Practical unreason

Mind 102 (405):53-79 (1993)
Some contemporary theories treat phenomena like weakness of will, compulsion and wantonness as practical failures but not as failures of rationality: say, as failures of autonomy or whatever. Other current theories-the majority see the phenomena as failures of rationality but not as distinctively practical failures. They depict them as always involving a theoretical deficiency: a sort of ignorance, error, inattention or illogic. They represent them as failures which are on a par with breakdowns of theoretical reason; the failures may not have exact theoretical analogues, exact analogues in the breakdown of belief, but they are of essentially the same, cognitive kind. Our approach gives us quite a different view of things. The pathologies which we identify in our taxonomy are distinctively rational failures and distinctively practical failures; they are failures of pure practical reason.
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DOI 10.1093/mind/102.405.53
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Victoria McGeer (2008). The Moral Development of First-Person Authority. European Journal of Philosophy 16 (1):81–108.
Philip Pettit (1994). Consequentialism and Moral Psychology. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 2 (1):1 – 17.
Philip Pettit (2005). The Elements of Responsibility. Philosophical Books 46 (3):210-219.

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