May 9: Sarah Buss

Please join us at the Practical Philosophy workshop on Monday, May 9th.

Sarah Buss (University of Michigan) will be presenting her paper “The Impossibility of Reconciling Constitutivist Accounts of Practical Reasons with the Unity of Human Agency”.

We will meet from 10:30-12:20 in the Social Sciences Research Building Room 401.  The workshop is read-ahead. The paper will be available soon under ‘downloads’.

Abstract:

We are capable of a sort of double consciousness:  we can regard something as appealing, worth doing, desirable, etc., even as we also occupy a point of view from which we call this appearance into question; we can experience our circumstances as calling for a certain response, even as we believe that we lack sufficient reason to respond this way.  I argue that constitutivist accounts of practical reason cannot do justice to this possibility.  On these accounts, the point of view we occupy insofar as we aim to determine what we have reason to do (the “deliberative point of view”) and the point of view we occupy insofar as we are the subject of pro- and con-attitudes are inaccessible to each other; what is at stake for us insofar as we are wondering what we have reason to do is not what is at stake for us insofar as we are wondering whether things are as they normatively seem, given our attitudes.  In the paper’s second half, I link this problem to skepticism about whether the capacity to reason is really a practical, end-setting, capacity.

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