In this paper I argue against the stronger of the two views concerning the right and wrong kind of reasons for belief, i.e. the view that the only genuine normative reasons for belief are evidential. The project in this paper is primarily negative, but with an ultimately positive aim. That aim is to leave room for the possibility that there are genuine pragmatic reasons for belief. Work is required to make room for this view, because evidentialism of a strict variety (...) remains the default view in much of the debate concerning normative reasons for belief. Strict versions of evidentialism are inconsistent with the view that there are genuine pragmatic reasons for belief. (shrink)
[Please note, this paper has been for the most part superseded by 'Unifying the Requirements of Rationality'] In the last decade, it has become commonplace among people who work on reasons (although not uncontroversially so) to distinguish between normativity and rationality. Work by John Broome, Niko Kolodny, Derek Parfit, and Nicholas Shackel has helped to establish the view that rationality is conceptually distinct from reasons. The distinction allows us to make sense of the questions recently addressed by Broome, Kolodny, (...) class='Hi'>Reisner, and Shackel: is rationality normative, and if so, in what way? Kolodny’s ‘Why be Rational?’ answered the first of these questions by claiming that there is no reason to be rational. In order to argue for this conclusion, Kolodny argues for a process account of rationality. Kolodny’s view is that rational requirements govern mental processes. His view is set in direct contrast to Broome’s, who holds that rational requirements are primarily, and perhaps exclusively, concerned with relations among mental states at a time. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the enkratic principle in its classic formulation may not be a requirement of rationality. The investigation of whether it is leads to some important methodological insights into the study of rationality. I also consider the possibility that we should consider rational requirements as a subset of a broader category of agential requirements.
An important advance in normativity research over the last decade is an increased understanding of the distinction, and difference, between normativity and rationality. Normativity concerns or picks out a broad set of concepts that have in common that they are, put loosely, guiding. For example, consider two commonly used normative concepts: that of a normative reason and that of ought. To have a normative reason to perform some action is for there to be something that counts in favour of performing (...) that action. Likewise with ought, when there is sufficient evidence for something, one ought to believe it (at least under normal circumstances). Not all guidance need be directed towards a specific state or a specific action. Subject to the requirements of normativity, too, are relations. It is commonly believed, for example, that we ought not to hold contradictory beliefs.1 At least some of the requirements that concern relations amongst an agent’s mental states are, or seem, distinctive. Agents who fail to satisfy these requirements are considered, at least to some degree, irrational. On many current views, being irrational is distinct in some way from not being how one ought to be; rationality is a concept distinct from normativity. Much of the literature on this topic over the last decade stems from attempts to capture the characteristic features of the requirements of rationality. Two influential views in particular did much to set the agenda. The first of these two was put forward John Broome.2 His view, the particulars of which I shall discuss in more detail below, is that the requirements of rationality could be expressed using a normative relation, which he calls a ‘normative requirement’. Normative requirements are conditionals governed by an all-thingsconsidered ought. In the case of rationality, the conditional is made up entirely of mental states.. (shrink)
As Dworkin puts it: moral scepticism is a moral view. This is in contrast to the more popular idea that the real challenge for moral realism is external scepticism, scepticism which arises because of non-moral considerations about the metaphysics of morality. I, too, do not concur with Dworkin’s strongest conclusions about the viability of external scepticism. But, I think his criticism of error scepticism offers a much needed corrective to more traditional metaethical projects. My aim in this paper is to (...) split the difference between Dworkin’s view and more traditional views, concluding that Dworkin’s work in Justice for Hedgehogs contributes to metaethics for everyone. (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that the buck-passing analysis (BPA) of final value is not a plausible analysis of value and should be abandoned. While considering the influential wrong kind of reason problem and other more recent technical objections, this paper contends that there are broader reasons for giving up on buck-passing. It is argued that the BPA, even if it can respond to the various technical objections, is not an attractive analysis of final value. It is not attractive (...) for two reasons: the first being that the BPA lacks the features typical of successful conceptual analyses and the second being that it is unable to deliver on the advantages that its proponents claim for it. While not offering a knock-down technical refutation of the BPA, this paper aims to show that there is little reason to think that the BPA is correct, and that it should therefore be given up as an analysis of final value. (shrink)
This paper argues that both a limited doxastic voluntarism and anti-evidentialism are consistent with the views that the aim of belief is truth or knowledge and that this aim plays an important role in norm-setting for beliefs. More cautiously, it argues that limited doxastic voluntarism is (or would be) a useful capacity for agents concerned with truth tracking to possess, and that having it would confer some straightforward benefits of both an epistemic and non-epistemic variety to an agent concerned with (...) truth tracking. (shrink)
Philosophers have long been concerned about what we know and how we know it. Increasingly, however, a related question has gained prominence in philosophical discussion: what should we believe and why? This volume brings together twelve new essays that address different aspects of this question. The essays examine foundational questions about reasons for belief, and use new research on reasons for belief to address traditional epistemological concerns such as knowledge, justification and perceptually acquired beliefs. This book will be of interest (...) to philosophers working on epistemology, theoretical reason, rationality, perception and ethics. It will also be of interest to cognitive scientists and psychologists who wish to gain deeper insight into normative questions about belief and knowledge. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that we can give a plausible account of how to compare pragmatic and evidential normative reasons for belief. The account I offer is given in the form of a ‘defeasing function’. This function allows for a sophisticated comparison of the two types of reasons without assigning complex features to the logical structures of either type of reason.
This paper looks at the question of what form the requirements of practical rationality take. One common view is that the requirements of rationality are wide-scope, and another is that they are narrow-scope. I argue that the resolution to the question of wide-scope versus narrow-scope depends to a significant degree on what one expects a theory of rationality to do. In examining these expectations, I consider whether there might be a way to unify requirements of both forms into a single (...) theory of rationality, and what the difficulties involved in doing so can teach us about the foundations of practical rationality. (shrink)
This paper introduces a case, Causal Entanglement (CE), in which there is a valuable state of affairs that it is not fitting to favour, at least for any actual individual. I discuss whether CE is a counterexample to the fitting attitude analysis of final value (FA). I discuss the proponent of FA can account for the value in CE by appealing to attitudes that it is fitting for individuals who are not in the actual world to have towards how things (...) are in the actual word. I show that this approach to accounting for CE brings with it substantial commitments in the metaphysics of modality. I also argue that even if the metaphysics works out favourably, appealing to the fittingness of trans-world attitudes strips FA of much of its interest and substance. (shrink)
One way to approach the question of whether there are non-derivative partial reasons of any kind is to give an account of what partial reasons are, and then to consider whether there are such reasons. If there are, then it is at least possible that there are partial reasons of friendship. It is this approach that will be taken here, and it produces several interesting results. The first is a point about the structure of partial reasons. It is at least (...) a necessary condition of a reason’s being partial that it has an explicit relational component. This component, technically, is a rela- tum in the reason relation that itself is a relation between the person to whom the reason applies and the person whom the action for which there is a reason concerns. The second conclusion of the paper is that this relational component is also required for a number of types of putatively impartial reasons. In order to avoid trivialising the distinction between partial and impartial rea- sons, some further sufficient condition must be applied. Finally, there is some prospect for a way of distinguishing between impartial reasons that contain a relational component and partial rea- sons, but that this approach suggests that the question of whether ethics is partial or impartial will be settled at the level of normative ethical discourse, or at least not at the level of discourse about the nature of reasons for action. (shrink)
There are many uses in English of the word “ought” (see Ought). This essay concerns the normative uses and the concepts or properties denoted thereby. In particular, it concerns two nonfinal oughts commonly used in the philosophical literature: prima facie oughts and pro tanto oughts.
This paper considers the relation between the sources of normativity, reasons, and normative conflicts. It argues that common views about how normative reasons relate to their sources have important consequences for how we can understand putative normative conflicts.
The agricultural communicator is a key link in transmitting information to farmers. If agricultural communicators' ethics are compromised, the resulting biases in news production could have serious detrimental effects on the quality of information conveyed to farmers. But, to date, agricultural communicators' perceptions of ethical problems they encounter at work has not been examined. This study looks at the dimensions of ethical concerns for topics area (agricultural) journalists as defined by practitioners. To determine these dimensions, we sent open ended questionnaires (...) (50 percent response rate) to members of two professional agricultural journalist associations: the Newspaper Farm Editors of America and the American Agricultural Editors' Association.Agricultural communicators overwhelmingly focus on one specific threat to objectivity—advertising pressure. Both NFEA and AAEA respondents indicated that agricultural journalists' responses to advertising pressure adversely affected the entire profession. The responses indicated that agricultural writers were concerned with the different types of pressures and the effects of advertising pressure on the industry as a whole. NFEA and AAEA respondents mentioned both indirect pressure, “freebies,” conferences, trips and press releases from advertising or public relations sections of agri-business firms, and direct pressures from advertisers, salesmen and publishers. The respondents were clearly more comfortable when newspaper policy protected them from advertising pressure and when they had techniques to reduce this pressure. The editors' and reporters' perceptions of advertising pressure clearly indicates that advertising abuses are a clear and present danger and one worthy of far more attention than it has previously received. (shrink)
This volume brings together previously unpublished papers by leading scholars that deal with the theme of practical reasoning and normativity. The volume includes contributions by Michael Bratman, Donald Bruckner, David Enoch, Elijah Millgram, AndrewReisner, François and Laura Schroeter, Mark Schroeder, and William White.
What is belief? "Beliefs aim at truth" is the commonly accepted starting point for philosophers who want to give an adequate account of this fundamental state of mind, but it raises as many questions as it answers. For example, in what sense can beliefs be said to have an aim of their own? If belief aims at truth, does it mean that reasons to believe must also be based on truth? Must beliefs be formed on the basis of evidence alone? (...) Is truth the constitutive norm of belief? Does aiming at truth bring in a normative dimension to the nature of belief? How can the aim of truth guide the formation of our beliefs? In what ways do partial beliefs aim at truth? Is truth the aim of epistemic justification? Last but not least, is it knowledge rather than truth which is the fundamental aim of belief? -/- In recent years, pursuing these questions has proved extremely fertile for our understanding of a wide range of current issues in philosophy of mind and action, epistemology, and meta-ethics. The Aim of Belief is the first book to be devoted to this fast-growing topic. It brings together eleven newly commissioned essays by leading authors on the aim of belief. -/- Contributors: Jonathan Adler, Krister Bykvist, Timothy Chan, Pascal Engel, Kathrin Glüer, Anandi Hattiangadi, Michael Hicks, Paul Horwich, David Papineau, AndrewReisner, Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen, Ralph Wedgwood, Åsa Wikforss, Daniel Whiting. (shrink)
The state, by V.I. Lenin.--The revolutionary part played by law and the state; a general doctrine of law, by P.I. Stuchka.--The theory of Petrazhitskii: Marxism and social ideology. Law, our law, foreign law, general law, by M.A. Reisner.--The general theory of law and Marxism, by E.B. Pashukanis.--The right deviation in the Communist Party of Bolsheviks. Political report of the Central (Party) Committee to the XVI Congress, 1930, by J.V. Stalin.-- The Soviet state and the revolution in law, by E.B. (...) Pashukanis.--Socialism and law, by P. Yudin.--The fundamental tasks of the science of Soviet socialist law, by A.Y. Vyshinsky.--Report to the XVIII Party Congress, by J.V. Stalin.--The theory of the state and law, by S.A. Golunskii and M.S. Strogovich.--The Soviet state in the war for the fatherland, by A.Y. Vyshinsky.--The relationship between state and law, by I.P. Trainin. (shrink)