CFP: Organon F: The Nature of the Enkratic Requirement of Rationality

Submission deadline: October 1, 2012

Topic areas


Guest Editor: Julian Fink (University of Vienna)

Confirmed contributors:
John Broome (Oxford)
John Brunero (Missouri-St Louis)
Herlinde Pauer-Studer (Vienna)
Christian Piller (York)
Andrew Reisner (Montreal)
Jonathan Way (Southampton)
Ralph Wedgwood (USC)

Invited contributors:
Robert Audi (Notre Dame)
Olav Gjelsvik (Oslo)
Pamela Hieronymi (UCLA)
Bruno Verbeek (Leiden)
Joseph Raz (Columbia/Oxford)

Background and Aims:
It is commonly accepted that rationality requires of us that our intentions cohere – in a specific way – with our normative beliefs. This idea, in perhaps its most simplistic form, is usually represented by the following schematic rational requirement: rationality requires of you that you intend to X if you believe you ought to X. Call this the ‘enkrasia-requirment’ (cf. Broome 2010).

Though many philosophers are sympathetic to the idea that the enkrasia-requirement (or a cognate requirement) represents a genuine requirement of rationality, many fundamental questions regarding its nature, significance, and logical form remain open or have not received sufficient attention. Put succinctly, it is not clear how to formulate the enkrasia-requirement correctly.

In this special issue of Organon F, we thus aim to improve this situation by inviting a broad variety of contributions concerning (but not limited to) the following topical questions:

  1. Why assume that rationality imposes the enkrasia-requirement upon us?  Assume that rationality imposes requirements upon us. For example, rationality requires us not to believe contradictions; to intend the means necessary to our intended ends; to have transitive preferences; etc. That is, crudely speaking, rationality requires us to be consistent and coherent. Why should we think that the enkrasia-requirement is among the requirements issued by rationality? Would it not be more suitable to think of the enkrasia-requirement as a moral or perhaps a prudential requirement? Why is something rationally wrong with us if we fail to intend what we believe we ought to do? These questions are indeed significant. For it is not exactly clear how the conjunction of believing that one ought to X and lacking an intention to X makes an agent incoherent, as the lack of an intention has no content (cf. Kolodny 2005, 528). Consequently, to include the enkrasia-requirement among the requirements of rationality, we need either to construe the notion of rationality so that rationality requires more than coherence among one’s attitudinal contents or to extend the notion of a person’s coherence beyond the coherence of her attitudinal contents.
  2. What makes it the case that an individual is subject to an instance of the enkrasia-requirement?  Suppose rationality requires you, in one sense or another, to intend to do what you believe you ought to do. That you are subject such a requirement must presumably hold in virtue of some particular features that are true of you. For instance, whether or not you had a haircut yesterday will presumably not affect the applicability of this requirement. But which features do affect the applicability of this rational requirement? Are you perhaps subject to this requirement in virtue of the fact that were you to believe that you ought to A without intending to A, you would not be fully rational? Or does the requirement apply to you in virtue of some of your cognitive capacities? What would need to be false of you for you to escape being subject to this requirement?
  3. How does an irrational ought-belief affect the application of the enkrasia-requirement?  Suppose that you believe that you ought to help your neighbors. However, let us assume that this belief is (causally) responsible for your not being fully rational. That is, if you were not to believe that you ought to help your neighbors, you would be fully rational. Are you still rationally required to intend to help your neighbors on the basis of your ought-belief that causes you to be irrational?
  4. What is the logical form of the enkrasia-requirement?  Suppose one asserts that rationality requires of you that you intend to A if you believe you ought to A. Is this assertion correct if (i) we read ‘rationality requires’ as governing only the consequent of the conditional (i.e. ‘you intend to A’)? Or (ii) does ‘rationality requires’ govern the entire conditional (i.e. ‘if you believe you ought to A, then intend to A’). Which of the two logical possibilities represents the enkrasia-requirement correctly?
  5. Is the enkrasia-requirement best formulated as a state- or as a process-requirement?  Does rationality require you to intend to A if you believe you ought to A? Or does rationality require you to form an intention to A whenever you believe that you ought to A and you do not intend to A? More generally, is the enkrasia-requirement formulated best as a requirement on mental states or as a requirement on mental process?
  6. Are the requirements of rationality synchronic or diachronic?  Does the enkrasia-requirement require you to hold particular contemporaneous relations among your ought-beliefs and intentions? Or does it instead, or in addition, require you to hold particular cross-temporal relations among your ought-beliefs and intentions?
  7. Are there normative reasons to satisfy the requirements of rationality?  Suppose you violate an instance of the enkrasia-requirement. So you are not entirely rational. But are you also not entirely as you ought to be? Is the enkrasia-requirement normative? What if you can achieve something you ought to achieve only by violating the enkrasia-requirement? Is there still a normative reason to satisfy the krasia-requirement?
  8. Does the enkrasia-requirement constitute a standard of correct reasoning?  One way to satisfy an instance of the enkrasia-requirement is by reasoning. If you fail to intend to buy a ticket despite your belief that you ought to buy a ticket, you can form an intention to buy a ticket to fly to Rome via reasoning. Intuitively, such a reasoning process will count as correct reasoning. But is it correct because it leads you to satisfy a requirement of rationality? That is, are the requirements of rationality the standards of correct reasoning? Or do we need to account for the correctness of reasoning independently of the requirements of rationality?
  9. Do ought-beliefs rationally cause intentions with or without the help of an external motivational attitude?  Suppose that in a rational subject a belief that one ought to A causes one to form an intention to A. Does one’s ought-belief directly cause one to intend to A (i.e. without the help of an external motivational attitude, such as a desire to do what one ought to do) (internalism)? Or does an ought-belief rationally cause an intention do A only with the help of an external motivational attitude (externalism)?

Broome, John, 'Rationality', in A Companion to the Philosophy of Action, edited by Timothy O'Connor and Constantine Sandis, Blackwell (2010), pp. 285-92.
Kolodny, Niko, ‘Why be rational?’, Mind, 114 (2005), pp. 509-63.

Submission details:
Please send your paper to Julian Fink ([email protected][email protected]>). Papers should submitted in .doc, .rtf, or .txt format. We are happy to consider short contributions (‘Analysis-style’) up to 3000 words or substantial contributions of up to 8000 words. Contributions that do not make it to the special issue may be considered for publication in one of the regular issues of *Organon F*. Submission deadline: October 1st 2012.

Authors of accepted contributions will be invited to a two-day workshop to present and discuss their contributions. The workshop will be held in Bratislava or Vienna in spring 2013. The deadline for the final version of the contributions will be around 8-12 weeks after the workshop, which should allow the authors to incorporate the workshop discussion into their papers.

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