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Forms of Rational Agency

Lavin, D; (2017) Forms of Rational Agency. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement , 80 pp. 171-193. 10.1017/S1358246117000091. Green open access

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Abstract

A measure of good and bad is internal to something falling under it when that thing falls under the measure in virtue of what it is. The concept of an internal standard has broad application. Compare the external breed standards arbitrarily imposed at a dog show with the internal standards of health at work in the veterinarian's office. This paper is about practical standards, measures of acting well and badly, and so measures deployed in deliberation and choice. More specifically, it is about the attempt to explain the unconditional validity of certain norms (say, of justice and prudence) by showing them to be internal to our agency and the causality it involves. This is constitutivism. Its most prominent incarnations share a set of assumptions about the nature of agency and our knowledge of it: conceptualism, formalism and absolutism. This essay investigates the merits and viability of rejecting all of them while still seeking the ground of practical normativity in what we are, in our fundamental activity.

Type: Article
Title: Forms of Rational Agency
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S1358246117000091
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1358246117000091
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1557995
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