Rational Requirements and 'Rational' Akrasia

Philosophical Studies 166 (3):529-552 (2013)
On one conception of practical rationality, being rational is most fundamentally a matter of avoiding incoherent combinations of attitudes. This conception construes the norms of rationality as codified by rational requirements, and one plausible rational requirement is that you not be akratic: that you not judge, all things considered, that you ought to ϕ while failing to choose or intend to ϕ. On another conception of practical rationality, being rational is most fundamentally a matter of thinking or acting in a way that’s informed by your practical reasons. This second conception construes the norms of rationality in terms that appear to allow the possibility of rational akrasia, since your capacity to act on your reasons can function at a level that need not involve deliberative judgment. (As we’ll see, it is not implausible to regard your deliberative judgment as merely one medium for registering your practical reasons, with emotions and non-deliberative habits perhaps serving as other media.) Though their treatments of akrasia make them seem incompatible, I’ll argue that the two conceptions of rationality are not incompatible. It is possible to accommodate the core insight motivating defenses of ‘rational’ akrasia within the conception of rationality as codified by requirements of rational coherence
Keywords akrasia  rational requirements  rationality
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Michael Bratman (1987/1999). Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason. Center for the Study of Language and Information.

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