XV - Agents and patients, or: What we learn about reasons for action by reflecting on our choices in process-of-thought cases

Michael Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Can we draw substantive conclusions about the reasons for action agents have from premisses about the desires of their idealized counterparts? The answer is that we can. The argument for this conclusion is Rawlsian in spirit, focusing on the choices that our idealized counterparts must make simply in virtue of being ideal, and inferring from these choices the contents of the desires that they must have. It turns out that our idealized counterparts must have desires in which we ourselves figure as both agents and patients, and in which others must figure too, though only as patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-331
Number of pages23
JournalProceedings of the Aristotelian Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes

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