Do Intentions Set Up Rational Defaults? Commitments, Reasons, and the Diachronic Dimension of Rationality

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (1):29-64 (2018)
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Abstract

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.

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Jens Gillessen
University of Marburg

Citations of this work

The Reasoning View and Defeasible Practical Reasoning.Samuel Asarnow - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (3):614-636.

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References found in this work

Rationality Through Reasoning.John Broome (ed.) - 2013 - Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Intention, plans, and practical reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.
Effective intentions: the power of conscious will.Alfred R. Mele - 2009 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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