Paul Boswell


According to the Guise of the Good, an agent only does for a reason what she sees as good. One of the main motivations for the view is its apparent ability to explain why action for a reason must be intelligible to its agent, for, on this view, an action is intelligible just in case it seems good.

This motivation has come under criticism in recent years. Most notably, Kieran Setiya has argued that merely seeing one’s action as good does not suffice to make the action intelligible. In this paper, I show that this objection has bite only because the Guise of the Good’s theory of intelligibility has yet seen little sustained articulation. Properly understood, this theory holds that an action is intelligible to an agent only if it appears to them to possess some substantive evaluative property. I then argue that this response to the objection has a significant implication for contemporary Guise of the Good theories, for it shows that the currently ascendant version of the theory, the attitudinal theory, cannot avail itself of the intelligibility motivation.