Self-prediction in practical reasoning: Its role and limits

Stephen J. White*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Are predictions about how one will freely and intentionally behave in the future ever relevant to how one ought to behave? There is good reason to think they are. As imperfect agents, we have responsibilities of self-management, which seem to require that we take account of the predictable ways we're liable to go wrong. I defend this conclusion against certain objections to the effect that incorporating predictions concerning one's voluntary conduct into one's practical reasoning amounts to evading responsibility for that conduct. There is, however, some truth to this sort of objection. To understand the legitimate role of self-prediction in practical reasoning, we need to distinguish instances of coping responsibly with an anticipated failure to behave as one ought, on the one hand, from mere acquiescence in one's flaws, on the other. I argue that, to draw this distinction, we must recognize certain limits on the use of self-prediction as a ground of choice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNous
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • actualism
  • possibilism
  • practical reason
  • self-prediction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

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