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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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Instrumental Virtues

Instrumental Virtues

(p.168) 7 Instrumental Virtues
Rational Powers in Action

Sergio Tenenbaum

Oxford University Press

Chapter 7 argues that (non-trivial) principles of rationality cannot fully capture the nature of our instrumentally rational powers. A fully rational agent not only complies with the principle of instrumental rationality but also exhibits a number of instrumental virtues of character. An agent suffers a defect of rationality insofar as she fails to have one of these virtues, or insofar as she manifests one of its corresponding vices. However, an agent can manifest instrumental vices without violating any principle of rationality. This chapter proposes that courage is one of the instrumental virtues, and shows how one of its corresponding vices, cowardice, must be understood as a defect of our rational powers.

Keywords:   instrumental virtues, principles of rationality, courage, Kant, Aristotle

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