Jay Jian

Jay Jian

I am a DPhil Candidate studying philosophy in Balliol College, University of Oxford. Prior to my DPhil study, I completed my BPhil degree in Oxford (this time at The Queen’s College) and my B.A. degree in Philosophy and LL.B. degree in Law back in National Taiwan University. My main areas of interest are metaethics, philosophy of action, and the study of normativity and rationality in general. 

In my thesis I first defend the executive conception of instrumental rationality and explain how this conception provides a novel way for us to examine the functional nature of our volitional state and the constitutive rational principles governing it. I then argue how, on the one hand, our volitional state is the most promising subjective source of normative reason for action, and how, on the other hand, our volitional state can provide normative reason for us only if it conforms to its internal constitutive principles: it needs to be feasible, expresses an integrated attitude of us as a whole, and casts independent appeal on its objects if it is to ground any normative reason. From these rational principles I eventually develop an anti-coherentist, function-based account of rationality and a version of normative constructivism that recognizes the difference between the normativity of constitutive principles and that of normative reason.

My research therefore deals with the following topics: the nature of instrumental rationality, the structure of rational agency, constitutivism, subjectivist accounts of normativity, the nature of motivating state and the structural requirements on it, and the function and the stability of intention.
 

I was Non-Stipendiary Lecturer in St John’s College, Oxford and taught tutorials in moral philosophy in Michaelmas Term 2016 and 2017. In Hilary Term 2019 I gave lectures on the key topics in normativity under the faculty lecturing scheme. I have also taught tutorials in philosophy of mind and personal identity in Trinity Term 2018, along with introductory courses on philosophy of mind and political philosophy in secondary and summer schools around Oxford.