Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Major

Philosophy

Date of Defense

11-22-2013

Graduate Advisor

Eric Wiland, Ph.D.

Committee

Eric Wiland, Ph.D.

John Brunero, Ph.D.

John Greco, Ph.D.

Abstract

In the recent normativity literature, much attention has been paid to the question of whether rationality is normative. As rationality requires every agent’s attitudes to be logically consistent—and prohibits inconsistent attitudes—we might wonder whether we always have a reason to be rational. The normativity of rationality faces a strong skeptical challenge by Niko Kolodny (2005, 2008). Kolodny’s “why be rational?” challenge denies that we always have a reason to be rational. Andrew Reisner (2011) takes up this challenge and argues that—at a minimum—we necessarily have a strong reason to satisfy requirements of belief consistency and that this reason is parasitic upon evidential reasons for belief. In this paper, I will consider the possibility that some individual requirements of rationality always provide you with reasons to satisfy them. More specifically, I will critique the thesis that rationality issues requirements which are normative independently of other rational requirements. It is not clear whether a rational requirement, in isolation from others, always generates a normative reason to satisfy it. I will conclude that Reisner's approach may defuse parts of Kolodny’s challenge but only by introducing a problem of excessive justification for beliefs. If Reisner’s view is correct, full compliance with belief-consistency requirements will guarantee that nearly all of your beliefs—no matter what they happen to be—are justified to some degree.

Share

COinS