On three alleged theories of rational behavior

Utilitas 21 (4):506-520 (2009)
Abstract
What behavior is rational? It’s rational to act ethically, some think. Others endorse instrumentalism — it is rational to pursue one’s goals. Still others say that acting rationally always involves promoting one’s self-interest. Many philosophers have given each of these answers. But these answers don’t really conflict; they aren’t vying to describe some shared concept or to solve some mutually acknowledged problem. In so far as this is debated, it is a pseudo-debate. The different uses of ‘rational action’ differ merely in meaning. I shall defend the following claims: ‘rational behavior’ is used in ethical, prudential, and instrumental ways (section 1); these uses of ‘rational behavior’ are distinct (section 2); they do not represent competing theories of rational behavior (section 3); we should stop using ‘rational behavior’ ethically and prudentially, but we may continue its instrumental use (section 4).
Keywords Rationality  Rational action  Derek Parfit  Allan Gibbard  Rational choice theory  Rational behavior  Pseudo-debate
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0953820809990252
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,224
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Teleological Explanation: A Species of Causal Explanation.D. Lynn Holt - 1988 - Philosophical Psychology 1 (3):313-325.
Rational Choice Theory's Mysterious Rivals.Dennis Chong - 1995 - Critical Review 9 (1-2):37-57.
Clap Happy: Applause and the Voting Paradox.Steven Pressman - 2006 - Journal of Economic Methodology 13 (2):241-256.
Why Exactly is Commitment Important for Rationality?S. E. N. Amartya - 2005 - Economics and Philosophy 21 (1):5-14.
Beyond Rational Insanity.Hung-Yul So - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 1:221-227.
The Concept of Rational Suicide.David J. Mayo - 1986 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 11 (2):143-155.
Battering RAMs.Michael Taylor - 1995 - Critical Review 9 (1-2):223-234.
What Rational Choice Explains.Robert E. Lane - 1995 - Critical Review 9 (1-2):107-126.
Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total downloads
114 ( #44,553 of 2,191,972 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #289,023 of 2,191,972 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature