Matching Items (3)

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Reviving Hedonism

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According to hedonism about happiness, all and only enjoyable experiences are the basic constituents of one’s happiness, and these experiences contribute to one’s happiness just to the extent that they

According to hedonism about happiness, all and only enjoyable experiences are the basic constituents of one’s happiness, and these experiences contribute to one’s happiness just to the extent that they have a greater intensity or duration. After defending this view, I show that it must be amended to count as an equally plausible theory of what constitutes one’s well-being. I then present two such amended versions of hedonism about well-being. The first, which I call objective hedonism, adds the claim that the objective worth of the things one enjoys also makes a difference to the extent to which an enjoyable experience contributes to one’s well-being. The second, which I call reliabilist hedonism, adds the claim that one’s evaluative intuitions about which things are good for one track which things have proven themselves to one to reliably lead to enjoyable experience. I conclude that reliabilist hedonism constitutes a revival of hedonism about well-being.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Epistemic norms and permissive rationality

Description

This dissertation consists of three essays, each of which closely relates to epistemic norms for rational doxastic states. The central issue is whether epistemic rationality is impermissive or not: For

This dissertation consists of three essays, each of which closely relates to epistemic norms for rational doxastic states. The central issue is whether epistemic rationality is impermissive or not: For any total evidence E, is there a unique doxastic state that any possible agent with that total evidence E should take (Uniqueness), or not (Permissivism)?

“Conservatism and Uniqueness”: Conservatism is the idea that an agent’s beliefs should be stable as far as possible when she undergoes a learning experience. Uniqueness is the idea that any given body of total evidence uniquely determines what it is rational to believe. Epistemic Impartiality is the idea that you should not give special treatment to your beliefs solely because they are yours. I construe Epistemic Impartiality as a meta-principle governing epistemic norms, and argue that it is compatible with Conservatism. Then I show that if Epistemic Impartiality is correct, Conservatism and Uniqueness go together; each implies the other.

“Cognitive Decision Theory and Permissive Rationality”: In recent epistemology, philosophers have deployed a decision theoretic approach to justify various epistemic norms. A family of such accounts is known as Cognitive Decision Theory. According to Cognitive Decision Theory, rational beliefs are those with maximum expected epistemic value. How does Cognitive Decision Theory relate to the debate over permissive rationality? As one way of addressing this question, I present and assess an argument against Cognitive Decision Theory.

“Steadfastness, Deference, and Permissive Rationality”: Recently, Benjamin Levinstein has offered two interesting arguments concerning epistemic norms and epistemic peer disagreement. In his first argument, Levinstein claims that a tension between Permissivism and steadfast attitudes in the face of epistemic peer disagreement generally leads us to conciliatory attitudes; in his second argument, he argues that, given an ‘extremely weak version of a deference principle,’ Permissivism collapses into Uniqueness. However, in this chapter, I show that both arguments fail. This result supports the following claim: we should treat steadfast attitudes and at least some versions of a deference principle as viable positions in the discussion about several types of Permissivism, because they are compatible with any type of Permissivism.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Moral responsibility and quality of will

Description

This dissertation puts forth an account of moral responsibility. The central claim defended is that an agent's responsibility supervenes on the agent's mental states at the time of the action.

This dissertation puts forth an account of moral responsibility. The central claim defended is that an agent's responsibility supervenes on the agent's mental states at the time of the action. I call the mental states that determine responsibility the agent's quality of will (QOW). QOW is taken to concern the agent's action, understood from an internal perspective, along with the agent's motivations, her actual beliefs about the action, and the beliefs she ought to have had about the action. This approach to responsibility has a number of surprising implications. First, blameworthiness can come apart from wrongness, and praiseworthiness from rightness. This is because responsibility is an internal notion and rightness and wrongness are external notions. Furthermore, agents can only be responsible for their QOW. It follows that agents cannot be responsible for the consequences of their actions. I further argue that one's QOW is determined by what one cares about. And the fact that we react to the QOW of others with morally reactive emotions, such as resentment and gratitude, shows that we care about QOW. The reactive attitudes can therefore be understood as ways in which we care about what others care about. Responsibility can be assessed by comparing one's actual QOW to the QOW one ought to have had.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011