Department Colloquium: Brie Gertler

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February 14, 2020
3:30PM - 5:30PM
Location
353 University Hall

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Add to Calendar 2020-02-14 15:30:00 2020-02-14 17:30:00 Department Colloquium: Brie Gertler

“Rational Agency and the Struggle to Believe What Your Reasons Dictate”

An influential view that I call agentialism includes the following commitments. Our capacity to conform our beliefs and other attitudes to our reasons directly—what I’ll call rational agency—has a distinctive normative significance, a significance that distinguishes it in kind from other kinds of agency. Insofar as we exercise rational agency, we are truly authors of our attitudes and responsible for them; and it is in virtue of our rational agency that our beliefs, intentions and other attitudes are truly our own. I will challenge these agentialist claims. My argument centers on a case in which a thinker recognizes that she does not believe what her reasons dictate, and struggles to align her belief to her reasons. In short, her belief is not an expression of rational agency. I will argue that she is nonetheless responsible for the attitude generated by this struggle; that her success in revising her belief expresses her capacities for rationality and agency; and that the belief she eventually arrives at is truly her own. So rational agency is not distinctive in the ways that agentialists contend.

353 University Hall Department of Philosophy philosophy@osu.edu America/New_York public
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“Rational Agency and the Struggle to Believe What Your Reasons Dictate”

An influential view that I call agentialism includes the following commitments. Our capacity to conform our beliefs and other attitudes to our reasons directly—what I’ll call rational agency—has a distinctive normative significance, a significance that distinguishes it in kind from other kinds of agency. Insofar as we exercise rational agency, we are truly authors of our attitudes and responsible for them; and it is in virtue of our rational agency that our beliefs, intentions and other attitudes are truly our own. I will challenge these agentialist claims. My argument centers on a case in which a thinker recognizes that she does not believe what her reasons dictate, and struggles to align her belief to her reasons. In short, her belief is not an expression of rational agency. I will argue that she is nonetheless responsible for the attitude generated by this struggle; that her success in revising her belief expresses her capacities for rationality and agency; and that the belief she eventually arrives at is truly her own. So rational agency is not distinctive in the ways that agentialists contend.