The distinction between the 'right' and 'wrong' kind of reasons is taken to play at least three important roles: 'right' kind but not 'wrong' kinds of reasons contribute to standards of correctness, and in the case of reasons for attitudes, 'right' kind but not 'wrong' kinds of reasons can serve to make attitudes rational, and exhibit at least a strong asymmetry, in that it is at least substantially easier to believe or intend for the 'right' kinds of reasons, if not outright impossible to believe or intend for the 'wrong' kind.
Toxin-puzzle style considerations often lead philosophers to endorse the following thesis:
R is a RK-reason to intend to do A iff R is a reason to do A.
This is because it seems difficult, if not impossible to intend to drink the toxin directly for the reason that so intending will result in a reward, and moreover that believing that so intending will result in a reward doesn't make intending to drink it rational, but only makes acting to get oneself to have that intention rational – corresponding to at least two of the earmarks of a 'wrong'-kind reason.
Proponents of the so-called 'state-given/object-given' distinction appear to go further than this, and claim that all RK-reasons which bear on intention are reasons for or against the object of that intention.
But this raises a puzzle. Plausibly, given the 'right kind of reasons' approach, it is rational to intend to do A just in case the RK-reasons to intend to do A outweigh the RK-reasons to not intend to do A – or alternatively, just in case they outweigh the RK-reasons in favor of each of the alternatives to doing A. But on the face of it, there is more than one alternative to intending to do A – or otherwise put, there is more than one way to not intend to do A. Rather than intending to do A, you can intend to do ~A, true; but another way of not intending to do A is to have no intention one way or the other – to neither intend to do A nor intend to do ~A.
Reasons to do A constitute one kind of RK-reason bearing on the intention to do A, because they are RK-reasons to intend to do A. Reasons to not do A – that is, to do ~A – constitute another kind of RK-reason bearing on the intention to do A, because they are RK-reasons to intend to do ~A – which is one of the alternatives to intending to do A. (This follows merely by substituting '~A' for 'A' in the thesis above.) But then what are the RK-reasons to have neither intention?
In principle, it could be that there are no RK-reasons to have neither intention. But this seems like the view of desperation – if RK-reasons are required for rationality, then it would be a consequence of this option that not intending either way is never rationally the best option, which seems outright false – there are cases in which the most rational thing to do is to wait to make up one's mind.
But if there are RK-reasons to intend neither way, then what are those reasons? The proponents of the so-called 'state-given'/'object-given' theory would have it that all RK-reasons which bear on the rationality of attitudes are reasons which bear on the objects of those attitudes. But we've already used up all of the reasons which bear on doing A – the reasons for doing A are the RK-reasons to intend to do A, and the reasons against doing A – that is, the reasons to do ~A – are the RK-reasons to intend to do ~A. So which reasons that bear on doing A are the RK-reasons to have neither intention, and in what way do they bear on A? That is the question that any proponent of the 'state-given/object-given' distinction must answer, in order to avoid the result that not intending either way is never the most rational course.
I'm very pessimistic about how this question can be answered – am I wrong to be so pessimistic? Or missing out on something else?