Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Title

Korsgaard on the Reason and the Normativity of Rationality

Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.A. in Philosophy

First Advisor

Robert Barnard

Second Advisor

Steven Skultety

Third Advisor

Robert B. Westmoreland

Abstract

Korsgaard (2009) argues, against Kolodny (2005) and Broome (2007), that rational requirements are in fact normative. In her view the normativity of rational requirements is a function of their constitutive role in the deliberative activity of reason. After surveying the treatment of this question in the relevant literature, I explain Korsgaard's theory using pure constructivism as a framing device. I then argue that not only is her account of deliberative reason as an activity unsatisfactory (specifically, it fails to defeat the intuition that charges of boot-strapping are deeply problematic, and makes the adoption of reasons for belief from the deliberative perspective a function of an agent's commitment to principles and not of her seeing the belief as true), but that she is unable to account for the normativity of rationality (because her theory is unable to provide an answer that avoids regress or is not trivial to her own “normative question” when it takes a rational requirement as its object).

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