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Two Approaches to Instrumental Rationality and Belief Consistency

by John Brunero

R. Jay Wallace argues that the normativity of instrumental rationality can be traced to the independent rational requirement to hold consistent beliefs. I present three objections to this view. John Broome argues that there is a structural similarity between the rational requirements of instrumental rationality and belief consistency. Since he does not reduce the former to the latter, his view can avoid the objections to Wallace’s view. However, we should not think Broome’s account explains the whole of instrumental rationality since agents with consistent intentions can still fail in their instrumental reasoning. This consideration makes Broome’s approach vulnerable to a line of criticism that both he and Wallace present against Christine Korsgaard’s conception of instrumental rationality.

ISSN 1559-3061
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