Download Brute Rationality: Normativity and Human Action by Joshua Gert PDF

By Joshua Gert

This publication provides a brand new account of normative useful purposes and how during which they give a contribution to the rationality of motion. instead of easily 'counting in favour of' activities, normative purposes play logically certain roles: requiring motion and justifying motion. the excellence among those roles explains why a few purposes don't look correct to the rational prestige of an motion except the agent cares approximately them, whereas different purposes hold all their strength whatever the agent's angle. It additionally explains why the category of rationally permissible motion is broad adequate to include not just all morally required motion, but in addition a lot egocentric and immoral motion. The ebook will entice quite a number readers drawn to functional cause particularly, and ethical conception extra mostly.

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Extra resources for Brute Rationality: Normativity and Human Action

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This chapter does not attempt to call any of these claims into question. But now consider the following claims about practical rationality. Suppose that one could save forty children from severe malnutrition by smuggling them food and medicine at high risk of injury and death to oneself. In such a case, there is a very strong reason against smuggling the supplies: that one risks injury and death. 11 But 9 10 11 Here and elsewhere I use ‘prima facie requirement’ to indicate not an apparent requirement, but a requirement that persists until countervailing reasons remove it.

And yet we do not consider it irrational to harm oneself in order to avoid harm to others; we do not, generally, try to discourage children who want to be firefighters. This suggests that avoiding harm to others does provide a rational justification for otherwise irrational actions. When one thinks on this one should at the very least also begin to think that there is a good chance that in many respects morality provides a stronger analogy for practical rationality than does theoretical rationality.

The parallel here with practical rationality is that certain reasons, relevant to the rationality of an action, need not motivate even a rational person. These, of course, are purely justificatory practical reasons, among which, this book suggests, we should classify all altruistic reasons. If an agent is never motivated by such reasons, that agent can, nevertheless, always act rationally. For one is not rationally required to act on purely justificatory reasons. Someone who is habitually selfish, petty, and mean, need not ever do anything that would generally be regarded as irrational.

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