Tenenbaum on Instrumental Reason and the End of Procrastination
Keywords:action, activity, conduct, instrumental reason, pleasure, prudence
In Rational Powers in Action, Sergio Tenenbaum argues that instrumental rationality is constitutively rationality in action. According to his theory, we not only reason to action, we also reason from action: both the major premise and the conclusion of instrumental reasoning are intentional actions in progress. In the paper, I raise three objections. First, the view rests on the assumption of a symmetry between the starting point and the conclusion of instrumental reasoning. But in the cases of telic actions like building a house, the reasoning concludes with the completion of the action. Secondly, Tenenbaum conceives of the nexus between ends and means generally in terms of the relation between a temporally extended whole and its parts. This fails to account for distinction between telic action and conduct or praxis. Third, the theory implies that it is instrumentally irrational to abandon all of one’s ends. But this can’t be shown.
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication, with the work five (5) years after publication licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgment of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
After five years from first publication, Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgment of its initial publication in this journal.