Normativity, Commitment, and Instrumental Reason

Philosophers' Imprint 1 (2001)
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Abstract

This paper addresses some connections between conceptions of the will and the theory of practical reason. The first two sections argue against the idea that volitional commitments should be understood along the lines of endorsement of normative principles. A normative account of volition cannot make sense of akrasia, and it obscures an important difference between belief and intention. Sections three and four draw on the non-normative conception of the will in an account of instrumental rationality. The central problem is to explain the grip of instrumental requirements even in cases in which agents do not fully endorse the ends they are pursuing. The solution I propose appeals to coherence constraints on the beliefs that condition the distinctive volitional stance of intention.

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R. Jay Wallace
University of California, Berkeley

Citations of this work

The Conflict of Evidence and Coherence.Alex Worsnip - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (1):3-44.
Means-end coherence, stringency, and subjective reasons.Mark Schroeder - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 143 (2):223 - 248.
The scope of instrumental reason.Mark Schroeder - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):337–364.
Structural Rationality and the Property of Coherence.Marc-Kevin Daoust - 2023 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 104 (1):170-194.

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