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Rational Powers in ActionInstrumental Rationality and Extended Agency$
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Sergio Tenenbaum

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198851486

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198851486.001.0001

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Persisting Intentions

Persisting Intentions

(p.143) 6 Persisting Intentions
Rational Powers in Action

Sergio Tenenbaum

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 continues the discussion of putative requirements generated by future-directed intentions, turning to what I call “intention-persistence requirements”. These requirements seem particularly important in understanding choice among incommensurable or incomparable alternatives. In such choice situations, it seems irrational to engage in “brute shuffling”; that is, intending first to choose one option, then (possibly) incurring certain costs associated with bringing about this option, and then, in the absence of any new information or any reason to change one’s mind, switching to choose another, incomparable, option. However, unless we accept intention-persistence requirements, it might seem that we cannot explain why such behaviour is irrational. The chapter argues against the validity of such persistence requirements and proposes a different understanding of choices in these contexts. In particular, the chapter argues that only certain patterns of shuffling are irrational, and the irrationality of these patterns can be given a more direct and satisfying explanation without appeal to intention-persistence requirements.

Keywords:   rational requirements, intention, incommensurability, persistence requirements, enkratic requirements

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