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Sarah Paul (NYU, Abu Dhabi)
Sarah Paul (NYU, Abu Dhabi)

Tue, 27 Sept


Online Lecture

Sarah Paul (NYU, Abu Dhabi)

Sarah Paul is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at New York University-Abu Dhabi. Her research on agency and the philosophy of mind focuses on the nature of intention and belief.


27 Sept 2022, 15:00 – 17:00 CEST

Online Lecture



Abstract. — We often knowingly pursue goals that can be difficult to achieve, in that many other similar agents have failed in the pursuit of such goals.  When we encounter obstacles and setbacks suggesting that we ourselves might fail, we face the choice of whether to persist or to give up.  How should a rational agent approach this question?  Beri Marušić suggests that it fundamentally depends on whether and to what extent success is "up to you."  Insofar as it is, the question of whether to persist is a practical question to be answered by appeal to reasons for action, while insofar as it is not, the question is theoretical and thus to be decided by the evidence.  I argue that this dichotomy oversimplifies the complexity of many interesting cases, in which the agent is in no position to know what is ultimately up to her.  Our abilities are often enmeshed in social structures that play a critical role in determining whether we can succeed.  We should therefore reframe the question in a way that highlights the multiplicity of factors, including both practical reasons and evidence, that can bear on the rationality of persistence.  I suggest a framing in terms of having "done enough" in pursuit of the goal, and explore the kinds of considerations that can ground claims of the form "I didn't do enough – I gave up too soon."

  • Zoom meeting ID: 614 8076 0079
  • Zoom passcode: CEN22

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