The virtue of practical rationality

Sigrun Svavarsdottir
Tufts University
Practical rationality is best regarded as a virtue: an excellence in the exercise of one's cognitive capacities in one's practical endeavors. The author develops this idea so as to yield a Humean conception of practical rationality. Nevertheless, one of the crucial features of the approach is not distinctively Humean and sets it apart from the most familiar neo-Humean approaches: an agent's practical rationality has to do with the presence and form of his cognitive activity, as well as with how it engages his emotional and motivational states, rather than with the impact that his actions have on his utility or with how his actions relate to his expected utility. The approach also contrasts with full-information accounts of rationality. The paper ends with a discussion of our interest in operating with the conception of practical rationality that emerges from this approach, even if it is so demanding that it would be humanly impossible to be perfectly practically rational.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  Philosophy of Mind
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ISBN(s) 0031-8205
DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2008.00174.x
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