Setting Ends for Oneself through Reason
Kantians argue that rationality includes a capacity to ‘set ends through reason’, including rationally optional ends. But little attention has been given to the question: ‘In what sense are such ends set through reason rather than given by desire or interest?’ This chapter develops a procedural account, on which rationally setting oneself an end has two distinct ‘moments’: an ‘evaluative moment’, in which one assesses the value of some end in which one has an interest; and a ‘moment of commitment’, in which one adopts the end. Practical reason structures each. Regarding the first moment, sound judgements about the value of an end, result from a procedure of deliberation that incorporates certain formal constraints. Regarding the second, committing oneself to an end that one judges to be worthwhile creates an additional reason or requirement to pursue the end, as long as that commitment remains in place.
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