Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (5):557-569 (2005)

Authors
John Brunero
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Abstract
Some philosophers have tried to establish a connection between the normativity of instrumental rationality and the paradox presented by Lewis Carroll in his 1895 paper “What the Tortoise Said to Achilles.” I here examine and argue against accounts of this connection presented by Peter Railton and James Dreier before presenting my own account and discussing its implications for instrumentalism (the view that all there is to practical rationality is instrumental rationality). In my view, the potential for a Carroll-style regress just shows us that since instrumental rationality involves a higher-order commitment to combine our willing an end with our taking the necessary means, it therefore cannot, on pain of regress, itself be added as a conjunct to one of the elements to be combined. This view does not support instrumentalism.
Keywords Philosophy   Ethics   Ontology   Political Philosophy
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-005-2050-0
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References found in this work BETA

Normative Requirements.John Broome - 1999 - Ratio 12 (4):398–419.
The Normativity of Instrumental Reason.Christine Korsgaard - 1997 - In Garrett Cullity & Berys Gaut (eds.), Ethics and Practical Reason. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
The Authority of Reason.Jean E. Hampton - 1998 - Cambridge University Press.
The Authority of Reason.Stephen Darwall - 2000 - Philosophical Review 109 (4):583.

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Citations of this work BETA

What Carroll’s Tortoise Actually Proves.Jan Willem Wieland - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (5):983-997.

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