The Explanatory Problem for Cognitivism about Practical Reason

In Conor McHugh, Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting (eds.), Normativity: Epistemic and Practical. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press (2018)
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Abstract

Cognitivists about practical reason hold that we can explain why certain wide-scope requirements of practical rationality are true by appealing to certain epistemic requirements. Extant discussions of cognitivism focus solely on two claims. The first is the claim that intentions involve beliefs. The second is that whenever your intentions are incoherent in certain ways, you will be epistemically irrational. Even if the cognitivist successfully defends these claims, she still needs to show that they entail certain practical requirements. That is, she has to show that the epistemic requirements explain the practical requirements. In this paper I argue that it is not plausible that the epistemic requirements explain the practical requirements. This shows that the cognitivists' project will fail even if we grant their controversial views about the relationship between the practical and epistemic.

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Errol Lord
University of Pennsylvania

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Instrumental Rationality.John Brunero & Niko Kolodny - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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