Two Accounts of the Normativity of Rationality

Recent views of reasons and rationality make it plausible that it can sometimes be rational to do what you have no reason to do. A number of writers have concluded that if this is so, rationality is not normative. But this is a mistake. Even if we assume a tight connection between reasons and normativity, the normativity of rationality does not require that there is always reason to be rational. The first half of this paper illustrates this point with reference to the subjective reasons account of rationality. The second half suggest that this point may have been missed because of certain similarities between the subjective reasons account and the importantly different transparency account. On the transparency account, rationality seems not to be normative. I think it is often assumed that what goes for the transparency account goes for the subjective reasons account as well. But I argue that this is a mistake. A corollary is that the subjective reasons account has an important advantage over the transparency account, given how plausible it is that rationality is normative.
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Jonathan Way (2012). Explaining the Instrumental Principle. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):487-506.
Eric Vogelstein (2012). Subjective Reasons. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (2):239-257.
Kurt Sylvan (2015). What Apparent Reasons Appear to Be. Philosophical Studies 172 (3):587-606.

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