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Profile: Kieran Setiya (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  1. Kieran Setiya, Anscombe on Practical Knowledge.
    Argues that, for Anscombe, ‘practical knowledge’ is only sometimes ‘the cause of what it understands.’ It is the formal cause when its object is ‘formally the description of an executed intention.’ Nor is such knowledge confined to the present progressive: we have practical knowledge of the future and the past.
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  2. Kieran Setiya, The Mid-Life Crisis.
    Argues that philosophy can solve the mid-life crisis, at least in one of its forms. This crisis turns on the exhaustibility or finitude of our ends; the solution is to shift one's focus to activities that infinite or inexhaustible. Topics include: John Stuart Mill's nervous breakdown; Aristotle on the finality of the highest good; and Schopenhauer on the futility of desire.
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  3. Kieran Setiya (forthcoming). Love and the Value of a Life. Philosophical Review.
    Argues that there is no-one it is irrational to love; that it is rational to act with partiality to those we love; and that the rationality of doing so is not conditional on love. It follows that Anscombe and Taurek are right: you are not required to save three instead of one, even when those you could save are perfect strangers.
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  4. Kieran Setiya (forthcoming). Wrong-Making Reasons. In Simon Kirchin (ed.), Reading Parfit: On What Matters. Routledge.
    Argues that there is a problem of redundancy for Kantian Contractualism in light of plausible claims about the reason-giving force of wrong-making facts.
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  5. Kieran Setiya (2014). Intention, Plans, and Ethical Rationalism. In Manuel Vargas & Gideon Yaffe (eds.), Rational and Social Agency: The Philosophy of Michael Bratman. Oxford University Press. 56-82.
    Argues from the planning theory of intention – as an account of means-end coherence – to a comprehensive form of ethical rationalism. Having raised objections to this result, the paper ends by sketching a way out.
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  6. Kieran Setiya (2014). What is a Reason to Act? Philosophical Studies 167 (2):221-235.
    Argues for a conception of reasons as premises of practical reasoning. This conception is applied to questions about ignorance, advice, enabling conditions, "ought," and evidence.
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  7. Kieran Setiya (2013). Causality in Action. Analysis 73 (3):501-512.
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  8. Kieran Setiya (2013). Epistemic Agency: Some Doubts. Philosophical Issues 23 (1):179-198.
    Argues for a deflationary account of epistemic agency. We believe things for reasons and our beliefs change over time, but there is no further sense in which we are active in judgement, inference, or belief.
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  9. Kieran Setiya (2013). Murdoch on the Sovereignty of Good. Philosophers' Imprint 13 (9).
    Argues for an interpretation of Iris Murdoch on which her account of moral reasons has Platonic roots, and on which she gives an ontological proof of the reality of the Good. This reading explains the structure of Sovereignty, how Murdoch's claims differ from a focus on "thick moral concepts," and how to find coherent arguments in her book.
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  10. Kieran Setiya (2012). Review of Justin Broackes, Ed., 'Iris Murdoch, Philosopher'. [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly 62 (249):878-881.
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  11. Kieran Setiya (2012). Internal Reasons. In Kieran Setiya & Hille Paakkunainen (eds.), Internal Reasons: Contemporary Readings. MIT Press.
    Argues that "internalism about reasons" owes its appeal to a function argument from the nature of agency. Internalism is thus revealed as a species of ethical rationalism. (This paper introduces a volume of recent work on internal and external reasons.).
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  12. Kieran Setiya (2012). Knowing How. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (3):285-307.
    Argues from the possibility of basic intentional action to a non-propositional theory of knowing how. The argument supports a broadly Anscombean conception of the will as a capacity for practical knowledge.
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  13. Kieran Setiya (2012). Knowing Right From Wrong. Oxford University Press.
    Can we have objective knowledge of right and wrong, of how we should live and what there is reason to do? Can it be anything but luck when our beliefs are true? Kieran Setiya confronts these questions in their most compelling and articulate forms, and argues that if there is objective ethical knowledge, human nature is its source.
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  14. Kieran Setiya (2012). Transparency and Inference. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (2pt2):263-268.
    Argues that doubts about the inference from 'p' to 'I believe that p' do not support reflective theories of self-knowledge over an inferential or rule-following view. (This note is a reply to Matthew Boyle, "Transparent Self-Knowledge," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume 85: 223-241.).
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  15. Kieran Setiya & Hille Paakkunainen (eds.) (2012). Internal Reasons: Contemporary Readings. MIT Press.
    A collection of the most important recent work on reasons for action and the question "Why be moral?".
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  16. Kieran Setiya (2011). Imagining Reality: Things Merely Are: Philosophy in the Poetry of Wallace Stevens by Simon Critchley (Routledge)£ 12.99/$24.99. [REVIEW] The Philosophers' Magazine 36:89.
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  17. Kieran Setiya (2011). Johnston , Mark . Saving God: Religion After Idolatry .Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009. Pp. 248. $24.95 (Cloth). Johnston , Mark . Surviving Death .Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 2010. Pp. 408. $35.00 (Cloth). [REVIEW] Ethics 121 (2):476-486.
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  18. Kieran Setiya (2011). Knowledge of Intention. In Anton Ford, Jennifer Hornsby & Frederick Stoutland (eds.), Essays on Anscombe's Intention. Harvard University Press. 170--197.
    Argues that it is not by inference from intention that I know what I am doing intentionally. Instead, the reverse is true: groundless knowledge of intention rests on the will as a capacity for non-perceptual, non-inferential knowledge of action. The argument adapts and clarifies considerations of "transparency" more familiar in connection with belief.
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  19. Kieran Setiya (2011). Review of Derek Parfit, 'On What Matters'. [REVIEW] Mind 120 (480):1281-1288.
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  20. Kieran Setiya (2011). Reasons and Causes. European Journal of Philosophy 19 (1):129-157.
    Argues for a causal-psychological account of acting for reasons. This view is distinguished from a more ambitious causal theory of action, clarified as far as possible, and motivated—against non-reductive, teleological, and behaviourist alternatives—on broadly metaphysical grounds.
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  21. Kieran Setiya (2011). Review of Mark Johnston, 'Saving God' and 'Surviving Death'. [REVIEW] Ethics 121 (2):476-486.
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  22. Kieran Setiya (2010). Does Moral Theory Corrupt Youth? Philosophical Topics 38 (1):205-222.
    Argues that the answer is yes. The epistemic assumptions of moral theory deprive us of resources needed to resist the challenge of moral disagreement, which its practice at the same time makes vivid. The paper ends by sketching a kind of epistemology that can respond to disagreement without skepticism: one in which the fundamental standards of justification for moral belief are biased toward the truth.
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  23. Kieran Setiya (2010). Sympathy for the Devil. In Sergio Tenenbaum (ed.), Desire, Practical Reason, and the Good. Oxford University Press. 82--110.
    Argues against "the guise of the good" as a claim about rational agency, conceding that it may hold true as a principle of human nature. Themes discussed along the way – extending the argument of "Reasons without Rationalism" (Princeton, 2007) – include: desires as appearances of the good, the intelligibility of vice, and the kind of essentialist claim that permits exceptions.
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  24. Henry S. Richardson, Cécile Fabre, Joshua Glasgow, Alison Hills, Kieran Setiya & Hallie Rose Liberto (2009). 10. Neil MacCormick, Practical Reason in Law and Morality Neil MacCormick, Practical Reason in Law and Morality (Pp. 192-196). In John Hawthorne (ed.), Ethics. Wiley Periodicals, Inc..
     
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  25. Kieran Setiya (2009). Intention. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Philosophical perplexity about intention begins with its appearance in three guises: intention for the future, as when I intend to complete this entry by the end of the month; the intention with which someone acts, as I am typing with the further intention of writing an introductory sentence; and intentional action, as in the fact that I am typing these words intentionally. As Elizabeth Anscombe wrote in a similar context, ‘it is implausible to say that the word is equivocal as (...)
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  26. Kieran Setiya (2009). Practical Knowledge Revisited. Ethics 120 (1):128-137.
    Argues that the view propounded in "Practical Knowledge" (Ethics 118: 388-409) survives objections made by Sarah Paul ("Intention, Belief, and Wishful Thinking," Ethics 119: 546-557). The response gives more explicit treatment to the nature and epistemology of knowing how.
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  27. Kieran Setiya (2009). Review of Adrian Haddock and Fiona Macpherson, Eds., 'Disjunctivism: Perception, Action, Knowledge'. [REVIEW] Mind 118:834-840.
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  28. Kieran Setiya (2009). Reply to Bratman and Smith. Analysis 69 (3):531-540.
  29. Kieran Setiya (2009). Summary of 'Reasons Without Rationalism'. [REVIEW] Analysis 69 (3):509-510.
  30. Kieran Setiya (2008). Believing at Will. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 32 (1):36-52.
    Argues that we cannot form beliefs at will without failure of attention or logical confusion. The explanation builds on Williams' argument in "Deciding to Believe," attempting to resolve some well-known difficulties. The paper ends with tentative doubts about the idea of judgement as intentional action.
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  31. Kieran Setiya (2008). Practical Knowledge. Ethics 118 (3):388-409.
    Argues that we know without observation or inference at least some of what we are doing intentionally and that this possibility must be explained in terms of knowledge-how. It is a consequence of the argument that knowing how to do something cannot be identified with knowledge of a proposition.
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  32. Kieran Setiya (2007). Cognitivism About Instrumental Reason. Ethics 117 (4):649-673.
    Argues for a "cognitivist" account of the instrumental principle, on which it is the application of theoretical reason to the beliefs that figure in our intentions. This doctrine is put to work in solving a puzzle about instrumental reason that plagues alternative views.
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  33. Kieran Setiya (2007). Review of Sergio Tenenbaum, 'Appearances of the Good'. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (5).
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  34. Kieran Setiya (2007). Reasons Without Rationalism. Princeton University Press.
    Modern philosophy has been vexed by the question "Why should I be moral?" and by doubts about the rational authority of moral virtue. In Reasons without Rationalism, Kieran Setiya shows that these doubts rest on a mistake.
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  35. Kieran Setiya (2006). Imagining Reality. The Philosophers' Magazine 36 (36):89-89.
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  36. Kieran Setiya (2005). Is Efficiency a Vice? American Philosophical Quarterly 42 (4):333 - 339.
    Argues against the form of instrumentalism on which being practically rational is being efficient in the pursuit of one's ends. The trait of means-end efficiency turns out to be a defect of character, and therefore cannot be identified with practical reason at its best.
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  37. Kieran Setiya (2005). Review of Gary Watson, 'Agency and Answerability'. [REVIEW] Mind 114 (455):786-791.
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  38. Kieran Setiya (2005). Review of Sarah Stroud and Christine Tappolet, Eds., 'Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality'. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 114 (1):131-135.
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  39. Kieran Setiya (2005). Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality. Philosophical Review 114 (1):131-135.
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  40. Kieran Setiya (2004). Against Internalism. Noûs 38 (2):266–298.
    Argues that practical irrationality is akin to moral culpability: it is defective practical thought which one could legitimately have been expected to avoid. It is thus a mistake to draw too tight a connection between failure to be moved by reasons and practical irrationality (as in a certain kind of "internalism"): one's failure may be genuine, but not culpable, and therefore not irrational.
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  41. Kieran Setiya (2004). Hume on Practical Reason. Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):365–389.
    Argues that Hume was a sceptic about practical reason only on a rationalist account of what it would have to be. (This version differs substantially from the published paper.).
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  42. Kieran Setiya (2004). Transcendental Idealism in the 'Aesthetic'. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (1):63–88.
    In the "Transcendental Aesthetic" of the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant offers an argument for transcendental idealism. This argument is one focus of the longstanding controversy between "one-world" and "two-world" interpretations of the distinction between things in themselves and things as they appear. I present an interpretation of the argument of the "Aesthetic" that supports a novel "one-world" interpretation. On this interpretation, Kant is concerned with the mind-dependence of spatial and temporal properties; and with the idea that space and time (...)
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  43. Kieran Setiya (2003). Explaining Action. Philosophical Review 112 (3):339-393.
    Argues that, in acting for a reason, one takes that reason to explain one's action, not to justify it: reasons for acting need not be seen "under the guise of the good". The argument turns on the need to explain the place of "practical knowledge" - knowing what one is doing - in intentional action. A revised and expanded version of this material appears in Part One of "Reasons without Rationalism" (Princeton, 2007).
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  44. Kieran Setiya (2002). Review of Michael Slote, 'Morals From Motives'. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 111 (4):616-618.
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  45. Kieran Setiya (2001). Review of Thomas L. Carson, 'Value and the Good Life'. [REVIEW] Mind 110 (440):1062-1065.
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  46. Kieran Setiya (1999). Parfit on Direct Self-Defeat. Philosophical Quarterly 50 (195):239-242.
    In the first part of Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit argues that common‐sense morality, or M, is self‐defeating, so that it must be rejected or revised. I defend M. We can rebut Parfit’s argument if we make an assumption about the moral importance of doing what is morally right. We need to assume that this end has sufficient weight in M.
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