Chapter

Agent‐Based Practical Reason

Michael Slote

in Morals from Motives

Published in print March 2001 | ISBN: 9780195138375
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833696 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195138376.003.0007
Agent‐Based Practical Reason

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Practical reason or rationality can be understood in agent‐based terms. Strength of purpose, for example, can be internally characterized, and the rationality of the courage to face facts and not deceive oneself about what is unpleasant or horrifying can also be understood in agent‐based terms. Practical rationality also requires us not to be self‐defeatingly insatiable in our wants, but this likewise is a feature of inner motivation. Finally, being rational seems to require a certain amount of concern for one's own well‐being or happiness – just as being moral requires a certain kind of concern for others; but like the other conditions of practical rationality just mentioned, this kind of concern can readily be understood in agent‐based terms. In fact, it makes more intuitive sense to understand the rationality of self‐interest in terms of motivation than to understand it in terms of (expectable or expected) consequences (for the agent).

Keywords: agent‐based; courage; insatiable; practical rationality; practical reason; strength of purpose; well‐being

Chapter.  11457 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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