Why do humans reason? Many animals draw inferences, but reasoning—the tendency to produce and respond to reason-giving performances—is biologically unusual, and demands evolutionary explanation. Mercier and Sperber advance our understanding of reason’s adaptive function with their argumentative theory of reason. On this account, the “function of reason is argumentative… to devise and evaluate arguments intended to persuade.” ATR, they argue, helps to explain several well-known cognitive biases. In this paper, I develop a neighboring hypothesis called the intention alignment model (...) and contrast it with ATR. I conjecture that reasoning evolved primarily because it helped social hominins more readily and fully align their intentions. We use reasons to advance various proximal ends, but in the main, we do it to overwrite the beliefs and desires of others: to get others to think like us. Reason afforded our ancestors a powerful way to build and maintain the shared outlooks necessary for a highly collaborative existence. Yes, we sometimes argue so as to gain argumentative advantage over others, or otherwise advantage ourselves at the expense of those we argue with, but more often, we reason in ways that are mutually advantageous. In fact, there are excellent reasons for thinking this must be so. IAM, I suggest, neatly explains the available evidence, while also providing a more coherent account of reason’s origins. (shrink)
Theories of practical rationality say when it is rational to form and fulfill intentions to do actions. David Gauthier says the correct theory would be the one our obeying would best advance the aim of rationality, something Humeans take to be the satisfaction of one’s desires. I use this test to evaluate the received theory and Gauthier’s 1984 and 1994 theories. I find problems with the theories and then offer a theory superior by Gauthier’s test and immune to (...) the problems. On this theory, it is rational to treat something different as the aim when doing so would advance the original aim. I argue that the idea that this would be irrational bad faith entails contradictions and so is false, as must be theories saying that rationally we must always treat as the aim the bringing about of objectively good states of affairs or obeying a universalizable moral code. (Note: the published version differs somewhat from the version on the website of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law; please quote from the published version.). (shrink)
In this article, I first elaborate and refine the Principle of Intention Agglomeration (PIA), which was introduced by Michael Bratman as “a natural constraint on intention”. According to the PIA, the intentions of a rational agent should be agglomerative. The proposed refinement of the PIA is not only in accordance with the spirit of Bratman’s planning theory of intention as well as consistency constraints for intentions rooted in the theory, but also reveals some deep rationales of practical (...)rationality regarding resource-limited agents. Then I defend the PIA against various objections and counterexamples, showing that the refined PIA survives attacks based on both conceptual analyses and psychological considerations. (shrink)
In this paper, I discuss whether there are genuinely *diachronic* constraints of practical rationality, that is, pressures on combinations of practical attitudes over time, which are not reducible to mere synchronic rational pressures. Michael Bratman has recently argued that there is at least one such diachronic rational constraint that governs the stability of intentions over time. *Pace* Bratman, I argue that there are no genuinely diachronic constraints on intentions that meet the stringent desiderata set by him. But I show (...) that there are at least two synchronic rational constraints with distinctive and important, although only indirect, diachronic dimensions. Neither of them, however, supports the practical conservatism in the face of normative underdetermination that, according to Bratman, is part and parcel of the diachronic rationality of intention stability. (shrink)
Suppose that you do not do what you have previously decided to do. Are you to be charged with irrationality? A number of otherwise divergent theories of practical rationality hold that by default, you are; there are rational pressures, it is claimed, that favor the long-term stability and eventual execution of distal intentions. The article challenges this view by examining how these purported pressures can be spelled out. Is intention a normative commitment to act? Are intentions reasons for (...) action – or at least for retaining one's intention until the time to act has come? Or is the rationality of ‘doing as you decide’ governed by diachronic wide-scope norms, as Michael Bratman and John Broome suggest? All of these approaches are shown to raise severe problems, which suggests a more modest view: diachronic pressures on intending are at each point in time confined to the very next instant. (shrink)
I sketch my general model of the roles of intentions in the planning of agents like us-agents with substantial resource limitations and with important needs for coordination. I then focus on the stability of prior intentions: their rational resistance to reconsideration. I emphasize the importance of cases in which one's nonreconsideration of a prior intention is nondeliberative and is grounded in relevant habits of reconsideration. Concerning such cases I argue for a limited form of two-tier consequentialism, one that is (...) restricted in ways that aim at blocking an analogue of Smart's concerns about rule-worship. I contrast this with the unrestricted two-tier consequentialism suggested by McClennen. I argue that my restricted approach is superior for a theory of the practical rationality of reflective, planning agents like us. But I also conjecture that an unrestricted two-tier consequentialism may be more appropriate for the AI project of specifying a high level architecture for a resource-bounded planner. (shrink)
You are irrational when you are akratic. On this point most agree. Despite this agreement, there is a tremendous amount of disagreement about what the correct explanation of this data is. Narrow-scopers think that the correct explanation is that you are violating a narrow-scope conditional requirement. You lack an intention to x that you are required to have given the fact that you believe you ought to x. Wide-scopers disagree. They think that a conditional you are required to make (...) true is false. You aren’t required to have any particular attitudes. You’re just required to intend to x or not believe you ought to x. Wide-scope accounts are symmetrical insofar as they predict that you are complying with the relevant requirement just so long as the relevant conditional is true. Some narrow-scopers object to this symmetry. However, there is disagreement about why the symmetry is objectionable. This has led wide-scopers to defend their view against a number of different symmetry objections. I think their defenses in the face of these objections are, on the whole, plausible. Unfortunately for them, they aren’t defending their view against the best version of the objection. In this paper I will show that there is a symmetry objection to wide-scope accounts that both hasn’t been responded to and is a serious problem for wide-scope accounts. Moreover, my version of the objection will allow us to see that there is at least one narrow-scope view that has been seriously underappreciated in the literature. (shrink)
Escapism is defined as the attempt to avoid awareness of aversive beliefs. Strategies, and a few examples, of escapism are discussed. It is argued that self-deception is one species of escapism and that entrenched escapism, escapism pursued with the intention of permanently avoiding any awareness of one's belief, no matter what happens, is theoretically irrational, except in the special case where it compensates for irrationality elsewhere, by guarding one from the formation of further irrational beliefs of more serious import (...) than the belief one wishes to avoid. The model of rationality employed in this argument is then extended to practical rationality, and it is argued that entrenched escapism is pragmatically irrational as well, unless it compensates for other irrationalities elsewhere in a person, as, for instance, when a person must avoid certain facts to avoid succumbing irrationally to despair, or unless it compensates for the effects of an environment in which it is otherwise impossible for an optimally functioning person to survive emotionally. The results for entrenched escapism would apply to self-deception as well, since it aims (in all but very odd cases) at the permanent removal of the offending belief. The function of escapism, then, is to compensate for irrational patterns of belief formation, and to maintain effectiveness (for the sake of continuance of the species), insofar as that is possible, in situation in which a rational person would succumb to despair and suicide. (shrink)
The presence of intelligence and rationality in Artificial Intelligence and the Internet requires a new context of analysis in which Herbert Simon’s approach to the sciences of the artificial is surpassed in order to grasp the role of information in our contemporary setting. This new framework requires taking into account some relevant aspects. In the historical endeavor of building up AI and the Internet, minds and machines have interacted over the years and in many ways through the interrelation between (...) scientific creativity and technological innovation. Philosophically, minds and machines can have epistemological, methodological and ontological differences, which are based on the distinct configuration of human intelligence and artificial intelligence. Their comparison with rationality and its various forms is particularly relevant. Scientifically, AI and the Internet belong to the sciences of the artificial, because they work on designs that search for specific aims, following selected processes in order to achieve expected results. Technologically, AI and the Internet require the support of information and communication technologies. These have an instrumental role regarding the existence of AI and the Internet. Also ICT shape their diverse forms of configuration over the years.Within this framework, this paper offers a new context of analysis that goes beyond Simon’s and follows four main steps: the interaction between scientific creativity and technological innovation as the philosophico-methodological setting for Artificial Intelligence and the Internet; artificial intelligence and human intelligence as epistemological basis for machines and minds, where the differences between artificial intelligence and human intelligence are made explicit and the analysis of minds and machines is made from the perspective of rationality ; intention and its difference with design of machine learning are considered to distinguish human intelligence from artificial intelligence; and the internal and external aspects of artificial designs in contemporary society are considered through the perspective of rationality, which leads to the transition from intelligence to rationality in the Internet as well as to the historicity of information. (shrink)
The practical thought of planning agents is subject to distinctive rationality norms. In particular, there are norms of intention consistency and of means-end coherence. I discuss the normative significance of these norms and their relation to practical reasons. I seek a path between views that see these norms as, at bottom, norms of theoretical rationality, and views that see the idea that these norms have distinctive normative significance as a 'myth'. And I seek to distinguish these norms (...) from principles about the transmission of practical reasons. In the end, my view draws on claims about what is involved in being a self-governing planning agent. (shrink)
The moral of Buridan's Ass is that it can sometimes be rational to perform one action rather than another even though one lacks stronger reason to do so. Yet it is also commonly believed that it cannot ever be rational to believe one proposition rather than another if one lacks stronger reason to do so. This asymmetry has been taken to indicate a deep difference between epistemic and practical rationality. According to the view articulated here, the asymmetry should instead (...) be explained by the difference between rational intentions and rational actions. Thus, it turns out, Buridan's Ass-style cases do not indicate an asymmetry between epistemic and practical rationality as such. (shrink)
Actors may be called on to judge their reasons for action at two different points in time: once when they form an intention to act in the future and again at the time of action. At the time the actor forms her intention, her perspective is a general one, encompassing a range of possible circumstances that cannot be narrowed or fully specified in advance of action. At time of action, the actor's perspective is particularized, with more evidence available (...) about reasons for action. This difference in perspective presents a dilemma for rational agents. In many contexts, reliable advance planning has great value. It allows for intra-personal and interpersonal coordination and minimizes bias in favor of salient or emotionally charged facts. At the time of action, additional evidence about the context of the act clarifies, or appears to clarify, current reasons for action. I describe this dilemma in two contexts: rule-following and promissory commitment. In each case there may be significant practical reasons for agents to stand by their original intentions, treating them as exclusionary reasons for action. Yet, if the agent revisits her intentions at the time of action, her reasons for action may support, or appear to support, a change in course. I begin by examining theories of practical rationality that extend rationality over time and thus permit agents to act on their initial intentions. Understood in this way, practical rationality may require agents to follow rules or honor promises without further consideration of reasons for action. I argue, however, that on a plausible understanding of epistemic rationality and epistemic responsibility to respond to evidence, acting without reflection may be epistemically irrational. If this is correct, then the dilemma of general and particular decisionmaking persists, and affects important aspects of human life. We manage only by being imperfectly irrational. (shrink)
Problems of Rationality is divided into three parts. The first four essays defend the claim that judgments of value are objectively true. The next six expound what Davidson called "a unified theory of thought, meaning, and action". The last four discuss the problems that weakness of will and self-deception raise for Davidson's claim that ascription of intention and belief is possible only if we assume the agent's rationality. I shall discuss the three parts in sequence.
In this comprehensive analysis of Jürgen Habermas's philosophy and social theory, Marie Fleming takes strong issue with Habermas over his understanding of rationality and the lifeworld, emancipation, history, and gender. Throughout the book she focuses attention on the various ways in which an idea of emancipation motivates and shapes his universalist theory and how it persists over several major changes in methodology. Her critique of Habermas begins from the view that universalism has to include a vision of gender equality, (...) and she asks why Habermas, despite deeply held concerns about equality and inclusiveness, repeatedly and systematically relegates matters of gender to secondary status in his social and moral theory. She extends her critique to a range of issues in his theory of rationality and examines what she views as his very problematical claims about truthfulness, art, and bourgeois intimacy. The point of Fleming's critique of Habermas is not to dispute universalism, but to build on the key universalist principles of inclusiveness and equality. She is not persuaded by the view, shared by both sympathizers of Habermas and his postmodern critics, that to be for or against Habermas is to be for or against universalism. Her intention rather is to show that Habermas's theory of modernity is so structured that it cannot achieve its universalist aims. Contending that his theory is not universalist enough, she claims that universalism has to be reconceived as a radical, critical, and historical project. (shrink)
Gregory Kavka's 'Toxin Puzzle' suggests that I cannot intend to perform a counter-preferential action A even if I have a strong self-interested reason to form this intention. The 'Rationalist Solution,' however, suggests that I can form this intention. For even though it is counter-preferential, A-ing is actually rational given that the intention behind it is rational. Two arguments are offered for this proposition that the rationality of the intention to A transfers to A-ing itself: the (...) 'Self-Promise Argument' and David Gauthier's 'Rational Self-Interest Argument.' But both arguments – and therefore the Rationalist Solution – fail. The Self-Promise Argument fails because my intention to A does not constitute a promise to myself that I am obligated to honor. And Gauthier's Rational Self-Interest Argument fails to rule out the possibility of rational irrationality. (shrink)
Abstract: Scepticism about the normativity of rationality is often partially based on the assumption that normative reasons are normative. Starting from the assumption that normative reasons are normative, someone will argue that reasons and rationality can require different things from us and conclude that rationality must not be normative. We think that the assumption that normative reasons are normative is one that deserves more scrutiny, particularly if it turns out, as we shall argue, that no one has (...) yet shown that the requirements of reasons and rationality might be unified. We look at the most promising proposals about how to unite the requirements of reasons and rationality and argue that they cannot succeed. In the course of doing so, we discuss a case that we think gives us good reason to think that good reasons are not the things that determine in each case what we ought to believe and/or do. We argue that the best way to deal with the examples discussed here might be to appeal to principles of rationality and acknowledge that following their guidance will not invariably ensure that we do what normative reasons (as they are usually understood) support. We think that it might just follow that normative reasons (as they are usually understood) cannot be the things that determine what would be rational to do or what we ought to do. (shrink)
InMorals by Agreement, David Gauthier (1986) argues that it is rational to intend to cooperate, even in single-play Prisoner's Dilemma games, provided (1) your co-player has a similar intention; (2) both intentions can be revealed to the other player. To this thesis four objections are made. (a) In a strategic decision the parameters on which the argument relies cannot be supposed to be given. (b) Of each pair ofa-symmetric intentions at least one is not rational. But it is impossible (...) to form symmetric intentions to cooperate conditionally. For the condition on which the decision depends cannot be fulfilled without deciding. (c) If one's intention has to be ascertained on the basis of information about one's past performance, it is straightforwardly rational to intend to cooperate, but there is no reason to do so in a single-play PD. (d) The argument cannot be extended ton-person games which are Gauthier's principal concern. (shrink)
Cases of modest sociality are cases of small scale shared intentional agency in the absence of asymmetric authority relations. I seek a conceptual framework that adequately supports our theorizing about such modest sociality. I want to understand what in the world constitutes such modest sociality. I seek an understanding of the kinds of normativity that are central to modest sociality. And throughout we need to keep track of the relations—conceptual, metaphysical, normative—between individual agency and modest sociality. In pursuit of these (...) theoretical aims, I propose that a central phenomenon is shared intention. I argue that an adequate understanding of the distinctiveness of the intentions of individuals allows us to provide a construction of attitudes of the participants, and of relevant inter-relations and contexts that constitutes shared intention. I explain how shared intention, so understood, differs from a simple equilibrium within common knowledge. And I briefly contrast my views with aspects of views of John Searle and Margaret Gilbert. (shrink)
While logical theories of information attitudes, such as knowledge, certainty and belief, have flourished in the past two decades, formalization of other facets of rational behavior have lagged behind significantly. One intriguing line of research concerns the concept of intention. I will discuss one approach to tackling the notion within a logical framework, based on a database perspective.
The basic task of the essay is to exhibit science as a rational enterprise. I argue that in order to do this we need to change quite fundamentally our whole conception of science. Today it is rather generally taken for granted that a precondition for science to be rational is that in science we do not make substantial assumptions about the world, or about the phenomena we are investigating, which are held permanently immune from empirical appraisal. According to this standard (...) view, science is rational precisely because science does not make a priori metaphysical presuppositions about the world forever preserved from possible empirical refutation. It is of course accepted that an individual scientist, developing a new theory, may well be influenced by his own metaphysical presuppositions. In addition, it is acknowledged that a successful scientific theory, within the context of a particular research program, may be protected for a while from refutation, thus acquiring a kind of temporary metaphysical status, as long as the program continues to be empirically progressive. All such views unite, however, in maintaining that science cannot make permanent metaphysical presuppositions, held permanently immune from objective empirical evaluation. According to this standard view, the rationality of science arises, not from the way in which new theories are discovered, but rather from the way in which already formulated theories are appraised in the light of empirical considerations. And the fundamental problem of the rationality of science—the Humean problem of induction— concerns precisely the crucial issue of the rationality of accepting theories in the light of evidence. In this essay I argue that this widely accepted standard conception of science must be completely rejected if we are to see science as a rational enterprise. In order to assess the rationality of accepting a theory in the light of evidence it is essential to consider the ultimate aims of science. This is because adopting different aims for science will lead us, quite rationally, to accept different theories in the light of evidence. I argue that a basic aim of science is to explain. At the outset science simply presupposes, in a completely a priori fashion, that explanations can be found, that the world is ultimately intelligible or simple. In other words, science simply presupposes in an a priori way the metaphysical thesis that the world is intelligible, and then seeks to convert this presupposed metaphysical theory into a testable scientific theory. Scientific theories are only accepted insofar as they promise to help us realize this fundamental aim. At once a crucial problem arises. If scientific theories are only accepted insofar as they promise to lead us towards articulating a presupposed metaphysical theory, it is clearly essential that we can choose rationally, in an a priori way, between all the very different possible metaphysical theories that can be thought up, all the very different ways in which the universe might ultimately be intelligible. For holding different aims, accepting different metaphysical theories conceived of as blueprints for future scientific theories will, quite rationally, lead us to accept different scientific theories. Thus it is only if we can choose rationally between conflicting metaphysical blueprints for future scientific theories that we will be in a position to appraise rationally the acceptability of our present day scientific theories. We thus face the crucial problem: How can we choose rationally between conflicting possible aims for science, conflicting metaphysical blueprints for future scientific theories ? It is only if we can solve this fundamental problem concerning the aims of science that we can be in a position to appraise rationally the acceptability of existing scientific theories. There is a further point here. If we could choose rationally between rival aims, rival metaphysical blueprints for future scientific theories, then we would in effect have a rational method for the discovery of new scientific theories! Thus we reach the result: there is only a rational method for the appraisal of existing scientific theories if there is a rational method of discovery. I shall argue that the aim-oriented theory of scientific inquiry to be advocated here succeeds in exhibiting science as a rational enterprise in that it succeeds in providing a rational procedure for choosing between rival metaphysical blueprints: it thus provides a rational, if fallible, method of discovery, and a rational method for the appraisal of existing scientific theories—thus resolving the Humean problem. In Part I of the essay I argue that the orthodox conception of science fails to exhibit science as a rational enterprise because it fails to solve the Humean problem of induction. The presuppositional view advocated here does however succeed in resolving the Humean problem. In Part II of the essay I spell out the new aim-oriented theory of scientific method that becomes inevitable once we accept the basic presuppositional viewpoint. I argue that this new aim oriented conception of scientific method is essentially a rational method of scientific discovery, and that the theory has important implications for scientific practice. (shrink)
Summary The recent turn to the âcontext of discoveryâ and other âpostmodernistâ developments in the philosophy of science have undermined the idea of a universal rationality of science. This parallels the fate of the classical dream of a logic of discovery. Still, justificational questions have remained as a distinct perspective, though comprising both consequential and generative justification â an insight delayed by certain confusions about the (original) context distinction. An examination of one particular heuristic strategy shows its local (...) class='Hi'>rationality; even as an efficient procedure of hypothesis generation, it carries probative weight. It will be explored in which respects such a strategy can be normative or contain normative elements. (shrink)
Planning organizes our actions and conditions our effective-ness. To understand this philosophical hint better, the author investigates and juxtaposes two important accounts in action theory. He discusses the concept of a plan proposed by Tadeusz Kotarbiński in his praxiology (theory of efcient action), and the so called “planning theory of intention” by Michael E. Bratman. The conceptual meeting of these two proposals helps to remove aws in Kotarbiński’s action theory, it also shows the way, in which we can enrich (...) the idea of plans in the frame-work of intentions. Generally, praxiology occurs to be still an important perspective in action theory, which particularly shows how we can improve our understanding of planning when confronted with infuentialcontemporary accounts. (shrink)
Because Gadamer is very sensitive to the role of history, tradition and authority within human life, the overall intention of this article will be to unveil major elements of modern philosophy which exerted an influence upon his thought. In this sense it can be seen as applying his notion of 'Wirkungsgeschichte' to an assessment of certain aspects of his own thought. Particularly in his view on causality and history Gadamer illustrates the intimate connection of his thought with the dialectics (...) of nature and freedom. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.21(4) 2002: 291-305. (shrink)
Two approaches to instrumental rationality Suppose I intend end E, believe that a necessary means to E is M, and believe that M requires that I intend M. My attitudes concerning E and M engage a basic requirement of practical rationality, a requirement that, barring a change in my cited beliefs, I either intend M or give up intending E.2 Call this the Instrumental Rationality requirement – for short, the IR requirement.
In his "May Belief Outstrip Evidence?" (1916) Durant Drake argues that beliefs may sometimes permissibly outstrip evidence. Drake's novel idea is that epistemic reasons are not the final arbiter of the justificatory status of beliefs. In this short note I motivate Drake's idea by suggesting an analogy between the epistemic justification of belief and the moral justification of intention.
In his recent article in Philosophy and Public Affairs, 'The Paradox of Voting and Ethics of Political Representation', Alexander A. Guerrero argues it is rational to vote because each voter should want candidates they support to have the strongest public mandate possible if elected to office, and because every vote contributes to that mandate. The present paper argues that two of Guerrero's premises require correction, and that when those premises are corrected several provocative but compelling conclusions follow about the (...) class='Hi'>rationality of voting and duties of elected officials: (A) Voting is typically rational for the members of a political party’s base; (B) Voting is often (but not always) irrational for “swing” voters (i.e. independent voters who are not affiliated with any political party, as well as “undecided” voters who are considering voting across party lines); and (C) Elected officials have a moral duty to respond to changing levels of popular support once in office, as indicated by properly monitored and corroborated public opinion polls of constituents, functioning more as delegates the lower their level of popular support. Finally, I suggest that the last of these conclusions has wide-ranging implications for political ethics. I illustrate these implications by focusing on the questions -- under debate in the 2016 US Presidential election cycle -- of whether a sitting President has a moral duty to nominate or not nominate a new Supreme Court justice during his or her final year in office, and similarly, whether US Senators have a moral duty to obstruct, or not obstruct, confirmation of the President’s eventual nominee. (shrink)
The “New Natural Law” Theory (NNL) of Germain Grisez, John Finnis, Joseph Boyle, and their collaborators offers a distinctive account of intentional action, which underlies a moral theory that aims to justify many aspects of traditional morality and Catholic doctrine. -/- In fact, we show that the NNL is committed to premises that entail the permissibility of many actions that are irreconcilable with traditional morality and Catholic doctrine, such as elective abortions. These consequences follow principally from two aspects of the (...) NNL. The first aspect is its distinctive version of the planning theory of intention, in which adopting the 'first-person perspective' of an agent is a sufficient, and not merely necessary, condition for determining the nature of his intentional action; this planning theory rests upon an implicitly Cartesian conception of human behavior, in which behavior chosen by an agent has no intrinsic “intentionalness” apart from what he confers upon it as part of his plan. The second aspect is the NNL's distinctive account of basic human goods' incommensurability, according to which there is no common factor shared by basic human goods that allows them to be comparatively ranked in any way that directs practical deliberation. -/- The entailments of these two aspects of the NNL, we argue, amount to a reductio ad absurdum. Pace the proponents of the NNL account, we sketch an alternative hylomorphic conception of intentional action that avoids untoward moral implications by grounding human agency in the exercise of basic powers that are either (a) essential constituents of human nature or (b) acquired through participation in social practices. This conception of intentional action provides a stronger foundation for natural law theory. (shrink)
‘The idea that there are standards of practical reason apart from or independent of good character,’ Kieran Setiya trenchantly argues, ‘is a philosophical mirage’. 1 Setiya's argument in this fine book is a striking blend of philosophy of action and normative philosophy. A central claim is that the intention is a special kind of belief. I want both to challenge that claim and to reflect on a subtle argument in its favour that is in the background.1.Practical thinking, as understood (...) by Setiya, includes the thinking that is involved in ‘the motivation of action done for reasons …, the balancing of reasons …, and the forming and revising of intentions and desires’ . Dispositions of practical thinking are traits of character. So, we can evaluate a given disposition of practical thought by appealing to general standards of good character and asking whether that disposition of practical thought is good as a trait of character. The ‘Virtue Theory’ says that all standards of practical reason are, at bottom, the reflection of standards of good traits of character as those standards of good character are applied to, in particular, dispositions of practical thinking.What Setiya calls ‘rationalism’ is a theoretical alternative to the Virtue Theory. The idea is to find certain features of practical thinking that are essential to intentional agency, and then to show that these essential modes of practical thinking, without further appeal to general standards of good character, support standards of practical reason that apply to all cases of intentional agency.To assess such rationalism, we need a theory of intentional agency and of the practical thinking that is essential to it. According to Setiya, this theory will need to …. (shrink)
In this paper, I present a brief (and more than a little potted) history of the concepts of reason, rationality, reasonableness, and reasons in modern European philosophy and consider whether this history might support the "Anscombean" conclusion that, "The concepts of rationality and reasons ought to jettisoned if this is psychologically possible; because they are survivals, or derivatives from survivals, from an earlier conception of psychology and philosophy which no longer generally survives, and are only harmful without it.".
The paper discusses intention as a rhetorical key term and argues that a consideration of rhetor’s intent should be maintained as relevant to both the production and critique of rhetorical discourse. It is argued that the fact that the critic usually has little or no access to the rhetor’s mind does not render intention an irrelevant factor. Rather than allowing methodological difficulties to constrain critical inquiry, I suggest some ways in which the critic can incorporate the rhetor’s (...) class='Hi'>intention in evaluating argumentation. To this end, a standard of fairness is presented. (shrink)
This collection of essays by one of the most prominent and internationally respected philosophers of action theory is concerned with deepening our understanding of the notion of intention. In Bratman's view, when we settle on a plan for action we are committing ourselves to future conduct in ways that help support important forms of coordination and organization both within the life of the agent and interpersonally. These essays enrich that account of commitment involved in intending, and explore its implications (...) for our understanding of temptation and self-control, shared intention and shared cooperative activity, and moral responsibility. The essays offer extensive discussions of related views by, among others, Donald Davidson, Hector-Neri Castañeda, Christine Korsgaard, Harry Frankfurt, and P. F. Strawson. This collection will be a valuable resource for a wide range of philosophers and their students. (shrink)
We investigate the extent to which perceptions of the authenticity of supervisor’s personal integrity and character (ASPIRE) moderate the relationship between people’s love of money (LOM) and propensity to engage in unethical behavior (PUB) among 266 part-time employees who were also business students in a five-wave panel study. We found that a high level of ASPIRE perceptions was related to high love-of-money orientation, high self-esteem, but low unethical behavior intention (PUB). Unethical behavior intention (PUB) was significantly correlated with (...) their high Machiavellianism, low self-esteem, and low intrinsic religiosity. Our counterintuitive results revealed that the main effect of LOM on PUB was not significant, but the main effect of ASPIRE on PUB was significant. Further, the significant interaction effect between LOM and ASPIRE on unethical behavior intention provided profoundly interesting findings: High LOM was related to high unethical behavior intention for people with low ASPIRE, but was related to low unethical intention for those with high ASPIRE. People with high LOM and low ASPIRE had the highest unethical behavior intention; whereas those with high LOM and high ASPIRE had the lowest. We discuss results in light of individual differences, ethical environment, and perceived demand characteristics. (shrink)
This morning I intended to get out of bed when my alarm went off. Hearing my alarm, I formed the intention to get up now. Yet, for a time, I remained in bed, irrationally lazy. It seems I irrationally failed to execute my intention. Such cases of execution failure pose a challenge for Mentalists about rationality, who believe that facts about rationality supervene on facts about the mind. For, this morning, my mind was in order; it (...) was my action that apparently made me irrational. What, then, should Mentalists say about the phenomenon of execution failure? The phenomenon of execution failure, and the puzzle it raises for Mentalists, have rarely been discussed. This paper addresses the puzzle in two parts. First, it argues that execution failure is a real phenomenon. It is possible for agents to irrationally fail to act on their present-directed intentions. It follows that Mentalists in the philosophy of action must solve the puzzle of explaining what is irrational about cases of execution failure. Second, this paper begins the search for such a solution. It considers six possible resolutions to the puzzle, arguing that none is obviously the most attractive. These resolutions include a requirement of overall conative consistency, an appeal to the norm of intention consistency, a form of Volitionalism, an appeal to factive mental states, and a proposal due to Garrett Cullity, and a novel requirement of proper functioning. (shrink)
In this article, I examine Michael Bratman’s account of stability in his planning theory of intention. Future-directed intentions should be stable, or appropriately resistant to change, over time. Bratman claims that the norm of stability governs both intentions and plans. The aim of this article is to critically enrich Bratman’s account of stability by introducing plasticity as an additional norm of planning. I construct plasticity as a kind of stability of intentions which supplements Bratman’s notion of “reasonable stability.” Unlike (...) the latter, plasticity applies mainly to cases in which plan states are abandoned without reconsideration. I focus on the intra-theoretical problems of PTI and elucidate: the distinction between future-directed intentions and plans, the conceptual difference between stability and inertia, which is only implicit in PTI, and the role of the environment of the planner, which has a vestigial role in Bratman’s work. I also defend my incorporation of pl... (shrink)
This paper considers a view according to which there are certain symmetries between the nature of belief and that of intention. I do not defend this Symmetry View in detail, but rather try to adjudicate between different versions of it: what I call Evaluative, Normative and Teleological versions. I argue that the central motivation for the Symmetry View in fact supports only a specific Teleological version of the view.
Moral issues have been included in the studies of consumer misbehavior research, but little is known about the joint moderating effect of moral intensity and moral judgment on the consumer’s use intention of pirated software. This study aims to understand the consumer’s use intention of pirated software in Taiwan based on the theory of planned behavior (TPB) proposed by Ajzen (Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 179, 1991). In addition, moral intensity and moral judgment are adopted as (...) a joint moderator to examine their combined influence on the proposed research framework. The results obtained from this Taiwan case reveal that the antecedent constructs proposed in the TPB model–an individual’s attitude and subjective norms toward using pirated software, and perceived behavioral control to use pirated software–indeed have positive impacts on the consumer’s use intention of pirated software. In addition, the joint moderating effect of moral intensity and moral judgment is manifested in the consumer’s use intention of pirated software. The results of this study not only could substantiate the results of consumer misbehavior research, but also could provide some managerial suggestions for Taiwanese government authorities concerned and the related software industries devoted to fighting pirated software. (shrink)
This study aims to develop and defend an account of practical rationality and intention that explains how weakness of the will is conceptually possible. I first present two sceptical arguments against the possibility of weakness and then distinguish two different responses to scepticism that defends its possibility. Both sceptical arguments are motivated by what many have believed is an analogy between theoretical and practical reasoning. This analogy holds that the conclusion of practical reasoning is an intention just (...) as the conclusion of theoretical reasoning is a belief. The particular version held by what I call the Socratic theorists claims, in addition, that the value of desirability is transferred from premisses to conclusion in practical reasoning, just as probability is transferred from premisses to conclusion in theoretical reasoning. One example of an author who takes the analogy as a basic premise and seek to explain how weakness of the will still may be possible, is Donald Davidson. Critics of Davidson object that the the kinds of difficulties that his account runs into shows that the Socratic version of the analogy must be false; not only is this account phenomenologically implausible, it also exaggerates the degree of irrationality of the weak agent. In this study I suggest the possibility of a weaker version of the Davidsonian account. The main source of difficulty for the Davidsonian account, I argue, may not be its reliance on the Socratic version of the analogy between practical and theoretical reasoning, but rather its particular understanding of this analogy in terms of an analogy between practical and inductive-statistical reasoning. This understanding may lead one to accept too “rationalistic” a picture of the reasoning processes behind weakness of the will which, in effect, may make the account vulnerable to objections that it is phenomenologically implausible and exaggerates the irrationality of the weak agent. The weaker version of the Davidsonian account that I propose, ties in the account of weakness with the notions of “satisficing” and “default reasoning”. Although it preserves the central idea of the stronger version that intentions are unconditional evaluative judgements, it proposes a different view of the contents of these judgements, as well as of the reasoning process that lie behind them. It is not difficult to motivate this weaker view: given our human finitary predicament, both satisficing and default reasoning seem to be likely results of an optimal trade-off between the speed and reliability of our computational processes. The question is how these notions may shape the concepts we use to understand weakness of the will. I argue that if we modify the account usually ascribed to Davidson in the light of these notions, the result is a less rationalistic picture of weakness of the will. The gains are more phenomenological credibility as well as a less extreme view of the degree of irrationality involved. (shrink)
Includes a summary of my book *The Rationality of Perception* (Oxford, 2017) and replies to commentaries on it by Endre Begby, Harmen Ghijsen, and Katia Samoilova. These commentaries and my summary and replies will be published soon in Analysis Reviews. Begby focuses on my analysis of the epistemic features of the interface between individual minds and their cultural milieu (discussed in chapter 10 of *The Rationality of Perception*), Ghijsen focuses on the notion of inference and reliabilism (chapters 5 (...) and 6), and Samoilova focuses on the relationship between epistemic charge (chapter 3) and shifts in the amount of justification needed for knowledge. (shrink)
I argue that one intends that ϕ if one has a desire that ϕ and an appropriately related means-end belief. Opponents, including Setiya and Bratman, charge that this view can't explain three things. First, intentional action is accompanied by knowledge of what we are doing. Second, we can choose our reasons for action. Third, forming an intention settles a deliberative question about what to do, disposing us to cease deliberating about it. I show how the desire- belief view can (...) explain why these phenomena occur when they occur, and why they don't when they don't. (shrink)
While much has been written about the functional profile of intentions, and about their normative or rational status, comparatively little has been said about the subjective authority of intention. What is it about intending that explains the “hold” that an intention has on an agent – a hold that is palpable from her first-person perspective? I argue that several prima facie appealing explanations are not promising. Instead, I maintain that the subjective authority of intention can be explained (...) in terms of the inner structure of intention. In adopting an intention the agent comes to see herself as criticizable depending on whether she executes the intention. This allows us to explain in first-personal terms why the agent becomes disposed to act and deliberate in ways that are characteristic of intention. As intention-formation involves profound changes to reflexive evaluative attitudes, this is the “Self-Evaluation” view of the subjective authority of intention. (shrink)
In recent years, permissivism—the claim that a body of evidence can rationalize more than one response—has enjoyed somewhat of a revival. But it is once again being threatened, this time by a host of new and interesting arguments that, at their core, are challenging the permissivist to explain why rationality matters. A version of the challenge that I am especially interested in is this: if permissivism is true, why should we expect the rational credences to be more accurate than (...) the irrational ones? My aim is to turn this challenge on its head and argue that, actually, those who deny permissivism will have a harder time responding to such a challenge than those who accept it. (shrink)
The puzzle of the self-torturer raises intriguing questions concerning rationality, cyclic preferences, and resoluteness. Interestingly, what makes the case puzzling has not been clearly pinpointed. The puzzle, it seems, is that a series of rational choices foreseeably leads the self-torturer to an option that serves his preferences worse than the one with which he started. But this is a very misleading way of casting the puzzle. I pinpoint the real puzzle of the self-torturer and, in the process, reveal a (...) neglected but crucial dimension of instrumental rationality. (shrink)
One of the central tasks of a theory of argumentation is to supply a theory of appraisal: a set of standards and norms according to which argumentation, and the reasoning involved in it, is properly evaluated. In their most general form, these can be understood as rational norms, where the core idea of rationality is that we rightly respond to reasons by according the credence we attach to our doxastic and conversational commitments with the probative strength of the reasons (...) we have for them. Certain kinds of rational failings are so because they are manifestly illogical – for example, maintaining overtly contradictory commitments, violating deductive closure by refusing to accept the logical consequences of one’s present commitments, or failing to track basing relations by not updating one’s commitments in view of new, defeating information. Yet, according to the internal and empirical critiques, logic and probability theory fail to supply a fit set of norms for human reasoning and argument. Particularly, theories of bounded rationality have put pressure on argumentation theory to lower the normative standards of rationality for reasoners and arguers on the grounds that we are bounded, finite, and fallible agents incapable of meeting idealized standards. This paper explores the idea that argumentation, as a set of practices, together with the procedures and technologies of argumentation theory, is able to extend cognition such that we are better able to meet these idealized logical standards, thereby extending our responsibilities to adhere to idealized rational norms. (shrink)
The moral importance of the ‘intention–foresight’ distinction has long been a matter of philosophical controversy, particularly in the context of end-of-life care. Previous empirical research in Australia has suggested that general physicians and surgeons may use analgesic or sedative infusions with ambiguous intentions, their actions sometimes approximating ‘slow euthanasia’. In this paper, we report findings from a qualitative study of 18 Australian palliative care medical specialists, using in-depth interviews to address the use of sedation at the end of life. (...) The majority of subjects were agnostic or atheistic. In contrast to their colleagues in acute medical practice, these Australian palliative care specialists were almost unanimously committed to distinguishing their actions from euthanasia. This commitment appeared to arise principally from the need to maintain a clear professional role, and not obviously from an ideological opposition to euthanasia. While some respondents acknowledged that there are difficult cases that require considered reflection upon one's intention, and where there may be some ‘mental gymnastics,’ the nearly unanimous view was that it is important, even in these difficult cases, to cultivate an intention that focuses exclusively on the relief of symptoms. We present four narratives of ‘terminal’ sedation – cases where sedation was administered in significant doses just before death, and may well have hastened death. Considerable ambiguities of intention were evident in some instances, but the discussion around these clearly exceptional cases illustrates the importance of intention to palliative care specialists in maintaining their professional roles. (shrink)
I argue that the "why be rational?" challenge raised by John Broome and Niko Kolodny rests upon a mistake that is analogous to the mistake that H.A. Pritchard famously claimed beset the “why be moral?” challenge. The failure to locate an independent justification for obeying rational requirements should do nothing whatsoever to undermine our belief in the normativity of rationality. I suggest that we should conceive of the demand for a satisfactory vindicating explanation of the normativity of rationality (...) instead in terms of the demand for a philosophical characterisation of rationality that can do something to explain why rational requirements are the kinds of things that are, by their very nature, normative. I consider several accounts that have recently been offered – the distinctive-object account, the proper functioning account, and the subjective reasons account – and argue that none succeeds in meeting this challenge. I then sketch a new account, the “first-personal authority account”, which holds that rational requirements are what I call “standpoint-relative demands” concerning the attitudes we ought to have and form; and that complying with rational requirements is a matter of honouring our first-personal authority as agents. I suggest that the first-personal authority account does a better job of meeting the challenge. (shrink)
David Bloor’s thought experiment is taken into consideration to suggest that the rationality of the Other cannot be inferred by way of argument for the reason that it is unavoidably contained as a hidden supposition by any argument engaged in proving it. We are able to understand a different culture only as far as we recognize in it the same kind of rationality that works in our own culture. Another kind of rationality is either impossible, or indiscernible.