’
Keywords Rationality  Rational requirements  Enkratic requirement  Asymmetry  Schroeder
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DOI croatjphil20101028
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