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Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 9$
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Russ Shafer-Landau

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198709299

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198709299.001.0001

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Cognitivism about Practical Rationality

Cognitivism about Practical Rationality

(p.18) 2 Cognitivism about Practical Rationality
Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 9

John Brunero

Oxford University Press

Cognitivists about practical rationality argue that rational requirements governing intentions can be explained by rational requirements governing beliefs. This chapter considers the prospects for cognitivism about Means-Ends Coherence in particular. Means-Ends Coherence is the rational requirement, roughly, that one intend the means one believes to be necessary for achieving one’s ends. The first part of the chapter considers a version of cognitivism employing the Strong Belief Thesis, according to which intending to X involves believing one will X. It argues that the Strong Belief Thesis is either false or unable to do the explanatory work the cognitivist needs it to do. In the second part, it considers versions of cognitivism that don’t employ the Strong Belief Thesis, and presents the most plausible version of cognitivism. However, in the third part, it argues that even the most plausible version of cognitivism isn’t good enough.

Keywords:   cognitivism, intention, belief, instrumental rationality, means-ends coherence, rational requirements

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