Date of Award

August 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Nataliya Palatnik

Committee Members

Nataliya Palatnik, Joshua Spencer, Peter van Elswyk


action theory, Guise of the Good, intention, metaethics, value theory


At the intersection of action theory and value theory is a provocative thesis: the Guise of

the Good. The Guise of the Good (GG) states that whenever an agent acts intentionally, she sees

some good in her action. Thus, according to GG, positive evaluation is essential to the nature of

intentional action. Kieran Setiya (2010), however, argues that it is possible to act intentionally

without believing that there is any reason to count in favor of one’s action: if intentional action is

action for a reason, says Setiya, then the Guise of the Good is false. But I argue that Setiya’s

account is insufficiently sensitive to the relationship that agents bear to their own prospective

actions. I argue that this relationship is inherently normative and that, consequently, the Guise of

the Good is true.

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