Instrumental Rationality and Proceeding Acceptably over Time
Keywords:cyclic preferences, incommensurability, instrumental rationality, satisficing, vague ends or projects, momentary vs extended actions
Theories of instrumental rationality often abstract away from the fact that actions are generally temporally extended and from crucial complications associated with this fact. Sergio Tenenbaum’s Rational Powers in Action (2020) reveals and navigates these complications with great acuity, ultimately providing a powerful revisionary picture of instrumental rationality that highlights the extremely limited nature of the standard picture. Given that I share Tenenbaum’s general concerns about the standard picture, my aim is to advance our general approach further by complicating and enriching debate regarding a picture of instrumental rationality that is accountable to the temporally extended nature of our actions and agency via the consideration of a few issues that merit further consideration and exploration. As I explain, despite stemming from or being associated with some important insights, some of the central ideas that Tenenbaum supports need to be qualified, modified, or reconsidered.
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