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Practical Reason

Edited by Sergio Tenenbaum (University of Toronto)
Assistant editor: Benjamin Elliott Wald (University of Toronto)
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  1. Günter Abel (2016). Rethinking Rationality: The Use of Signs and the Rationality of Interpretations. In José María Ariso & Astrid Wagner (eds.), Rationality Reconsidered: Ortega y Gasset and Wittgenstein on Knowledge, Belief, and Practice. De Gruyter. pp. 15-30.
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  2. Ron Aboodi (forthcoming). One Thought Too Few: Where De Dicto Moral Motivation is Necessary. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-15.
    De dicto moral motivation is typically characterized by the agent’s conceiving of her goal in thin normative terms such as to do what is right. I argue that lacking an effective de dicto moral motivation would put the agent in a bad position for responding in the morally-best manner in a certain type of situations. Two central features of the relevant type of situations are the appropriateness of the agent’s uncertainty concerning her underived moral values, and the practical, moral importance (...)
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  3. Robert M. Adams & James Joyce (forthcoming). Common Sense and Beyond. Animus.
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  4. David Ardagh (2012). Presuppositions of Collective Moral Agency. Philosophy of Management 11 (2):5-28.
    This is the second of three papers with the overall title: “A Quasi-Personal Alternative to Some Anglo-American Pluralist Models of Organisations: Towards an Analysis of Corporate Self-Governance for Virtuous Organisations”.1 In the first paper, entitled: “Organisations as quasi-personal entities: from ‘governing’ of the self to organisational ‘self ’-governance: a Neo-Aristotelian quasi-personal model of organisations”, the artificial corporate analogue of a natural person sketched there, was said to have quasi-directive, quasi-operational and quasi-enabling/resource-provision capacities. Its use of these capacities following joint deliberation (...)
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  5. Bradshaw Frederick Armendt (1983). Rational Decision Theory: The Foundations of Causal Decision Theory. Dissertation, University of Illinois at Chicago
    In recent years rational decision theories such as Richard Jeffrey's, which recommend that an agent act so as to maximize his conditional expected utility, have come under attack on the grounds that they are unable to adequately handle certain kinds of decision problems. Because of their general structure, these problems are sometimes known as "causal counterexamples" to the theories; well-known examples are Newcomb's problem, the Prisoner's Dilemma, and Fisher's smoking gene problem. Several versions of "causal decision theory" have been presented (...)
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  6. Michael Bacharach (1987). A Theory of Rational Decision in Games. Erkenntnis 27 (1):17 - 55.
  7. Stefano Bacin (forthcoming). Under the Guise of the Good: Kant and a Tenet of Moral Rationalism. In Violetta Waibel & Margit Ruffing (eds.), Natur und Freiheit: Akten des XII. Internationalen Kant-Kongresses. de Gruyter.
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  8. Andrew Bacon (2011). A Paradox for Supertask Decision Makers. Philosophical Studies 153 (2):307.
    I consider two puzzles in which an agent undergoes a sequence of decision problems. In both cases it is possible to respond rationally to any given problem yet it is impossible to respond rationally to every problem in the sequence, even though the choices are independent. In particular, although it might be a requirement of rationality that one must respond in a certain way at each point in the sequence, it seems it cannot be a requirement to respond as such (...)
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  9. Carla Bagnoli (2016). Vulnerability and the Incompleteness of Practical Reason. In C. Strahele (ed.), Vulnerability, Autonomy, and Applied Ethics. Rutledge. pp. 13-32.
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  10. Sorin Baiasu (forthcoming). Constitutivism and Transcendental Practical Philosophy: How to Pull the Rabbit Out of the Hat. Philosophia:1-24.
    Constitutivism aims to justify substantial normative standards as constitutive of practical reason. In this way, it can defend the constructivist commitment to avoiding realism and anti-realism in normative disciplines. This metaphysical debate is the perspective from which the nature of the constitutivist justification is usually discussed. In this paper, I focus on a related, but distinct, debate. My concern will not be whether the substantial normative claims asserted by the constructivist have some elements, which are not constructed, but real, given (...)
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  11. Derek Baker (2016). Deliberators Must Be Imperfect. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (2):321-347.
    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 of (...)
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  12. Adam Bales, Daniel Cohen & Toby Handfield (2014). Decision Theory for Agents with Incomplete Preferences. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (3):453-70.
    Orthodox decision theory gives no advice to agents who hold two goods to be incommensurate in value because such agents will have incomplete preferences. According to standard treatments, rationality requires complete preferences, so such agents are irrational. Experience shows, however, that incomplete preferences are ubiquitous in ordinary life. In this paper, we aim to do two things: (1) show that there is a good case for revising decision theory so as to allow it to apply non-vacuously to agents with incomplete (...)
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  13. Barber (2007). Ethical Experience and the Motives for Practical Rationality. International Philosophical Quarterly 47 (4):425-441.
    John McDowell’s ethical writings interpret ethical experience as intentional, socially-conditioned, virtuous responsiveness to situations and develop a modest account of practical rationality. His work converges with investigations of ethical experience by recent Kant scholars and Emmanuel Levinas. The Kantian interpreters and Levinas locate the categorical demands of ethical experience in rational agents’ demands for respect, while McDowell finds it in noble adherence to the demands of virtuous living. For McDowell, moral-practical rational efforts to justify ethics cannot transcend one’s form of (...)
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  14. Federica Basaglia (2016). The Highest Good and the Notion of the Good as Object of Pure Practical Reason. In Thomas Höwing (ed.), The Highest Good in Kant’s Philosophy. De Gruyter. pp. 17-32.
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  15. Charles A. Baylis, Arthur Edward Murphy & A. I. Melden (1967). The Theory of Practical Reason. Philosophical Review 76 (4):511.
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  16. Robert W. Beard (1969). Nicholas Rescher, Ed., The Logic of Decision and Action. [REVIEW] Journal of Value Inquiry 3 (2):159.
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  17. Dave Beisecker (2015). Of Demands and Desires for Picon Punch: Commentary on Avery Archer’s “What is Direction of Fit?”. Southwest Philosophy Review 31 (2):75-80.
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  18. Jonathan Bennett (1970). Castañeda Hector-Neri. Imperative Reasonings. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 21 No. 1 , Pp. 21–49.Williams B. A. O.. Imperative Inference. I. Analysis , Vol. 23 Suppl. , Pp. 30–36.Geach P. T.. Imperative Inference. II. Analysis , Vol. 23 Suppl. , Pp. 37–42.Rescher Nicholas and Robison John. Can One Infer Commands From Commands? Analysis , Vol. 24 No. 5 , Pp. 176–179.Gombay André. Imperative Inference and Disjunction. Analysis , Vol. 25 No. 3 , Pp. 58–62.Åqvist Lennart. Choice-Offering and Alternative-Presenting Disjunctive Commands. Analysis , No. 5 , Pp. 182–184.Kenny A. J.. Practical Inference. Analysis , Vol. 26 No. 3 , Pp. 65–75.Geach P. T.. Dr. Kenny on Practical Inference. Analysis , Vol. 26 No. 3 , Pp. 76–79.Bar-Hillel Yehoshua. Imperative Inference. Analysis , Vol. 26 No. 3 , Pp. 79–82.Gombay André. What is Imperative Inference? Analysis , Vol. 27 No. 5 , Pp. 145–152.Hare R. M.. Some Alleged Differences Between Imperatives and Indicatives. Mind, N.S. Vol. 76 , P. [REVIEW] Journal of Symbolic Logic 35 (2):314-318.
  19. Nathan Berg (2014). The Consistency and Ecological Rationality Approaches to Normative Bounded Rationality. Journal of Economic Methodology 21 (4):375-395.
    This paper focuses on tacit versus explicit uses of plural performance metrics as a primary methodological characteristic. This characteristic usefully distinguishes two schools of normative analysis and their approaches to normative interpretations of bounded rationality. Both schools of thought make normative claims about bounded rationality by comparing the performance of decision procedures using more than one performance metric. The consistency school makes tacit reference to performance metrics outside its primary axiomatic framework, but lexicographically promotes internal axiomatic consistency as the primary, (...)
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  20. Lilian Bermejo-Luque (forthcoming). Giving Reasons Does Not Always Amount to Arguing. Topoi:1-10.
    Both because of the vagueness of the word ‘give’ when speaking about giving reasons, and because we lack an adequate definition of ‘reasons’, there is a harmful ambiguity in the expression ‘giving reasons’. Particularly, straightforwardly identifying argumentation with reasons giving would make of virtually any interplay a piece of argumentation. Besides, if we adopt the mainstream definition of reasons as “considerations that count in favour of doing or believing something”, then only good argumentation would count as argumentation. In this paper, (...)
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  21. Tilmann Betsch & Carsten Held (2012). Rational Decision Making: Balancing RUN and JUMP Modes of Analysis. Mind and Society 11 (1):69-80.
    Rationality in decision making is commonly assessed by comparing choice performance against normative standards. We argue that such a performance-centered approach blurs the distinction between rational choice and adaptive behavior. Instead, rational choice should be assessed with regard to the way individuals make analytic decisions. We suggest that analytic decisions can be made in two different modes in which control processes are directed at different levels. In a RUN mode, thought is directed at controlling the operation of a decision strategy. (...)
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  22. Matteo Bianchin (2015). Intentions and Intentionality. Philosophy and Public Issues – Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche:43-54.
    Michael Thompson recently advanced a “naïve action theory” as an alternative to the “sophisticated” accounts of action displayed by ordinary folk psychology. In what follows I defend the plausibility of intentional psychology and folk psychological explanations. I do this in two ways. First I question that naïve explanations are more naïve than the ones provided by folk psychology and suggest that the latter are phenomenologically prior to the former. Second, I focus on the role of intentionality in deliberation and action (...)
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  23. Simon Blackburn (1998). Ruling Passions: A Theory of Practical Reasoning. Oxford University Press UK.
    Simon Blackburn puts forward a compelling original philosophy of human motivation and morality. He maintains that we cannot get clear about ethics until we get clear about human nature. So these are the sorts of questions he addresses: Why do we behave as we do? Can we improve? Is our ethics at war with our passions, or is it an upshot of those passions? Blackburn seeks the answers in an exploration of guilt, shame, disgust, and other moral emotions; he draws (...)
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  24. Alexander C. Blomberg Stathopoulos, Acting and Understanding.
    This thesis concerns the question of what it is for a subject to act. It answers this question in three steps. The first step is taken by arguing that any satisfactory answer must build on the idea that an action is something predicable of the acting subject. The second step is taken by arguing in support of an answer which does build on this idea, and does so by introducing the idea that acting is doing something which is an exercise (...)
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  25. Oliver Board (2006). The Equivalence of Bayes and Causal Rationality in Games. Theory and Decision 61 (1):1-19.
    In a seminal paper, Aumann (1987, Econometrica 55, 1–18) showed how the choices of rational players could be analyzed in a unified state space framework. His innovation was to include the choices of the players in the description of the states, thus abolishing Savage’s (1954, The Foundations of Statistics. Wiley, New York) distinction between acts and consequences. But this simplification comes at a price: Aumann’s notion of Bayes rationality does not allow players to evaluate what would happen were they to (...)
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  26. Giacomo Bonanno (2008). A Syntactic Approach to Rationality in Games with Ordinal Payoffs. In Giacomo Bonanno, Wiebe van der Hoek & Michael Wooldridge (eds.), Logic and the Foundations of Game and Decision Theory. Amsterdam University Press.
    We consider strategic-form games with ordinal payoffs and provide a syntactic analysis of common belief/knowledge of rationality, which we define axiomatically. Two axioms are considered. The first says that a player is irrational if she chooses a particular strategy while believing that another strategy is better. We show that common belief of this weak notion of rationality characterizes the iterated deletion of pure strategies that are strictly dominated by pure strategies. The second axiom says that a player is irrational if (...)
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  27. Fabian Börchers (2014). Darwall on Action and the Idea of a Second-Personal Reason. Philosophical Topics 42 (1):243-270.
    In his seminal book, The Second-Person Standpoint, Stephen Darwall argues that second-personal reasons can only occur within the realm of practical reason. In order to demonstrate this, Darwall builds on David Velleman’s distinction between substantive and formal aims of thought and action. I show that this distinction shapes Darwall’s conception of the nature of the difference between third-personal and second-personal reasons in such a way that the difference is conceived of as substantive rather than formal. As a consequence, Darwall is (...)
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  28. David Botting (2017). The Virtuous Tortoise. Philosophical Investigations 40 (1):31-39.
    There is no philosophically interesting distinction to be made between inference-rules and premises. That there is such a distinction is often held to follow from the possibility of infinite regress illustrated by Carroll's story of Achilles and the tortoise. I will argue that this is wrong on three separate grounds. Consequently, Carroll's fable provides no motivation to abandon the traditional logical separation of arguments into their premises and conclusions. There is no proposition that must be taken to be a rule (...)
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  29. Darren Bradley (2013). Decision Theory, Philosophical Perspectives. In Hal Pashler (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Mind. Sage Publications.
    Decision theory is concerned with how agents should act when the consequences of their actions are uncertain. The central principle of contemporary decision theory is that the rational choice is the choice that maximizes subjective expected utility. This entry explains what this means, and discusses the philosophical motivations and consequences of the theory. The entry will consider some of the main problems and paradoxes that decision theory faces, and some of responses that can be given. Finally the entry will briefly (...)
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  30. David Braybrooke (1966). Government Action and Morality. [REVIEW] Journal of Philosophy 63 (12):363-367.
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  31. Thomas C. Brickhouse & Nicholas D. Smith (2012). Socratic Moral Psychology. Cambridge University Press.
    Socrates' moral psychology is widely thought to be 'intellectualist' in the sense that, for Socrates, every ethical failure to do what is best is exclusively the result of some cognitive failure to apprehend what is best. Until publication of this book, the view that, for Socrates, emotions and desires have no role to play in causing such failure went unchallenged. This book argues against the orthodox view of Socratic intellectualism and offers in its place a comprehensive alternative account that explains (...)
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  32. Thomas C. Brickhouse & Nicholas D. Smith (2010). Socratic Moral Psychology. Cambridge University Press.
    Socrates' moral psychology is widely thought to be 'intellectualist' in the sense that, for Socrates, every ethical failure to do what is best is exclusively the result of some cognitive failure to apprehend what is best. Until publication of this book, the view that, for Socrates, emotions and desires have no role to play in causing such failure went unchallenged. This book argues against the orthodox view of Socratic intellectualism and offers in its place a comprehensive alternative account that explains (...)
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  33. Svend Brinkmann (2010). The Ethical Subject: Accountability, Authorship, and Practical Reason. SATS 11 (1).
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  34. Stephen L. Brock (2015). Practical Truth and Its First Principles in the Theory of Grisez, Boyle, and Finnis. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 15 (2):303-329.
    This article offers an exposition and critical discussion of the account of the truth of practical reason in the natural-law theory of Germain Grisez, Joseph Boyle, and John Finnis. The exposition rests mainly on an article published by these authors in 1987. There they argue that “true” is said of theoretical and practical knowledge in radically diverse senses. They also distinguish, within practical knowledge, between two kinds of truth, practical and moral. This distinction is tied to their understanding of relations (...)
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  35. Aaron Bronfman (2015). Broome, John.Rationality Through Reasoning.Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013. Pp. 322. $99.95. Ethics 125 (4):1194-1199.
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  36. Aaron Bronfman (2015). Review: John Broome, Rationality Through Reasoning. [REVIEW] Ethics 125 (4):1194-1199.
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  37. Review by: Aaron Bronfman (2015). Review: John Broome, Rationality Through Reasoning. [REVIEW] Ethics 125 (4):1194-1199,.
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  38. John Broome (2013). Enkrasia. Organon F 20 (4):425-436.
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  39. D. A. Browne (1975). Can Desires Be Causes of Actions? Canadian Journal of Philosophy 5 (sup2):145-158.
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  40. Pascal Bruckner (2012). 3. I Love You: Weakness and Capture. In The Paradox of Love. Princeton University Press. pp. 57-76.
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  41. John Brunero (2015). Review: Mark Schroeder, Explaining the Reasons We Share: Explanation and Expression in Ethics. [REVIEW] Ethics 126 (1):238-244.
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  42. Review by: John Brunero (2015). Review: Mark Schroeder, Explaining the Reasons We Share: Explanation and Expression in Ethics. [REVIEW] Ethics 126 (1):238-244.
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  43. Theodora Bryan (1995). Subjectivity and Human Agency. Dissertation, Loyola University of Chicago
    In this dissertation I give a metaethical account of human agency by developing the notion of character and showing its relation to agency. I argue that subjectivity, defined in terms of character, is ineliminable with regard to moral deliberation and that human agency is essentially personal. Agency is personal, in that, agents act from the standpoint of their character--the standpoint of their internalized conception of value. ;I then delineate the problem this account of agency poses for certain types of objective (...)
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  44. Michael Bukoski (forthcoming). Self-Validation and Internalism in Velleman’s Constitutivism. Philosophical Studies:1-20.
    Metaethical constitutivists explain reasons or normativity in terms of what is constitutive of agency. In Velleman’s paradigmatic constitutivist theory, that is the aim of self-understanding. The best-known objection to constitutivism is Enoch’s shmagency objection: constitutivism cannot explain normativity because a constitutive aim of agency lacks normative significance unless one has reason to be an agent rather than a “shmagent”. In response, Velleman argues that the constitutive aim is self-validating. I argue that this claim is false. If the constitutive aim of (...)
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  45. Sarah Buss & Elijah Millgram (1999). Practical Induction. Philosophical Review 108 (4):571.
  46. Daniel G. Campos (2015). The Role of Diagrammatic Reasoning in Ethical Deliberation. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 51 (3):338-357.
    In the 1903 lecture “What Makes a Reasoning Sound?” Charles Peirce provides a detailed account of the process of ethical deliberation intended to shape right conduct. He does this in the context of arguing against the claim that there is no distinction between moral right and wrong. He considered the argument for this claim to be analogous to the argument for the claim that there is no distinction between good and bad reasoning.1 Though Peirce’s ultimate concern in the lecture is (...)
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  47. James Cargile (1984). Review of Rational Decision and Causality. [REVIEW] Journal of Philosophy 81 (3):163-168.
  48. Fabrizio Cariani, Marc Pauly & Josh Snyder (2008). Decision Framing in Judgment Aggregation. Synthese 163 (1):1 - 24.
    Judgment aggregation problems are language dependent in that they may be framed in different yet equivalent ways. We formalize this dependence via the notion of translation invariance, adopted from the philosophy of science, and we argue for the normative desirability of translation invariance. We characterize the class of translation invariant aggregation functions in the canonical judgment aggregation model, which requires collective judgments to be complete. Since there are reasonable translation invariant aggregation functions, our result can be viewed as a possibility (...)
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  49. Héctor-Neri Castañeda (1986). Practical Reason, Reasons for Doing and Intentional Action. Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 2 (1):69-96.
    To come to know what to do is to have a thought which itself consists of an awareness of its bringing about an action, or a rearrangement of one’s causal powers...The causal dimension of practical thinking is the coalescence of contemplation and the causation of that contemplation, and the contemplation of that causation.
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  50. Ruth Chang (2016). “Comparativism: The Ground of Rational Choice,” in Errol Lord and Barry McGuire, Eds., Weighing Reasons , 2016. In B. Maguire & E. Lord (eds.), Weighing Reasons. Oxford University Press. pp. 213-240.
    What, normatively speaking, are the grounds of rational choice? This paper defends ‘comparativism’, the view that a comparative fact grounds rational choice. It examines three of the most serious challenges to comparativism: 1) that sometimes what grounds rational choice is an exclusionary-type relation among alternatives; 2) that an absolute fact such as that it’s your duty or conforms to the Categorial Imperative grounds rational choice; and 3) that rational choice between incomparables is possible, and in particular, all that is needed (...)
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