On a Purported Principle of Practical Reason

A number of philosophers are attracted to the Principle of the Priority of Belief (or PPB) in practical matters. PPB has two parts: (1) it is a principle of practical reason to adjust your desires in accordance with your evaluative beliefs and (2) you should not adjust your evaluative beliefs in accordance with your desires. The central claim of this principle is that beliefs rightly govern desires and that desires have no authority over beliefs. This paper advances conceptual and empiricalarguments against accepting PPB. In the place of PPB, we should adopt a principle that advises agents to eliminate explicit tension between evaluative beliefs and desires without privileging either group. Call this the Principle of Evaluative Coherence (PEC). PEC maintains that some change must be made and that it can be rational to side with the considerations favored by desire.
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DOI 10.5840/jpr_2008_14
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