Fitting Things Together: Coherence and the Demands of Structural Rationality

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2022.10.02 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews

Alex Worsnip, Fitting Things Together: Coherence and the Demands of Structural Rationality, Oxford University Press, 2021, 360pp., $99.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780197608142.

Reviewed by Jonathan Way, University of Southampton

Philosophers often distinguish—if not always in these terms—between substantive rationality and structural rationality. You are substantively rational when you respond correctly to normative reasons—for instance, when you believe what your evidence supports, or make sensible decisions. You are structurally rational, or coherent, when your attitudes ‘fit together right’—for instance, when your beliefs are consistent, and you intend what you take to be the necessary means to your ends. There is a long tradition of seeing structural rationality as having a kind of bedrock, or especially secure, status. For example, while we can intelligibly question the demands of morality, we cannot, it has been thought, raise the same questions about the demands of coherence. One of the most striking developments of normative philosophy over…

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