, Volume 79, Issue 4, pp 909–941 | Cite as

A Constitutive Account of ‘Rationality Requires’

  • Julian FinkEmail author
Original Article


The requirements of rationality are fundamental in practical and theoretical philosophy. Nonetheless, there exists no correct account of what constitutes rational requirements. This paper attempts to provide a correct constitutive account of ‘rationality requires’. I argue that rational requirements are grounded in ‘necessary explanations of subjective incoherence’, as I shall put it. Rationality requires of you to X if and only if your rational capacities, in conjunction with the fact that you not-X, explain necessarily why you have a non-maximal degree of subjective coherence.


Success Condition General Requirement Rational Requirement Rational Capacity Normative Reason 
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I am greatly indebted to John Broome, Krister Bykvist, Alexandra Couto, Olav Gjelsvik, Micha Gläser, Herlinde Pauer-Studer, Christian Piller, Andrew Reisner, Mathias Sagdahl, Anne Schwenkenbecher, Martin Vacek, Ralph Wedgwood, numerous anonymous reviewers, and audiences at Graz and Vienna for very detailed and helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. During the paper’s long gestation, I received financial support from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Research Council of Norway, and the European Research Council (Advanced Grant ‘Distortions of Normativity’), and the National Scholarship Programme of the Slovak Republic. I thank those institutions for their very generous support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  2. 2.Institute of PhilosophySlovak Academy of SciencesBratislavaSlovakia
  3. 3.Centre for the Study of Mind in NatureUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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