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Internal and External Reasons

In Ross Harrison (ed.), Rational Action. Cambridge University Press. pp. 101-113 (1979)

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  1. Minding the Gap: Bernard Williams and David Hume on Living an Ethical Life.Sagar Paul - 2014 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 11 (4):615-638.
    Bernard Williams is frequently supposed to be an ethical Humean, due especially to his work on ‘internal’ reasons. In fact Williams’s work after his famous article ‘Internal and External Reasons’ constitutes a profound shift away from Hume’s ethical outlook. Whereas Hume offered a reconciling project whereby our ethical practices could be self-validating without reference to external justificatory foundations, Williams’s later work was increasingly skeptical of any such possibility. I conclude by suggesting reasons for thinking Williams was correct, a finding which (...)
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  • Constructivism, Intersubjectivity, Provability, and Triviality.Andrea Guardo - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (4):515-527.
    Sharon Street defines her constructivism about practical reasons as the view that whether something is a reason to do a certain thing for a given agent depends on that agent’s normative point of view. However, Street has also maintained that there is a judgment about practical reasons which is true relative to every possible normative point of view, namely constructivism itself. I show that the latter thesis is inconsistent with Street’s own constructivism about epistemic reasons and discuss some consequences of (...)
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  • Kant on Acting From Juridical Duty.Andre Santos Campos - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (4):498-514.
    ABSTRACTA much debated passage in the Metaphysics of Morals often leads commentators to believe that it is not possible to act from juridical duty. On the one hand, Kant says that all lawgiving inc...
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  • Transformative Choice, Practical Reasons and Trust.Rob Compaijen - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (2):275-292.
    In this article I reflect on the question of whether we can have reason to make transformative choices. In attempting to answer it, I do three things. First, I bring forward an internalist account of practical reasons which entails the idea that agents should deliberate to the best of their ability. Second, I discuss L.A. Paul’s views on transformative choice, arguing that, although they present a real problem, the problem is not as profound as she believes it is. Third, I (...)
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  • Epistemic Instrumentalism and the Too Few Reasons Objection.Charles Côté-Bouchard - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (3):337-355.
    According to epistemic instrumentalism, epistemic normativity arises from and depends on facts about our ends. On that view, a consideration C is an epistemic reason for a subject S to Φ only if Φ-ing would promote an end that S has. However, according to the Too Few Epistemic Reasons objection, this cannot be correct since there are cases in which, intuitively, C is an epistemic reason for S to Φ even though Φ-ing would not promote any of S’s ends. After (...)
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  • The Normative Source of Kantian Hypothetical Imperatives.Camillia Kong - 2012 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (5):661-690.
    Abstract This paper offers a critique of Christine Korsgaard?s interpretation of Kantian instrumental reason. Korsgaard understands Kantian hypothetical imperatives to share a common normative source with the categorical imperative ? namely self-legislating, human rational agency. However, her reading of Kantian hypothetical imperatives is problematic for three reasons. Firstly, Korsgaard?s agent-centred approach renders incoherent Kant?s analytic-synthetic division. Secondly, by minimising the dualistic framework of Kant?s practical philosophy the dialectical character of practical rationality is lost: norms of instrumental reasoning therefore become confused (...)
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  • Don’T Make a Fetish of Faults: A Vindication of Moral Luck.Stefan Riedener - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):693-711.
    Is it appropriate to blame people unequally if the only difference between them was a matter of luck? Suppose Alice would drive recklessly if she could, Belen drove recklessly but didn’t harm anyone, and Cleo drove recklessly and killed a child. Luck-advocates emphasize that in real life we do blame such agents very unequally. Luck-skeptics counter that people aren’t responsible for factors beyond their control, or beyond their quality of will. I’ll defend a somewhat reconciliatory view. I’ll concede to the (...)
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  • Is Williams an Internalist?Daria Jadreškić - 2012 - Rivista Italiana di Filosofia Analitica Junior 3 (2):10-21.
    Practical reasoning is a domain of concerns that deal with our most intimate views on what should be done, every day, in facing the world. Unlike theoretical reasoning which forms only beliefs, practical reasoning forms intensions and sets ground for actions. It deals mostly with the notion of reason, broadly understood as a term that acquires both rationality and motivation for our actions. Bernard Williams in “Internal and external reasons” introduced a strong and influential distinction, the distinction between internal and (...)
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  • Public Justification and the Reactive Attitudes.Anthony Taylor - 2018 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 17 (1):97-113.
    A distinctive position in contemporary political philosophy is occupied by those who defend the principle of public justification. This principle states that the moral or political rules that govern our common life must be in some sense justifiable to all reasonable citizens. In this article, I evaluate Gerald Gaus’s defence of this principle, which holds that it is presupposed by our moral reactive attitudes of resentment and indignation. He argues, echoing P.F. Strawson in ‘Freedom and Resentment’, that these attitudes are (...)
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  • Thick Ethical Concepts.Pekka Väyrynen - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    [First published 09/2016; substantive revision 02/2021.] Evaluative terms and concepts are often divided into “thin” and “thick”. We don’t evaluate actions and persons merely as good or bad, or right or wrong, but also as kind, courageous, tactful, selfish, boorish, and cruel. The latter evaluative concepts are "descriptively thick": their application somehow involves both evaluation and a substantial amount of non-evaluative description. This article surveys various attempts to answer four fundamental questions about thick terms and concepts. (1) A “combination question”: (...)
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  • Towards a Constructivist Eudaemonism.Robert Bass - 2004 - Dissertation, Bowling Green State University
    Eudaemonism is the common structure of the family of theories in which the central moral conception is eudaemonia , understood as "living well" or "having a good life." In its best form, the virtues are understood as constitutive and therefore essential means to achieving or having such a life. What I seek to do is to lay the groundwork for an approach to eudaemonism grounded in practical reason, and especially in instrumental reasoning, rather than in natural teleology. In the first (...)
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  • Skepticism About Ought Simpliciter.Derek Clayton Baker - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 13.
    There are many different oughts. There is a moral ought, a prudential ought, an epistemic ought, the legal ought, the ought of etiquette, and so on. These oughts can prescribe incompatible actions. What I morally ought to do may be different from what I self-interestedly ought to do. Philosophers have claimed that these conflicts are resolved by an authoritative ought, or by facts about what one ought to do simpliciter or all-things-considered. However, the only coherent notion of an ought simpliciter (...)
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  • Do Androids Dream of Normative Endorsement? On the Fallibility of Artificial Moral Agents.Frodo Podschwadek - 2017 - Artificial Intelligence and Law 25 (3):325-339.
    The more autonomous future artificial agents will become, the more important it seems to equip them with a capacity for moral reasoning and to make them autonomous moral agents. Some authors have even claimed that one of the aims of AI development should be to build morally praiseworthy agents. From the perspective of moral philosophy, praiseworthy moral agents, in any meaningful sense of the term, must be fully autonomous moral agents who endorse moral rules as action-guiding. They need to do (...)
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  • The Normativity of Rationality.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2017 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Kiesewetter defends the normativity of rationality by presenting a new solution to the problems that arise from the common assumption that we ought to be rational. He provides a defence of a reason-response conception of rationality, an evidence-relative account of reason, and an explanation of structural irrationality in relation to these accounts.
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  • The Guise of Reasons.Alex Gregory - 2013 - American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (1):63-72.
    In this paper it is argued that we should amend the traditional understanding of the view known as the guise of the good. The guise of the good is traditionally understood as the view that we only want to act in ways that we believe to be good in some way. But it is argued that a more plausible view is that we only want to act in ways that we believe we have normative reason to act in. This change (...)
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  • Ghazālī’s Transformative Answer to Skepticism.Reza Hadisi - forthcoming - Theoria.
    In this paper, I offer a reconstruction of Ghazālī’s encounter with skepticism in the Deliverance from Error. For Ghazālī, I argue, radical skepticism about the possibility of knowledge ensues from intellectualist assumptions about the nature of justification. On the reading that I will propose, Ghazālī holds that foundational knowledge can only be justified via actions that lead to transformative experiences.
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  • Misinformation, Subjectivism, and the Rational Criticizability of Desire.Jay Jian - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):845-866.
    Orthodox Humeans about normative reasons for action believe that there are no rational principles governing the substantive content of desire. But they also believe that desires with misinformed content should be rejected and cannot be the proper subjective sources of normative reasons for action. These two ideas, I argue, in fact stand in tension with each other: The Humean rejection of misinformed desire actually has to invoke a feasibility principle for desire, a semi-substantive rational principle that is already built into (...)
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  • XIV—What Are Sources of Motivation?Giles Pearson - 2015 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 115 (3pt3):255-276.
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Volume 115, Issue 3pt3, Page 255-276, December 2015.
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  • Moralidade positiva e moralidade crítica.Marcelo de Araujo - 2015 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 60 (1):148-166.
    Moral beliefs and attitudes may vary to great extent across different societies. Even within the same society, the prevailing moral beliefs and attitudes may vary throughout the history of this society. The moral beliefs and attitudes that prevail in a given society, at a given time, constitute the “positive morality” of this society. But can we morally assess the “positive morality”? In this paper I present reasons so as to give this question an affirmative answer. I argue that the moral (...)
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  • The Practical Origins of Ideas: Genealogy as Conceptual Reverse-Engineering (Open Access).Matthieu Queloz - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Why did such highly abstract ideas as truth, knowledge, or justice become so important to us? What was the point of coming to think in these terms? This book presents a philosophical method designed to answer such questions: the method of pragmatic genealogy. Pragmatic genealogies are partly fictional, partly historical narratives exploring what might have driven us to develop certain ideas in order to discover what these do for us. The book uncovers an under-appreciated tradition of pragmatic genealogy which cuts (...)
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  • The Epistemic Norm of Inference and Non-Epistemic Reasons for Belief.Patrick Bondy - 2019 - Synthese (2):1-21.
    There is an important disagreement in contemporary epistemology over the possibility of non-epistemic reasons for belief. Many epistemologists argue that non-epistemic reasons cannot be good or normative reasons for holding beliefs: non-epistemic reasons might be good reasons for a subject to bring herself to hold a belief, the argument goes, but they do not offer any normative support for the belief itself. Non-epistemic reasons, as they say, are just the wrong kind of reason for belief. Other epistemologists, however, argue that (...)
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  • The Nature of Desire.Federico Lauria & Julien Deonna (eds.) - 2017 - New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    Desires matter. What are desires? Many believe that desire is a motivational state: desiring is being disposed to act. This conception aligns with the functionalist approach to desire and the standard account of desire's role in explaining action. According to a second influential approach, however, desire is first and foremost an evaluation: desiring is representing something as good. After all, we seem to desire things under the guise of the good. Which understanding of desire is more accurate? Is the guise (...)
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  • Neutrality, Partiality, and Meaning in Life.Thaddeus Metz - 2017 - De Ethica 4 (3):7-25.
    Discussion of whether values and norms are neutral or not has mainly appeared in works on the nature of prudential rationality and morality. Little systematic has yet appeared in the up and coming field of the meaning of life. What are the respects in which the value of meaningfulness is neutral or, in contrast, partial, relational, or ‘biased’? In this article, I focus strictly on answering this question. First, I aim to identify the salient, and perhaps exhaustive, respects in which (...)
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  • Structural Injustice and the Emotions.Nicholas Smyth - forthcoming - Res Publica:1-16.
    A structural harm results from countless apparently innocuous interactions between a great many individuals in a social system, and not from any agent’s intentionally producing the harm. Iris Young has influentially articulated a model of individual moral responsibility for such harms, and several other philosophers have taken it as their starting point for dealing with the phenomenon of structural injustice. In this paper, I argue that this social connection model is far less realistic and socially effective than it aims to (...)
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  • Akrasia and Ordinary Weakness of Will.Lubomira V. Radoilska - 2012 - Tópicos: Revista de Filosofía 43:25-50.
    This article offers an account of akrasia as a primary failure of intentional agency in contrast to a recent account of weakness of will, developed by Richard Holton, that also points to a kind of failure of intentional agency but presents this as both separate from akrasia and more fundamental than it. Drawing on Aristotle’s work, it is argued that the failure of intentional agency articulated by the concept of akrasia is the central case, whereas the phenomenon Holton’s account is (...)
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  • Qual a motivação para se defender uma teoria causal da memória?César Schirmer Dos Santos - 2018 - In Juliano Santos do Carmo & Rogério F. Saucedo Corrêa (eds.), Linguagem e cognição. Pelotas: NEPFil. pp. 63-89.
    Este texto tem como objetivo apresentar a principal motivação filosófica para se defender uma teoria causal da memória, que é explicar como pode um evento que se deu no passado estar relacionado a uma experiência mnêmica que se dá no presente. Para tanto, iniciaremos apresentando a noção de memória de maneira informal e geral, para depois apresentar elementos mais detalhados. Finalizamos apresentando uma teoria causal da memória que se beneficia da noção de veritação (truthmaking).
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  • Hume on the Imagination.Fabian Dorsch - 2015 - Rero Doc Digital Library:1-28.
    This is the original, longer draft for my entry on Hume in the 'The Routledge Hand- book of Philosophy of Imagination', edited by Amy Kind and published by Routledge in 2016 (see the separate entry). — Please always cite the Routledge version, unless there are passages concerned that did not make it into the Handbook for reasons of length. — -/- This chapter overviews Hume’s thoughts on the nature and the role of imagining, with an almost exclusive focus on the (...)
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  • Reasons Internalism and the Problem of Depression.Andrew Spaid - 2021 - Utilitas 33 (1):1-16.
    This article looks at a version of the “too-few-reasons” problem for reasons internalism stemming from the existence of cases of clinical depression. People with clinical depression lack motivation to do things like go to work or seek treatment for their depression. Internalism appears committed to saying that such people lack reasons to do these things since internalism makes having reasons depend on having motivations. But, intuitively, depressed people do have reasons to do them. This article considers a number of possible (...)
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  • The Gamification of Political Participation.Wulf Loh - 2019 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 6 (2):261-280.
    Political participation lies at the heart of normative democratic theory. To foster participatory interactions between citizens, some advocates and designers are resorting to gamification as the use of psycho-motivational involvement strategies from games in non-game contexts. The hope is that through gamification mechanisms, citizens will be drawn more easily towards participation platforms, apps, and digital services, as well as remain there longer, thereby effectively enhancing participation numbers and time. In this article, I will explore the potential problems of these involvement (...)
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  • The Possibility of Practical Reason.J. David Velleman - 1996 - Ethics 106 (4):694-726.
  • Could Morality Have a Source?Chris Heathwood - 2012 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 6 (2):1-19.
    It is a common idea that morality, or moral truths, if there are any, must have some sort of source, or grounding. It has also been claimed that constructivist theories in metaethics have an advantage over realist theories in that the former but not the latter can provide such a grounding. This paper has two goals. First, it attempts to show that constructivism does not in fact provide a complete grounding for morality, and so is on a par with realism (...)
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  • What Happens When Someone Acts?J. David Velleman - 1992 - Mind 101 (403):461-481.
    What happens when someone acts? A familiar answer goes like this. There is something that the agent wants, and there is an action that he believes conducive to its attainment. His desire for the end, and his belief in the action as a means, justify taking the action, and they jointly cause an intention to take it, which in turn causes the corresponding movements of the agent's body. I think that the standard story is flawed in several respects. The flaw (...)
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  • Foundations for Moral Relativism.J. David Velleman - 2013 - OpenBook Publishers.
    In Foundations for Moral Relativism, J. David Velleman shows that different communities can indeed be subject to incompatible moralities, because their local mores are rationally binding. At the same time, he explains why the mores of different communities, even when incompatible, are still variations on the same moral themes. The book thus maps out a universe of many moral worlds without, as Velleman puts it, "moral black holes”. The five self-standing chapters discuss such diverse topics as online avatars and virtual (...)
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  • Aiming to Practice Freedom : A Constitutivist Approach to Foucault’s Ethics.M. A. Moore - 2021 - Dissertation, University of Essex
    In a 1984 interview, Michel Foucault introduced a distinction between two forms of freedom: freedom as the ontological condition of ethics, and ethics as the “practice of freedom” informed by reflection. This text suggests that a good understanding of Foucault’s thoughts on freedom would require accounts of both ontological freedom and practices of freedom, but the secondary literature currently suffers from a shortage of work on these topics. This thesis attempts to fill this gap in the literature by offering a (...)
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  • IX-On Being Bored Out of Your Mind.Elijah Millgram - 2004 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 104 (1):165-186.
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  • Why Be Rational.Niko Kolodny - 2005 - Mind 114 (455):509-563.
    Normativity involves two kinds of relation. On the one hand, there is the relation of being a reason for. This is a relation between a fact and an attitude. On the other hand, there are relations specified by requirements of rationality. These are relations among a person's attitudes, viewed in abstraction from the reasons for them. I ask how the normativity of rationality—the sense in which we ‘ought’ to comply with requirements of rationality—is related to the normativity of reasons—the sense (...)
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  • Instrumental Rationality.Ralph Wedgwood - 2011 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 6:280-309.
    Is there any distinctive aspect of rationality that deserves the label of “instrumental rationality”? Recently, Joseph Raz (2005) has argued that instrumental rationality is a “myth”. In this essay, I shall give some qualified support to Raz’s position: as I shall argue, many philosophers have indeed been seduced by certain myths about instrumental rationality. Nonetheless, Raz’s conclusion is too strong. Instrumental rationality is not itself a myth: there really is a distinctive aspect of rationality that deserves the label of “instrumental (...)
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  • The Authority of Formality.Jack Woods - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 13.
    Etiquette and other merely formal normative standards like legality, honor, and rules of games are taken less seriously than they should be. While these standards are not intrinsically reason-providing in the way morality is often taken to be, they also play an important role in our practical lives: we collectively treat them as important for assessing the behavior of ourselves and others and as licensing particular forms of sanction for violations. This chapter develops a novel account of the normativity of (...)
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  • Desire-Based Theories of Reasons, Pleasure and Welfare.Chris Heathwood - 2011 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 6:79-106.
    One of the most important disputes in the foundations of ethics concerns the source of practical reasons. On the desire-based view, only one’s desires provide one with reasons to act. On the value-based view, reasons are instead provided by the objective evaluative facts, and never by our desires. Similarly, there are desire-based and non-desired-based theories about two other phenomena: pleasure and welfare. It has been argued, and is natural to think, that holding a desire-based theory about either pleasure or welfare (...)
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  • Desire That Amounts to Knowledge.Allan Hazlett - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (1):56-73.
    I argue that desire sometimes amounts to knowledge, in the same sense that belief sometimes amounts to knowledge. The argument rests on two assumptions: that goodness is the correctness condition for desire and that knowledge is apt mental representation. Desire that amounts to knowledge—or ‘conative knowledge’—is illustrated by cases in which someone knows the goodness of something despite not believing that it is good.
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  • The Error in the Error Theory.Stephen Finlay - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (3):347-369.
    Moral error theory of the kind defended by J. L. Mackie and Richard Joyce is premised on two claims: (1) that moral judgements essentially presuppose that moral value has absolute authority, and (2) that this presupposition is false, because nothing has absolute authority. This paper accepts (2) but rejects (1). It is argued first that (1) is not the best explanation of the evidence from moral practice, and second that even if it were, the error theory would still be mistaken, (...)
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  • Epistemic Rationality as Instrumental Rationality: A Critique.Thomas Kelly - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (3):612–640.
    In this paper, I explore the relationship between epistemic rationality and instrumental rationality, and I attempt to delineate their respective roles in typical instances of theoretical reasoning. My primary concern is with the instrumentalist conception of epistemic rationality: the view that epistemic rationality is simply a species of instrumental rationality, viz. instrumental rationality in the service of one's cognitive or epistemic goals. After sketching the relevance of the instrumentalist conception to debates over naturalism and 'the ethics of belief', I argue (...)
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  • Reasons, Evidence, and Explanations.John Brunero - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 321-341.
  • Reasons for Belief and Normativity.Glüer-Pagin Kathrin & Wikforss Åsa - 2017 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford University Press.
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  • Introduction.Daniel Star - forthcoming - In The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Reasons and Rationality.Jonathan Way - forthcoming - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford University Press.
    This article gives an overview of some recent debates about the relationship between reasons and rational requirements of coherence - e.g. the requirements to be consistent in our beliefs and intentions, and to intend what we take to be the necessary means to our ends.
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  • Motivational Internalism and Externalism.G. F. Schueler - 2010 - In Timothy O. Connor & Constantine Sandis (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Action. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 293-300.
  • Might Desires Be Beliefs About Normative Reasons?Alex Gregory - 2017 - In Julien Deonna & Federico Lauria (eds.), The Nature of Desire. Oxford University Press. pp. 201-217.
    This paper examines the view that desires are beliefs about normative reasons for action. It describes the view, and briefly sketches three arguments for it. But the focus of the paper is defending the view from objections. The paper argues that the view is consistent with the distinction between the direction of fit of beliefs and desires, that it is consistent with the existence of appetites such as hunger, that it can account for counterexamples that aim to show that beliefs (...)
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  • Procedural and Substantive Practical Rationality.Brad Hooker & Bart Steumer - 2003 - In Piers Rawling & Alfred R. Mele (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Rationality. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 57--74.
    This chapter surveys the debate between philosophers who claim that all practical rationality is procedural and philosophers who claim that some practical rationality is substantive.
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  • Subjective Moral Biases & Fallacies: Developing Scientifically & Practically Adequate Moral Analogues of Cognitive Heuristics & Biases.Mark H. Herman - 2019 - Dissertation, Bowling Green State University
    In this dissertation, I construct scientifically and practically adequate moral analogs of cognitive heuristics and biases. Cognitive heuristics are reasoning “shortcuts” that are efficient but flawed. Such flaws yield systematic judgment errors—i.e., cognitive biases. For example, the availability heuristic infers an event’s probability by seeing how easy it is to recall similar events. Since dramatic events, such as airplane crashes, are disproportionately easy to recall, this heuristic explains systematic overestimations of their probability (availability bias). The research program on cognitive heuristics (...)
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