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Avoiding the Conditional Fallacy

Joshua Gert
The Philosophical Quarterly (1950-)
Vol. 52, No. 206 (Jan., 2002), pp. 88-95
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3543012
Page Count: 8
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Avoiding the Conditional Fallacy
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Abstract

Over-simple internalist accounts of practical reasons imply that we cannot have reasons to become more rational, because they claim that we have a reason to φ only if we would have some desire to φ if we were fully rational. But if we were fully rational, we would have no desire to become more rational. Robert Johnson has recently argued that in their attempts to avoid this problem, existing versions of internalism yield reasons which do not have an appropriate connection with potential explanations of action. I suggest that the problem is partly a result of failure to see that action-tokens are usually tokens of a wide variety of action-types, and that the internalist conditional need only be true of one of these types in order to justify a reason claim about the token.

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