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Title: Avoiding the One Thought Too Many: Essays on Virtuous Agency
Authors: Joshi, Hrishikesh Suhas
Advisors: Smith, Michael
Rosen, Gideon
Contributors: Philosophy Department
Keywords: Agency
Subjects: Ethics
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation is about the role of moral beliefs within virtuous agency. I argue that this role has been overestimated – having, and being guided by, the correct moral beliefs is neither necessary nor sufficient for virtuous action. Chapter 2 argues that certain agents can act rationally even if they act contrary to their beliefs about what they ought to do. The main task of this chapter is then to accommodate the platitude that there is something irrational going on in an akratic agent. Virtuous agents, I suggest, are those in whom the normative structure of the reasons they have is mirrored in the motivational structure they exhibit. Key to this picture is the notion of taking there to be a reason, which I analyze in terms of dispositions to reason. The task of Chapter 3 is to give an account of reasoning (or inference), which eschews the ideology of taking there to be a reason, thus challenging the dominant strand in the literature. The fourth chapter gives an account of the subjective ought – the ought that is tied to practical rationality and praise/blame. According to some authors, an agent ought to φ in this sense just in case she believes she ought to φ. Others argue that only non-moral beliefs are relevant to determining what one ought to do in this sense. I argue for the claim that the agent’s beliefs, be they moral or non-moral, are irrelevant – what matters is the agent’s total evidence. Furthermore, I argue, what an agent subjectively ought to do is what her maximally virtuous counterpart (but importantly, one who is not idealized in other ways) with the same total evidence would do given her circumstances.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Philosophy

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