Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Major

Philosophy

Date of Defense

5-1-2012

Graduate Advisor

Berit Brogaard, Ph.D.

Committee

Berit Brogaard (Chair)

John Brunero

Waldemar Rohloff

Abstract

Niko Kolodny makes the following claims. Claim 1: We don’t have reason, in general, to comply with rational requirements for their own sake. Claim 2: Even if we do have reason to comply with rational requirements, in general, and, for their own sake, it doesn’t follow that we have that same reason in any particular case. In this paper, I argue that both Claim 1 and Claim 2 are false. I provide a novel argument which explains why we have reason to comply with rational requirements (for their own sake) both in general, and in particular cases. Along the way I offer my own theory of achievements and defend it against objections. The general structure of my argument looks like this: The Value Argument P1: If doing something would constitute something of (at least) pro tanto final value (where ‘final’ just means ‘valuable for its own sake’ and, thus, not merely instrumentally valuable), then that is, ceteris paribus, a reason to do it. P2: Being subjectively rational (i.e. complying with rational requirements) is an achievement. P3: Achievements have pro tanto final value. Therefore, we have reason to be subjectively rational, for its own sake, both in general, and in particular cases.

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