Does the normative question about rationality rest on a mistake?

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Abstract

Rationality requires that our mental attitudes exhibit specific patterns of coherence. Do we have reason to comply? ’Prichardian Quietists’ regard this question as fundamentally confused: the only reasons to comply with rational requirements are the ones given by the requirements themselves. In this paper, I argue that PQ fails. I proceed by granting that Prichard’s own position, from which PQ draws inspiration, is defensible, while identifying three serious problems with the parallel position about rationality. First, as I argue, PQ is not plausibly combined with either the narrow-scope or the wide-scope formulations of rational requirements. Second, PQ implies that the reasons to comply with rational requirements are reasons of the wrong kind. And finally, PQ lacks a crucial component of its explanation, viz. a plausible theory of what constitutes being rationally required to V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2021-2038
Number of pages18
JournalSynthese
Volume195
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2018

Keywords

  • H. A. Prichard
  • Normativity of rationality
  • Rational requirements
  • Reasons of the wrong kind
  • Scope

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