Philosophical Explorations 20 (1):70-87 (2017)

Hrishikesh Joshi
Bowling Green State University
This paper explores some key commitments of the idea that it can be rational to do what you believe you ought not to do. I suggest that there is a prima facie tension between this idea and certain plausible coherence constraints on rational agency. I propose a way to resolve this tension. While akratic agents are always irrational, they are not always practically irrational, as many authors assume. Rather, “inverse” akratics like Huck Finn fail in a distinctively theoretical way. What explains why akratic agents are always either theoretically or practically irrational? I suggest that this is true because an agent’s total evidence determines both the beliefs and the intentions it is rational for her to have. Moreover, an agent’s evidence does so in a way such that it is never rational for the agent to at once believe that she ought to Φ and lack the intention to Φ.
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DOI 10.1080/13869795.2016.1246669
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On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Nicomachean Ethics.H. Aristotle & Rackham - 1968 - Harvard University Press.
Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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