The property of rationality: a guide to what rationality requires?
- 346 Downloads
Can we employ the property of rationality in establishing what rationality requires? According to a central and formal thesis of John Broome’s work on rational requirements, the answer is ‘no’—at least if we expect a precise answer. In particular, Broome argues that (i) the property of full rationality (i.e. whether or not you are fully rational) is independent of whether we formulate conditional requirements of rationality as having a wide or a narrow logical scope. That is, (ii) by replacing a wide-scope requirement with a corresponding narrow-scope requirement (or vice versa), we do not alter the situations in which a person is fully rational. As a consequence, (iii) the property of full rationality is unable to guide us in determining whether a rational requirement has a wide or a narrow logical scope. We cannot resolve the wide/narrow scope debate by appealing to a theory of fully rational attitudes. This paper argues that (i), (ii) and (iii) are incorrect. Replacing a wide- with a corresponding narrow-scope requirement (or vice versa) can alter the set of circumstances in which a person is fully rational. The property of full rationality is therefore not independent of whether we formulate conditional requirements of rationality as having a wide or a narrow logical scope. As a consequence, the property of full rationality can guide us in determining what rationality requires—even in cases where we expect a precise answer.
KeywordsProperty of rationality Requirements of rationality Wide/narrow scope Requirement semantics Broome
I would like to thank Matthew Braham, John Broome, John Brunero, Philip Fox, Olav Gjelsvik, Christian Piller, Franziska Poprawe, Olivier Roy, Attila Tanyi, Jonathan Way, Berislav Žarnić, and numerous anonymous referees for comments on earlier drafts of this paper. I would also like to thank audiences at Bayreuth, Berne, Bucharest, Konstanz, and Rotterdam for helpful discussions of the material presented in this paper. I am greatly indebted to the Swiss National Science Foundation for funding this work.
- Appiah, K. A. (1990) Racisms. In D. T. Goldberg (Ed.), Anatomy of racism (pp. 3–17). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- Bratman, M. (1987). Intention, plans, and practical reason. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Broome, J. (2001). Are intentions reasons? And how should we cope with incommensurable values? In C. Morris & A. Ripstein (Eds.), Practical rationality and preference: Essays for david gauthier (pp. 98–120). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Broome, J. (2004). Reasons. In R. J. Wallace, M. Smith, S. Scheffler & P. Pettit (Eds.), Reason and value: Themes from the moral philosophy of Joseph Raz (pp. 28–55). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Broome, J. (2005). Does rationality give us reasons? Philosophical Issues, 15, 321–337.Google Scholar
- Broome, J. (2007b). Requirements. In Rønnow-Rasmussen, T., Petersson, B, Josefsson, J., & Egonsson, D. (Eds.), Homage à Wlodek: Philosophical Papers Dedicated to Wlodek Rabinowicz. electronic festshrift: www.fil.lu.se/hommageawlodek/.
- Broome, J. (2007c). Is rationality normative? Disputatio, 2, 161–178.Google Scholar
- Broome, J. (2007d). Does rationality consist in responding correctly to reasons? Journal of Moral Philosophy, 4, 349–374.Google Scholar
- Broome, J. (2013b). Enkrasia. Organon F, 20, 425–436.Google Scholar
- Brunero, J. (2013). Rational akrasia. Organon F, 20, 546–566.Google Scholar
- Evers, D. (2011). Two objections to wide-scoping. Grazer Philosophische Studien, 83, 251–255.Google Scholar
- Fink, J. (2011). Are there process-requirements of rationality? Organon F, 18, 475–487.Google Scholar
- Fink, J. (ms). The essence of attitudinal irrationality (unpublished manuscript).Google Scholar
- Kiesewetter, B. (2013). The normativity of rationality. Dissertation, Humboldt University of Berlin.Google Scholar
- Lengbeyer, L. A. (2004). Racism and impure hearts. In M. P. Levine & T. Pataki (Eds.), Racism in mind (pp. 158–178). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- Lord, E. (forthcoming). What you’re rationally required to do and what you ought to do (are the same thing!). Mind.Google Scholar
- Piller, Ch. (2013). The bootstrapping objection. Organon F, 20, 612–631.Google Scholar
- Reisner, A. (2011). Is there reason to be theoretically rational? In A. Reisner & A. Steglich-Petersen (Eds.), Reasons for belief (pp. 34–53). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Reisner, A. (2013). Is the enkratic principle a requirement of rationality? Organon F, 20(4), 436–462.Google Scholar
- Scanlon, T. M. (2007). Structural irrationality. In G. Brennan, R. Goodin, & M. Smith (Eds.), Common minds (pp. 84–103). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Žarnić, B. (2010). A logical typology of normative systems. Journal of Applied Ethics and Philosophy, 2, 30–40.Google Scholar