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?
Consider Newcomb’s Problem: “A psychology professor at your school has a reputation for being brilliant as well as possessed of an enormous fortune she has dedicated to her research. One day you get a request to report to her office at a certain hour. On a table are two boxes. One of them, labeled A, is transparent; in it you can see an enormous pile of $100 bills. The other, labeled B, is opaque. She tells you that there is $10,000 in transparent box A and that in box B there is either $1,000,000 or nothing. She tells you that she is going to give you a choice between:"
I am pleased to introduce this month's featured philosopher: me. Please join me in welcoming me.
[Added Monday morning 18 November by Shoemaker: Because of some random spamming difficulties, all comments will now be moderated. Please be patient, as comments must now be read and approved prior to being published.]
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.
A recently influential idea in the
philosophy of normativity is reasons primitivism. Reasons primitivists
hold that we can give no account of what it is for some consideration to be a
(normative) reason. At most we can say that reasons are considerations that count
in favour (or against) some response, or that when there is reason to do
something, there is something to be said
for doing that thing. In this post (which is intended in the spirit of Dave and
Dave’s request for half-baked ideas…) I want to raise a worry about this view.
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/
Errol Lord and Barry Maguire are organizing a two day workshop (Nov. 30- Dec. 1) dedicated to developing/criticizing systematic accounts of weighing reasons.
Invited Speakers: Ruth Chang (Rutgers), Stephen Darwall (Yale), John Horty (Maryland), Stephen Kearns (Florida State) & Daniel Star (Boston University), Joseph Raz (Oxford/Columbia), T.M. Scanlon (Harvard) There is also a call for papers which are due by September 15th. There's a link to the workshop website below the fold.