The Normative Power of Resolutions

The Monist (forthcoming)
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Abstract

This article argues that resolutions are reason-giving: when an agent resolves to φ, she incurs an additional normative reason to φ. Resolution-making is therefore a normative power: an ability we have to alter our normative circumstances through sheer acts of will. I argue that the reasons we incur from forming resolutions are importantly similar to the reasons we incur from making promises. My account explains why it can be rational for an agent to act on a past resolution even if temptation causes a shift in her preferences and even her judgment about what to do, and offers a response to a common objection to the normativity of resolutions known as the bootstrapping problem, on which if resolutions were reason-giving, they would problematically allow us to bootstrap any action into rationality simply by resolving to perform it.

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Angela Sun
Washington and Lee University

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References found in this work

Intention, plans, and practical reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Willing, Wanting, Waiting.Richard Holton - 2009 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
The Moral Magic of Consent: Heidi M. Hurd.Heidi M. Hurd - 1996 - Legal Theory 2 (2):121-146.
Are intentions reasons? And how should we cope with incommensurable values.John Broome - 2001 - In Christopher W. Morris & Arthur Ripstein (eds.), Practical Rationality and Preference: Essays for David Gauthier. Cambridge University Press. pp. 98--120.

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