The Importance of Being Rational

Dissertation, Princeton University (2013)
Authors
Errol Lord
University of Pennsylvania
Abstract
My dissertation is a systematic defense of the claim that what it is to be rational is to correctly respond to the reasons you possess. The dissertation is split into two parts, each consisting of three chapters. In Part I--Coherence, Possession, and Correctly Responding--I argue that my view has important advantages over popular views in metaethics that tie rationality to coherence (ch. 2), defend a novel view of what it is to possess a reason (ch. 3), and defend a novel view about what it is to act and hold attitudes for normative reasons (ch. 4). In Part II--Foundationalism, Deception, and The Importance of Being Rational--I argue that foundationalists about epistemic rationality should think that the foundational beliefs are held for sufficient reasons (ch. 5), argue that my view solves the New Evil Demon problem for externalism (and solves a related and underapprieciated problem) (ch. 6), and argue that my view can vindicate the thought that we ought to be rational (ch. 7).
Keywords rationality  normative reasons  basing relation  foundationalism  new evil demon problem
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