FAKKIR.XYZ | JURNAL – Recent interest in the nature and presuppositions of instrumental rationality was inspired to a considerable degree by arguments designed to show that it presupposes other forms or kinds of rationality, or (to put it in the nonequivalent way in which the point is more commonly put) that claims that there are reasons to pursue the means to our ends presuppose that the ends themselves are worth pursuing, or that there re adequate reasons for pursuing them. The discussion of instrumental rationality is bound up with discussions of instrumental reasons and of instrumental reasoning that guides deliberation, and which, other things being equal, it is irrational knowingly to flout. The interest in understanding instrumental rationality was thus at least partly a result of an interest in – often hostility to – an ambitious claim, namely that all practical reasons are instrumental, that practical normativity is about the normativity of following the means to our ends.

I say little about this issue. My main aim is to explain the normative character of the phenomena that are commonly discussed when theoretical writers discuss instrumental rationality and instrumental reasons. The discussion will assume that there are forms of practical normativity, of practical reasons, which are not instrumental in nature. The question central to the inquiry is what, if any, normative difference does adopting or having an end make? For example, are there instrumental reasons and, if there are, how do they relate to having ends? Are instrumental reasons distinctive kinds of reasons, whose normativity differs in its underlying rationale from that of, say, moral reasons, or of other kinds of reasons? Similarly, is instrumental rationality a distinct form of rationality?.

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