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Profile: Derek Clayton Baker (Lingnan University)
  1. Derek Baker (forthcoming). Why Transparency Undermines Economy. Synthese:1-14.
    Alex Byrne (2005; 2011a; 2011b; 2011c and 2012) offers a novel interpretation of the idea that the mind is transparent to its possessor, and that one knows one’s own mind by looking out at the world. This paper argues that his (2011c and 2012) attempts to extend this picture of self-knowledge force him to sacrifice the theoretical parsimony he presents as the primary virtue of his account. The paper concludes by discussing two general problems transparency accounts of self-knowledge must address.
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  2. Derek Baker (2015). Akrasia and the Problem of the Unity of Reason. Ratio 28 (1):65-80.
    Joseph Raz and Sergio Tenenbaum argue that the Guise of the Good thesis explains both the possibility of practical reason and its unity with theoretical reason, something Humean psychological theories may be unable to do. This paper will argue, however, that Raz and Tenenbaum face a dilemma: either the version of the Guise of the Good they offer is too strong to allow for weakness of will, or it will lose its theoretical advantage in preserving the unity of reason.
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  3. Derek Baker (2015). Deliberators Must Be Imperfect. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (3).
    This paper argues that, with certain provisos, predicting one's future actions is incompatible with rationally deliberating about whether to perform those actions. It follows that fully rational omniscient agents are impossible, since an omniscient being could never rationally deliberate about what to do . Consequently, theories that explain practical reasons in terms of the choices of a perfectly rational omniscient agent must fail. The paper considers several ways of defending the possibility of an omniscient agent, and concludes that while some (...)
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  4. Derek Baker & Jack Woods (2015). How Expressivists Can and Should Explain Inconsistency. Ethics 125 (2):391-424.
    Mark Schroeder has argued that all reasonable forms of inconsistency of attitude consist of having the same attitude type towards a pair of inconsistent contents (A-type inconsistency). We suggest that he is mistaken in this, offering a number of intuitive examples of pairs of distinct attitudes types with consistent contents which are intuitively inconsistent (B-type inconsistency). We further argue that, despite the virtues of Schroeder's elegant A-type expressivist semantics, B-type inconsistency is in many ways the more natural choice in developing (...)
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  5. Derek Baker (2014). The Abductive Case for Humeanism Over Quasi-Perceptual Theories of Desire. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 8 (2):1-29.
    A number of philosophers have offered quasi-perceptual theories of desire, according to which to desire something is roughly to “see” it as having value or providing reasons. These are offered as alternatives to the more traditional Humean Theory of Motivation, which denies that desires have a representational aspect. This paper examines the various considerations offered by advocates to motivate quasi-perceptualism. It argues that Humeanism is in fact able to explain the same data that the quasi-perceptualist can explain, and in one (...)
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  6. Derek Baker (2012). Knowing Yourself—And Giving Up On Your Own Agency In The Process. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (4):641 - 656.
    Are there cases in which agents ought to give up on satisfying an obligation, so that they can avoid a temptation which will lead them to freely commit an even more significant wrong? Actualists say yes. Possibilists say no. Both positions have absurd consequences. This paper argues that common-sense morality is committed to an inconsistent triad of principles. This inconsistency becomes acute when we consider the cases that motivate the possibilism?actualism debate. Thus, the absurd consequences of both solutions are unsurprising: (...)
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  7. Derek Baker (2010). Ambivalent Desires and the Problem with Reduction. Philosophical Studies 150 (1):37-47.
    Ambivalence is most naturally characterized as a case of conflicting desires. In most cases, an agent’s intrinsic desires conflict contingently: there is some possible world in which both desires would be satisfied. This paper argues, though, that there are cases in which intrinsic desires necessarily conflict—i.e., the desires are not jointly satisfiable in any possible world. Desiring a challenge for its own sake is a paradigm case of such a desire. Ambivalence of this sort in an agent’s desires creates special (...)
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