Finished reading “Practical Conflicts: New Philosopical Essays“. A practical conflict is when you want A, and B, but A and B cannot be had together.

Best essay is Peter Baumann’s on the paradox of practical reason.

Agents want their goals to be realized: [If an Agent A has a goal G, then A wants that G will be realised (by A or somebody or something else)]. It may follow logically that we want all our goals to be realised: [An Agent has an indefensible reason to want that all his goals will be realised].

But we don’t, which creates a paradox. Realising all goals is successful but boring. [An Agent has an indefensible reason not to want that all his goals will be realised].

There are certain conditions that help to explain out the paradox. The first is working hard for success. We enjoy the goal realisation but on the understanding it will require effort to achieve. The second is future goals. I want to go to New England but I don’t want to go now – there are other things I need to do first. The third is conditional goals. I want to be rich, but I don’t want to make people unhappy.

The ultimate conditional goal might be this: [If and only if not all other goals are going to be realised, then A has the goal that p]. If you could only have one thing, all other things being equal, what would it be? And how would you manage the goal stack, in case the other goals were not going to be realised? When do you pull the chord and go for p?

It also reminded me that Cēterīs paribus means “all other things being equal”.

Tired? Some soothing Stars of the Lid perhaps.

Stars Of The Lid – A Meaningful Moment Through A Meaning(Less) Process