Book Reviews 249 someone’s head to a table is that the person failed to show due respect, even though in an absolute sense we would want to say that that is not a reason for that action’ (pp. 100–1). An internalist can readily make sense of this example. Apparently, the Kray twins accept a norm according to which anyone who fails to show due respect should be severely punished. This makes their behaviour rational, even though from a more objective point of view the punishments are disproportionate, to say the least. Given that he regards the rationality of an action as an objective fact, however, Stout cannot appeal to mental states in order to defend the idea that the Kray twins act rationally in one sense but not in another. The notion of a version of practical rationality provides for an alternative. Different versions of practical ratio- nality govern different agents depending, for instance, on an agent’s reper- toire of basic activity. It is hard to see, however, how a version of practical rationality can be characterized in more detail without recourse to some system of beliefs and desires. Stout’s attempt to do so involves embracing the idea that
Mind – Oxford University Press
Published: Jan 12, 2010
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