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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Hilary Kornblith

Second Advisor

Ernesto Garcia

Third Advisor

Peter Graham

Fourth Advisor

Andrew Cohen

Subject Categories

Ethics and Political Philosophy | Metaphysics | Other Philosophy


Through the years, many philosophers have appealed to reflective endorsement to address important philosophical problems. In this dissertation, I evaluate the merits of those approaches. I first consider Christine Korsgaard’s appeal to reflective endorsement to solve what she calls “the normative problem.” I then consider Harry Frankfurt’s use of reflective endorsement as part of his account of “caring,” which plays a crucial role in his accounts of agency, free will, and personhood. I then turn to Marilyn Friedman’s use of reflective endorsement to explain autonomous action. Finally, I turn to Alan Gibbard’s use of reflective endorsement as part of an account of what it is to make a normative judgment. I argue that each of these positions is subject to similar problems—they fail to provide a plausible account of the self. In the remaining chapters, I argue that empirical psychological studies suggest that reflective endorsement plays an important role with respect to psychological health, but that judgments made by using a process of reflective endorsement are generally not accurate. Ultimately, I argue that reflective endorsement is valuable, but only under certain circumstances.