On the Rationalist Solution to Gregory Kavka's Toxin Puzzle

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (2):267-289 (2009)
Abstract
Gregory Kavka's 'Toxin Puzzle' suggests that I cannot intend to perform a counter-preferential action A even if I have a strong self-interested reason to form this intention. The 'Rationalist Solution,' however, suggests that I can form this intention. For even though it is counter-preferential, A-ing is actually rational given that the intention behind it is rational. Two arguments are offered for this proposition that the rationality of the intention to A transfers to A-ing itself: the 'Self-Promise Argument' and David Gauthier's 'Rational Self-Interest Argument.' But both arguments – and therefore the Rationalist Solution – fail. The Self-Promise Argument fails because my intention to A does not constitute a promise to myself that I am obligated to honor. And Gauthier's Rational Self-Interest Argument fails to rule out the possibility of rational irrationality.
Keywords toxin puzzle  intention  action  Gauthier  course of action  rationality  rational irrationality  self-interest  self-promise  Kavka
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0114.2009.01340.x
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References found in this work BETA
Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Center for the Study of Language and Information.
Morals by Agreement.David P. Gauthier - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
The Wrong Kind of Reason.Pamela Hieronymi - 2005 - Journal of Philosophy 102 (9):437 - 457.
The Toxin Puzzle.Gregory S. Kavka - 1983 - Analysis 43 (1):33-36.

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The One or the Many.Jens David Ohlin - 2015 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 9 (2):285-299.

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