The groundless normativity of instrumental rationality

Journal of Philosophy 98 (9):445-468 (2001)
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Abstract

Neo-Humean instrumentalist theories of reasons for acting have been presented with a dilemma: either they are normatively trivial and, hence, inadequate as a normative theory or they covertly commit themselves to a noninstrumentalist normative principle. The claimed result is that no purely instrumentalist theory of reasons for acting can be normatively adequate. This dilemma dissolves when we understand what question neo-Humean instrumentalists are addressing. The dilemma presupposes that neo-Humeans are attempting to address the question of how to act, 'simpliciter'. Instead, they are evaluating actions from the agent's normative perspective.

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Donald Hubin
Ohio State University

Citations of this work

Perfectionist Bads.Gwen Bradford - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (3):586-604.
Instrumental Rationality.John Brunero & Niko Kolodny - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Normative Force of Promising.Jack Woods - 2016 - Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics 6:77-101.
The verdictive organization of desire.Derek Baker - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (5):589-612.

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