Pitt Logo LinkContact Us

From Conflict to Unity: Motivation and Practical Reason

Mylonaki, Evgenia (2011) From Conflict to Unity: Motivation and Practical Reason. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh.

[img]
Preview
PDF - Primary Text
Download (1222Kb) | Preview

    Abstract

    In my dissertation I explore the connection between intentional action and practical normativity from the perspective of motivation. I assume that an adequate theory of action motivation should embrace the normative commitment that to explain intentional action is to reveal it to be subject to practical norms. In the first chapter I argue that these are not the norms of so-called instrumental rationality. Against most theories of practical reason I argue that there is no irreducible, action-guiding requirement of practical rationality to take the means to one's ends. The normativity of means-end thought is not a type of practical rationality that guides action, but is internal to the elementary structure of intentional action itself. In the second chapter I argue against monolithic theories on which the relevant norms are the norms of non-instrumental practical rationality which are constituted as such by a single requirement: the requirement to approximate or satisfy an agent-general desire, to act in accordance with one's judgment about one's reasons, or to engage in a single type of practical reasoning. To allow for the possibility of primary motivational conflict, conflict between contrary motivations towards one and the same action at the same time, we have to assume a multi-dimensional theory which posits incommensurable practical requirements at the source of practical norms. In the final chapter I argue that we should explain choice in the face of conflict between these incommensurable requirements in terms of these very requirements alone. Against contemporary versions of Humeanism, Scholasticism and Kantianism I argue that we should not appeal to the existence of a separate purely executive or a more rational capacity for choice to explain how incommensurable practical requirements issue in unified intentional action. Instead, I propose, we should accept that these incommensurable requirements issue in unified intentional action because they constitute potential determinations of practical knowledge: knowledge of oneself as determined in one's reasoning about what to do by the right requirement for the circumstances. Intentional action is what meets the requirements of practical rationality, I show, as long as we take these requirements to be both incommensurable and cognitive.


    Share

    Citation/Export:
    Social Networking:

    Details

    Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
    ETD Committee:
    ETD Committee TypeCommittee MemberEmail
    Committee ChairSetiya, Kierankis23@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberGupta, Anilagupta@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberMoss, Jessicajessica.moss@balliol.ox.ac.uk
    Committee MemberMcDowell, Johnjmcdowel@pitt.edu
    Title: From Conflict to Unity: Motivation and Practical Reason
    Status: Unpublished
    Abstract: In my dissertation I explore the connection between intentional action and practical normativity from the perspective of motivation. I assume that an adequate theory of action motivation should embrace the normative commitment that to explain intentional action is to reveal it to be subject to practical norms. In the first chapter I argue that these are not the norms of so-called instrumental rationality. Against most theories of practical reason I argue that there is no irreducible, action-guiding requirement of practical rationality to take the means to one's ends. The normativity of means-end thought is not a type of practical rationality that guides action, but is internal to the elementary structure of intentional action itself. In the second chapter I argue against monolithic theories on which the relevant norms are the norms of non-instrumental practical rationality which are constituted as such by a single requirement: the requirement to approximate or satisfy an agent-general desire, to act in accordance with one's judgment about one's reasons, or to engage in a single type of practical reasoning. To allow for the possibility of primary motivational conflict, conflict between contrary motivations towards one and the same action at the same time, we have to assume a multi-dimensional theory which posits incommensurable practical requirements at the source of practical norms. In the final chapter I argue that we should explain choice in the face of conflict between these incommensurable requirements in terms of these very requirements alone. Against contemporary versions of Humeanism, Scholasticism and Kantianism I argue that we should not appeal to the existence of a separate purely executive or a more rational capacity for choice to explain how incommensurable practical requirements issue in unified intentional action. Instead, I propose, we should accept that these incommensurable requirements issue in unified intentional action because they constitute potential determinations of practical knowledge: knowledge of oneself as determined in one's reasoning about what to do by the right requirement for the circumstances. Intentional action is what meets the requirements of practical rationality, I show, as long as we take these requirements to be both incommensurable and cognitive.
    Date: 30 January 2011
    Date Type: Completion
    Defense Date: 19 November 2010
    Approval Date: 30 January 2011
    Submission Date: 21 November 2010
    Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
    Patent pending: No
    Institution: University of Pittsburgh
    Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
    Refereed: Yes
    Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
    URN: etd-11212010-204233
    Uncontrolled Keywords: instrumental rationality; intention; motivation; practical conflict; practical knowledge; practical reason; theory of action
    Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Philosophy
    Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 15:05
    Last Modified: 14 May 2012 12:01
    Other ID: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-11212010-204233/, etd-11212010-204233

    Actions (login required)

    View Item

    Document Downloads