Warren Quinn’s puzzle of the self-torturer is supposed to show that cyclic preferences can be rational, and that, in cases where they are, rationality can require resoluteness so that the agent does not end up with an alternative that is worse than the one with which s/he started.
As Quinn makes explicit, his concern is with instrumental rationality. It is thus natural to interpret Quinn’s use of “worse” as “worse, relative to the agent’s preferences.” But how is “X is worse than Y, relative to the agent’s preferences” to be understood when X and Y are part of a preference cycle?
It is an interesting fact about many of our most important choices, such as the choice of what kind of education to pursue, whether and whom to marry, and whether to have children – for short, life choices – that they transform us in ways we can’t fully anticipate, so that the person who lives with the consequences of the choice won’t be quite the same as the person who makes the choice. Recently, L.A. Paul has argued in a stimulating paper that the existence of such transformative experiences causes serious trouble for rational decision-making. I’ll grant here that her argument is more or less successful to the extent that the phenomenal quality of our experiences is central to the value of a choice or preference among options.
I'm pleased to announce a call for abstracts for the next St. Louis Conference on Reasons and Rationality, sponsored by UMSL and Washington University. Many PEA Soupers have participated the past four years.
I'm pleased to announce a call for abstracts for the next St. Louis Conference on Reasons and Rationality, sponsored by UMSL and Washington University. Many PEA Soupers have participated the past three years.
May 19 – 21, 2013 Moonrise Hotel in St Louis, MO
Keynote Speaker: Michael Smith (Princeton)
St. Louis Annual Conference on Reasons and Rationality (SLACRR) provides a forum for new work on practical and theoretical reason, broadly construed. Please submit an abstract of 750-1500 words by December 31, 2012 to SLACRR (at) gmail.com. In writing your abstract, please bear in mind that full papers should suitable for a 30 minute presentation.
What to Submit
SLACRR includes papers in ethics, epistemology, and other areas of philosophy that deal with reasons, reasoning, or rationality. For instance, we would be interested in papers exploring such questions as:
• What is the relation between reasons for actions and reasons for beliefs? • What are the sources of our reasons for belief? • How are features of one’s psychology relevant to reasons? • What is the relation between reasons and what we ought to do or believe? • What is the relation between reasons and value? • Are the requirements of practical and theoretical rationality normative? • What is the relation between individual rationality and collective rationality?
For more information, see http://www.umsl.edu/~slacrr/
Subjunctive analyses of what we ought to do often appeal to what we would do (or what we would want ourselves to do) if we were both fully informed and fully rational. Many such analyses commit what is called the Conditional Fallacy and are, therefore, subject to counterexample. The counterexamples all involve cases where full information (and/or full rationality) affects what one has reason to do and, thus, what one ought to do. To illustrate, consider the following very simple analysis:
St. Louis Annual Conference on Reason and Rationality UM-St. Louis May 22-24, 2011 Moonrise Hotel
The Department of Philosophy at UM-St. Louis is pleased to announce the program for SLACRR 2. PEA Soupers on this year's program include Jamie Dreier (Keynote), Brad Cokelet, Jussi Suikkanen, Mark van Roojen, and Robert N. Johnson. There is no fee to attend SLACRR, but since space is limited, we ask that you register, which you can do simply by emailing John Brunero or Eric Wiland at SLACRR@gmail.com. More information about the conference is available at http://www.umsl.edu/~slacrr/