•  193
    Knowing Right From Wrong
    Oxford University Press. 2012.
    Can we have objective knowledge of right and wrong, of how we should live and what there is reason to do? Can it be anything but luck when our moral beliefs are true? Kieran Setiya confronts these questions in their most compelling and articulate forms, and argues that if there is objective ethical knowledge, human nature is its source.
  •  133
    Argues that we do not act intentionally ‘under the guise of the good.’ This makes it hard to explain why akrasia is distinctively irrational; but this is no objection, since it is just as hard to explain on the opposing view. Ends with a problem of akrasia for ethical rationalists.
  •  1
    Imagining reality (review)
    The Philosophers' Magazine 36 89-89. 2006.
  •  273
    Does Moral Theory Corrupt Youth?
    Philosophical Topics 38 (1): 205-222. 2010.
    Argues that the answer is yes. The epistemic assumptions of moral theory deprive us of resources needed to resist the challenge of moral disagreement, which its practice at the same time makes vivid. The paper ends by sketching a kind of epistemology that can respond to disagreement without skepticism: one in which the fundamental standards of justification for moral belief are biased toward the truth
  •  479
    The Midlife Crisis
    Philosophers' Imprint 14. 2014.
    Argues that philosophy can solve the midlife crisis, at least in one of its forms. This crisis turns on the exhaustibility of our ends. The solution is to value ends that are ‘atelic,’ so inexhaustible. Topics include: John Stuart Mill's nervous breakdown; Aristotle on the finality of the highest good; and Schopenhauer on the futility of desire.
  •  257
    Sympathy for the devil
    In Sergio Tenenbaum (ed.), Desire, Practical Reason, and the Good, Oxford University Press. pp. 82--110. 2010.
    Argues that, while human beings may act "under the guise of the good," this is not true of rational agents, as such. Themes discussed along the way – extending the argument of "Reasons without Rationalism" (Princeton, 2007) – include: desires as appearances of the good, the intelligibility of vice, and the kind of essentialist claim that permits exceptions.
  •  252
    Practical Knowledge Revisited
    Ethics 120 (1): 128-137. 2009.
    Argues that the view propounded in "Practical Knowledge" (Ethics 118: 388-409) survives objections made by Sarah Paul ("Intention, Belief, and Wishful Thinking," Ethics 119: 546-557). The response gives more explicit treatment to the nature and epistemology of knowing how.
  •  268
    Internal Reasons
    In Kieran Setiya & Hille Paakkunainen (eds.), Internal Reasons: Contemporary Readings, Mit Press. 2012.
    Argues that "internalism about reasons" owes its appeal to a function argument from the nature of agency. Internalism is thus revealed as a species of ethical rationalism. (This paper introduces a volume of recent work on internal and external reasons.)
  •  4
    Practical Knowledge: Selected Essays
    Oxford University Press. 2016.
    In this collection, Kieran Setiya explores the place of agency in ethics, arguing for a causal theory of intentional action on which it is understood through the knowledge embodied in our intentions, and against the rationalist project of deriving norms of practical reason from the nature of the will.
  •  64
    Is efficiency a vice?
    American Philosophical Quarterly 42 (4). 2005.
    Argues against the form of instrumentalism on which being practically rational is being efficient in the pursuit of one's ends. The trait of means-end efficiency turns out to be a defect of character, and therefore cannot be identified with practical reason at its best.
  •  238
    Believing at Will
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 32 (1): 36-52. 2008.
    Argues that we cannot form beliefs at will without failure of attention or logical confusion. The explanation builds on Williams' argument in "Deciding to Believe," attempting to resolve some well-known difficulties. The paper ends with tentative doubts about the idea of judgement as intentional action.
  •  313
    Love and the Value of a Life
    Philosophical Review 123 (3): 251-280. 2014.
    Argues that there is no one it is irrational to love, that it is rational to act with partiality to those we love, and that the rationality of doing so is not conditional on love. It follows that Anscombe and Taurek are right: you are not required to save three instead of one, even when those you could save are perfect strangers
  •  203
    Argues that, for Anscombe, 'practical knowledge' is only sometimes 'the cause of what it understands.' It is the formal cause when its object is 'formally the description of an executed intention.' Nor is such knowledge confined to the present progressive: we have practical knowledge of the future and the past.
  •  35
    Review of Michael Slote, 'Morals from Motives' (review)
    Philosophical Review 111 (4): 616-618. 2002.
  •  508
    Explaining action
    Philosophical Review 112 (3): 339-393. 2003.
    Argues that, in acting for a reason, one takes that reason to explain one's action, not to justify it: reasons for acting need not be seen "under the guise of the good". The argument turns on the need to explain the place of "practical knowledge" - knowing what one is doing - in intentional action. A revised and expanded version of this material appears in Part One of "Reasons without Rationalism" (Princeton, 2007).
  •  514
    What is a Reason to Act?
    Philosophical Studies 167 (2): 221-235. 2014.
    Argues for a conception of reasons as premises of practical reasoning. This conception is applied to questions about ignorance, advice, enabling conditions, "ought," and evidence.
  •  128
    Transparency and Inference
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (2pt2): 263-268. 2012.
    Argues that doubts about the inference from 'p' to 'I believe that p' do not support reflective theories of self-knowledge over an inferential or rule-following view. (This note is a reply to Matthew Boyle, "Transparent Self-Knowledge," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume 85: 223-241.)
  •  100
    Retrospection
    Philosophers' Imprint 16. 2016.
    Argues from the rationality of nostalgia, affirmation, and regret to a principle of ‘specificity’: it can be rational to respond more strongly to facts that provide us with reasons than to the fact that such reasons exist.
  •  38
    Parfit on direct self-defeat
    Philosophical Quarterly 49 (195): 239-242. 1999.
    In the first part of Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit argues that common‐sense morality, or M, is self‐defeating, so that it must be rejected or revised. I defend M. We can rebut Parfit’s argument if we make an assumption about the moral importance of doing what is morally right. We need to assume that this end has sufficient weight in M
  •  241
    Knowing How
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (3pt3): 285-307. 2012.
    Argues from the possibility of basic intentional action to a non-propositional theory of knowing how. The argument supports a broadly Anscombean conception of the will as a capacity for practical knowledge.
  •  56
    Review of Justin Broackes, ed., 'Iris Murdoch, Philosopher' (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 62 (249): 878-881. 2012.
  •  82
    Broome on Reasons to Act
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (1): 204-210. 2015.
  •  136
    Selfish Reasons
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2. 2015.
    Argues against the rationality of self-concern. Non-instrumental interest in my own well-being is not justified by the fact that it is mine. This follows from the metaphysics of first-person thought, as thought about the object of immediate knowledge. The argument leaves room for rational self-interest as a form of self-love that is justified, like love for others, by the fact of our shared humanity.
  •  98
    Reply to Bratman and Smith
    Analysis 69 (3): 531-540. 2009.
    To begin with, I am deeply grateful to Michael Bratman and Michael Smith for their generosity in responding to my book, for the care with which they have read it, and for the challenge of meeting their objections. I am also grateful for their support and encouragement over the years. It is a pleasure to engage with them here.Because their comments raise many related difficulties, this reply will treat them together, beginning with brief consideration of issues in action theory before turning to …Read more
  •  161
    Murdoch on the Sovereignty of Good
    Philosophers' Imprint 13. 2013.
    Argues for an interpretation of Iris Murdoch on which her account of moral reasons has Platonic roots, and on which she gives an ontological proof of the reality of the Good. This reading explains the structure of Sovereignty, how Murdoch's claims differ from a focus on "thick moral concepts," and how to find coherent arguments in her book.
  •  268
    Cognitivism about Instrumental Reason
    Ethics 117 (4): 649-673. 2007.
    Argues for a "cognitivist" account of the instrumental principle, on which it is the application of theoretical reason to the beliefs that figure in our intentions. This doctrine is put to work in solving a puzzle about instrumental reason that plagues alternative views.
  •  175
    Review of Derek Parfit, 'On What Matters' (review)
    Mind 120 (480): 1281-1288. 2011.
  •  128
    Hume on practical reason
    Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1). 2004.
    Argues that Hume was a sceptic about practical reason only on a rationalist account of what it would have to be. (This version differs substantially from the published paper.).