Week 11 - Transformative Rationality

We’ll finish up our discussion of criticisms of doxastic agency (Boyle) and reflection (Hieronymi) before turning to this week’s topic, which concerns the question of whether the capacity for rationality (in some sense) radically changes one’s other capacities (e.g. perception) or whether it is merely one additional capacity. We’ll look at two takes on the issue, one for (Boyle), and one against (McLear). I also include some related papers as optional readings.


  • Boyle, “A Different Kind of Mind?
    • This is a useful intro to the basic idea behind the “transformative” view of rationality.
  • Boyle, “Additive Theories of Rationality
    • A more technical discussion, linking it up with arguments by McDowell.
  • McLear, “Rationality: What Difference Does It Make?”
    • I discuss the transformative conception of rationality specifically with respect to the interpretation of Kant
  • (Optional) Schafer, “A System of Rational Faculties: Additive or Transformative?
    • An attempt to provide a more modest conception of the “transformation” provided by rational capacities
  • (Optional) Conant, “Why Kant Is Not a Kantian
    • An application of the transformative conception to the interpretation of Kant