Rationality and the Human Good

In this essay I want to look at some questions concerning the relation between morality and rationality in the recommendations they make about the best way to live our lives and achieve our good. Specifically, I want to examine ways in which the virtue of practical rationality and the various moral virtues might be thought to part company, giving an agent conflicting directives regarding how best to live his life. In conducting this enquiry, I shall at some crucial points be presupposing something of an Aristotelian perspective, but only in the most general way. I In what follows, I shall distinguish reason, the faculty or power, from rationality, the excellence or virtue of that faculty. By practical reason I mean that part of reason that tells us what to do and how to live. By practical rationality I mean the excellence of that part of reason in virtue of which an agent is practically rational as opposed to irrational. By a neo-Humean conception of rationality I mean one that makes the goal of practical reason the maximal satisfaction of an agent's desires and preferences, suitably corrected for the effects of misinformation, wishful thinking, and the like. There are various versions of neo-Humean theory, and I shall not here be concerned with their specific differences. Their common essence lies in an appeal to a notion of basic desires or preferences, which are not subject to intrinsic criticism as irrational and are subject to extrinsic criticism only by ways in which their joint satisfaction may not be possible, and to a notion of derived desires or preferences, which are criticizable only instrumentally
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DOI 10.1017/s0265052500001412
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References found in this work BETA

The Foundations of Statistics.Leonard J. Savage - 1956 - Philosophy of Science 23 (2):166-166.
The Logic of Decision.Henry E. Kyberg - 1968 - Philosophical Review 77 (2):250.

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Citations of this work BETA

Internal Reasons.Kieran Setiya - 2012 - In Kieran Setiya & Hille Paakkunainen (eds.), Internal Reasons: Contemporary Readings. MIT Press.
Hume on Practical Reason.Kieran Setiya - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):365–389.
Ethics and the Nature of Action.Heine A. Holmen - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Oslo

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