The groundless normativity of instrumental rationality

Journal of Philosophy 98 (9):445-468 (2001)
Abstract
Neo-Humean instrumentalist theories of reasons for acting have been presented with a dilemma: either they are normatively trivial and, hence, inadequate as a normative theory or they covertly commit themselves to a noninstrumentalist normative principle. The claimed result is that no purely instrumentalist theory of reasons for acting can be normatively adequate. This dilemma dissolves when we understand what question neo-Humean instrumentalists are addressing. The dilemma presupposes that neo-Humeans are attempting to address the question of how to act, 'simpliciter'. Instead, they are evaluating actions from the agent's normative perspective.
Keywords Humeanism  instrumental rationality  Korsgaard  practical reasons  normativity
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DOI jphil200198923
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Eric Vogelstein (2011). Morality, Reasons, and Sentiments. Philosophical Studies 155 (3):421-432.
Attila Tanyi (2011). Sobel on Pleasure, Reason, and Desire. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (1):101-115.
John Brunero (2005). Instrumental Rationality and Carroll's Tortoise. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (5):557 - 569.

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