Ends and Persons: A Transcendental Argument

Episteme: An Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Abstract

This paper makes a transcendental argument. It assumes the normative validity of the instrumental principle, and then investigates the conditions of its validity. Ultimately, it argues that there are three necessary conditions for its validity. Firstly, agents must be rationally capable of regarding themselves as having a single self that possesses the same reasons, ends, and means. Secondly, agents must be rationally capable of distinguishing themselves from other selves that possess ends. Thirdly, these two conditions must actually obtain, which means that we must have a self that has the same reasons, ends, and means, and that such selves must be distinct from one another. The paper fields two arguments in support of these three conditions and then offers an interpretation of the arguments to show that they vindicate all three conditions.

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David DeMatteo
Reed College

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References found in this work

Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and Other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Self-Reference and Self-Awareness.Sydney S. Shoemaker - 1968 - Journal of Philosophy 65 (October):555-67.
The Normativity of Instrumental Reason.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1997 - In Garrett Cullity & Berys Gaut (eds.), Ethics and Practical Reason. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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