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Profile: Joe Mintoff (University of Newcastle (Australia))
  1. Joe Mintoff (2014). LeBar , Mark . The Value of Living Well . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Pp. 356. $74.00 (Cloth). Ethics 124 (3):636-641.
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  2. Joe Mintoff (2013). On the Quantitative Doctrine of the Mean. Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):445-464.
    Aristotle's doctrine of the mean is expressed in quantitative terms, but this has been hard for some people to take literally, its more elaborate versions sometimes being described as “extremely silly.” Roughly two books of the Nicomachean Ethics are permeated with talk of character traits which are either deficient or excessive, however, and the aim of this paper is to examine how the doctrine might meet the objections of its critics.
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  3. Joe Mintoff (2013). Recasting Analytic Philosophy on the Problem of Evil. Sophia 52 (1):51-54.
    In his recent book, A Frightening Love: Recasting the Problem of Evil, Andrew Gleeson challenges a certain conception of justification assumed in mainstream analytic philosophy and argues that analytic philosophy is ill-suited to deal with the most pressing, existential, form of the problem of evil. In this article I examine some aspects of that challenge.
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  4. Joe Mintoff (2009). In Defense of the Ideal of a Life Plan. Southern Journal of Philosophy 47 (2):159-186.
    Aristotle claims at Eudemian Ethics 1.2 that everyone who can live according to his own choice should adopt some goal for the good life, which he will keep in view in all his actions, for not to have done so is a sign of folly. This is an opinion shared by other ancients as well as some moderns. Others believe, however, that this view is false to the human condition, and provide a number of objections: (1) you can’t plan love; (...)
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  5. Joe Mintoff (2008). Transcending Absurdity. Ratio 21 (1):64–84.
    Many of us experience the activities which fill our everyday lives as meaningful, and to do so we must (and do) hold them to be important. However, reflection undercuts this confidence: our activities are aimed at ends which are arbitrary, in that we have reason to regard our taking them so seriously as lacking justification; they are comparatively insignificant; and they leave little of any real permanence. Even though we take our activities seriously, and our everyday lives to be important, (...)
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  6. Joe Mintoff (2007). Minimally Constrained Maximisation. In Bruno Verbeek (ed.), Reasons and Intentions. Ashgate Pub. Ltd..
    This chapter argues that, under certain conditions, forming an intention makes an action rational which would otherwise not have been rational, since intentions (together with beliefs) in and of themselves provide deductive reasons for further intentions and actions, an argument which builds on previous work by R M Hare, Michael Bratman and others, It also provides an articulation and defense of the concept of "minimally constrained maximization" as a unified general solution to the well-known paradoxes of rationality, including the paradox (...)
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  7. Joe Mintoff (2006). Could an Egoist Be a Friend? American Philosophical Quarterly 43 (2):101 - 118.
    Being a friend makes our lives better, but it seems this consideration cannot guide our pursuit of friendship, lest this mean we are not true friends and that our lives are not made better. The aim of this paper is to show how, appearances notwithstanding, being a true friend is consistent with having one's own happiness as one's ultimate end. Aristotle's idea that friends are other selves, and recent accounts of practical reason, show how (i) one's acting as a friend (...)
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  8. Joe Mintoff (2004). Is an Agreement an Exchange of Intentions? Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 85 (1):44–67.
    Margaret Gilbert has argued that an agreement is not exchange of promises, since no such exchange plays all the roles she claims are distinctive of agreements. After briefly discussing the notion of intention and the principles governing intentions, I argue that a certain type of exchange of intentions — in which one person forms a conditional intention to act if the other does, and the other forms an unconditional intention to act on the presumption that the first will do what (...)
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  9. Joe Mintoff (2004). Rule Worship and the Stability of Intention. Philosophia 31 (3-4):401-426.
    David Gauthier and Edward McClennen have claimed that it could be rational to form an intention to A because it maximizes utility to intend to A, and that acting on such an intention could be rational even if it maximizes utility not to A. Michael Bratman has objected to this way of thinking, claiming that it is equivalent to the familiar rule-utilitarian mistake of rule-worship. The purpose of this paper is to argue that, so long as one is aware at (...)
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  10. Joe Mintoff (2004). Tabensky on The Unity of Life and the Skill of Living. South African Journal of Philosophy 23 (4):353-364.
    This paper examines Pedro Tabensky's claims that rational human life has a single unifying purpose, and that there is an analogy between the skill of living and that of painting. It examines his arguments for the first claim, in particular the relation between ratio nality and different ways in which a life might be unified. For, in addition to the narrative or artistic unification which Tabensky favours, there is also (for example) the possibility of unifying one's life through the adoption (...)
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  11. Joe Mintoff (2002). How Can Intentions Make Actions Rational? Canadian Journal of Philosophy 32 (3):331 - 354.
    Rational agents, it seems, are capable of adopting intentions which make actions rational, which they would otherwise have reason not to do. This paper considers, and rejects, two explanations of this: Constraint Accounts, claiming that adopting such intentions renders one unable to act or to will otherwise; and Indirection accounts, claiming that doing so makes the intended action preferred to its alternatives. I argue that some such explanations are inconsistent with the claim intentions are conduct-controlling pro-attitudes, and others with the (...)
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  12. Joe Mintoff (2001). Buridan's Ass and Reducible Intentions. Journal of Philosophical Research 26:207-221.
    Unlike Buridan’s ass, most of us have the capacity to deal with situations in which there is more than one maximally preferable option. According to supporters of a prominent conception of intention, making a decision in this type of case involves coming to prefer, or judge preferable, one of the relevant options over the other. The purpose of this paper is to argue that accounts that reduce intentions to preferences or preferability judgments cannot explain how it is possible to rationally (...)
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  13. Joe Mintoff (2000). Is Rational and Voluntary Constraint Possible? Dialogue 39 (02):339-.
    Duncan MacIntosh has argued that David Gauthier's notion of a constrained maximization disposition faces a dilemma. For if such a disposition is revocable, it is no longer rational come the time to act on it, and so acting on it is not (as Gauthier argues) rational; but if it is not revocable, acting on it is not voluntary. This paper is a response to MacIntosh's dilemma. I introduce an account of rational intention of a type which has become increasingly and (...)
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  14. Joe Mintoff (1999). Are Decisions Motive-Perpetuating? Analysis 59 (4):266–275.
    How should we understand the relation between decision-making and motivation? Thomas Pink has recently argued (Pink 1996) that decisions perpetuate pre-existing motives, and that whatever motivated the formation of a decision should, after that decision is taken, also motivate the action. In this article I argue that this view has certain problems, and that these problems can be solved if we assume instead that decisions are motive-generating.
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  15. Joe Mintoff (1999). Decision-Making and the Backward Induction Argument. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 80 (1):64–77.
    The traditional form of the backward induction argument, which concludes that two initially rational agents would always defect, relies on the assumption that they believe they will be rational in later rounds. Philip Pettit and Robert Sugden have argued, however, that this assumption is unjustified. The purpose of this paper is to reconstruct the argument without using this assumption. The formulation offered concludes that two initially rational agents would decide to always defect, and relies only on the weaker assumption that (...)
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  16. J. Mintoff (1998). Hume and Instrumental Reason. Journal of Value Inquiry 32 (4):519-538.
    Philosophical folklore has it that David Hume endorsed an instrumental conception of practical reason. He seems explicitly to support the key tenets of this view of reason, and also to share its key motivations. Yet Hume himself provides arguments which rule out the possibility of any sort of practical reason, instrumental or non-instrumental. A first look at his arguments reveals that they depend on assumptions about the nature of reason that a modern instrumentalist may want to reject. A closer look, (...)
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  17. Joe Mintoff (1998). Defending Instrumental Reason. Southern Journal of Philosophy 36 (3):393-415.
    In a series of recent articles, Jean Hampton has argued that the widely accepted instrumental conception of reason is no more metaphysically benign than non-instrumental, typically moral, theories of reason. The purpose of this article is to provide the beginnings of a defence of instrumental conception of reason against Hampton's charges. In the first part, I take up her claim that instrumental norms rest on the same notion of normative authority as that employed by non-instrumental, or moral, theories. I argue (...)
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  18. Joe Mintoff (1997). Rational Cooperation, Intention, and Reconsideration. Ethics 107 (4):612-643.
    In their attempt to provide a reason to be moral, contractarians such as David Gauthier are concerned with situations allowing a group of agents the chance of mutual benefit, so long as at least some of them are prepared to constrain their maximising behaviour. But what justifies this constraint? Gauthier argues that it could be rational (because maximising) to intend to constrain one's behaviour, and in certain circumstances to act on this intention. The purpose of this paper is to examine (...)
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  19. Joe Mintoff (1997). Slote on Rational Dilemmas and Rational Supererogation. Erkenntnis 46 (1):111-126.
    The so-called optimising conception of rationality includes (amongst other things) the following two claims: (i) that it is irrational to choose an option if you know there is a better one, and (ii) there are no situations in which an agent, through no practical fault of her own, cannot avoid acting irrationally. As part of his ongoing attempt to explain why we need to go beyond the optimising conception, Michael Slote discusses a number of examples in which it seems that (...)
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  20. Joe Mintoff (1996). On a Problem for Contractarianism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (1):98 – 116.
    To show it is sometimes rational to cooperate in the Prisoner's Dilemma, David Gauthier has claimed that if it is rational to form an intention then it is sometimes rational act on it. However, the Paradox of Deterrence and the Toxin Puzzle seem to put this general type of claim into doubt. For even if it is rational to form a deterrent intention, it is not rational act on it (if it is not successful); and even if it is rational (...)
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  21. Joseph Mintoff (1996). Is the Self-Interest Theory Self-Defeating? Dialogue 35 (01):35-.
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  22. Joseph Mintoff (1996). The Limits of Hobbesian Contractarianism. Philosophical Books 37 (1):63-65.
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  23. Joe Mintoff (1993). Rational Cooperation, Irrational Retaliation. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 74 (4):362-380.
    David Gauthier has argued that, under certain conditions, cooperation in the Prisoner's Dilemma is rational. A crucial principle he employs in this argument, however, also implies the pointless retaliation after a failed threat could also be rational. In this paper, I introduce one possible reformulation of the Cooperation Argument, by replacing its second premise with a principle connecting rationally adopted intentions, rational action, and rational reconsideration, and a specific theory of rational reconsideration. I then argue that this reformulated Cooperation Argument (...)
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