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Summary According to internalists about moral judgment, there is a necessary connection between making a 1st person moral judgment (such as "I morally ought to do F.") and being motivated to act in accordance with that judgment. Externalists about moral judgment deny that there is such a necessary connection. Those who embrace internalism face an apparent difficulty: How could a judgment of fact necessarily motivate? Internalists must provide an answer or assent to moral anti-realism of some kind. Externalists face another difficulty: How is it the case the moral judgments normally motivate agents? 
Key works Internalists arguments are at least as old as Hume 1777 and Kant 1997. More recent philosophers who follow in Hume's internalist anti-realist wake include Hare 1952, Blackburn 1984, and Gibbard 1990. Those who favor Kant's interalist realism number Smith 1994 and Korsgaard 1996 among them. Railton 1986Brink 1989, and Sturgeon 2006 make the case for externalism.
Introductions Rosati 2006 Finlay & Schroeder 2008
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  1. Chrisoula Andreou (2007). Morality and Psychology. Philosophy Compass 2 (1):46–55.
    This article briefly discusses the connection between moral philosophy and moral psychology, and then explores three intriguing areas of inquiry that fall within the intersection of the two fields. The areas of inquiry considered focus on (1) debates concerning the nature of moral judgments and moral motivation; (2) debates concerning good and bad character traits and character-based explanations of actions; and (3) debates concerning the role of moral rules in guiding the morally wise agent.
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  2. Dorit Bar-On & Matthew Chrisman (2009). Ethical Neo-Expressivism. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, vol. 4. Oup Oxford. 132-65.
    A standard way to explain the connection between ethical claims and motivation is to say that these claims express motivational attitudes. Unless this connection is taken to be merely a matter of contingent psychological regularity, it may seem that there are only two options for understanding it. We can either treat ethical claims as expressing propositions that one cannot believe without being at least somewhat motivated (subjectivism), or we can treat ethical claims as nonpropositional and as having their semantic content (...)
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  3. Matthew S. Bedke (2009). Moral Judgment Purposivism: Saving Internalism From Amoralism. Philosophical Studies 144 (2):189 - 209.
    Consider orthodox motivational judgment internalism: necessarily, A’s sincere moral judgment that he or she ought to φ motivates A to φ. Such principles fail because they cannot accommodate the amoralist, or one who renders moral judgments without any corresponding motivation. The orthodox alternative, externalism, posits only contingent relations between moral judgment and motivation. In response I first revive conceptual internalism by offering some modifications on the amoralist case to show that certain community-wide motivational failures are not conceptually possible. Second, I (...)
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  4. David M. Bersoff (1999). Explaining Unethical Behaviour Among People Motivated to Act Prosocially. Journal of Moral Education 28 (4):413-428.
    Moral reasoning theorists working in the constructivist tradition have tended to explain unethical behaviour by assuming that a breakdown occurs in the link between a person's moral judgement within a particular situation and his ultimate behaviour in that situation. This breakdown is usually seen as being the result of the individual ignoring his deontic judgement in favour of meeting a competing, non-moral social obligation or of fulfilling a selfish interest. This model of unethical behaviour has led to suggestions that moral (...)
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  5. Fredrik Björklund, Gunnar Björnsson, John Eriksson, Ragnar Francén Olinder & Caj Strandberg (2012). Recent Work on Motivational Internalism. Analysis 72 (1):124-137.
    Reviews work on moral judgment motivational internalism from the last two decades.
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  6. Gunnar Björnsson (2002). How Emotivism Survives Immoralists, Irrationality, and Depression. Southern Journal of Philosophy 40 (3):327-344.
    Argues that emotivism is compatible with cases where we seem to lack motivation to act according to our moral opinions.
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  7. Gunnar Björnsson (1998). Moral Internalism: An Essay in Moral Psychology. Dissertation, Stockholm University
    An ancient but central divide in moral philosophy concerns the nature of opinions about what is morally wrong or what our moralduties are. Some philosophers argue that moral motivation is internal to moral opinions: that moral opinions consist of motivationalstates such as desires or emotions. This has often been seen as athreat to the possibility of rational argument and justification inmorals. Other philosophers argue that moral motivation is external to moral opinion: moral opinions should be seen as beliefs about moral (...)
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  8. Gunnar Björnsson, John Eriksson, Caj Strandberg, Ragnar Francén Olinder & Fredrik Björklund (forthcoming). Motivational Internalism and Folk Intuitions. Philosophical Psychology:1-20.
    Motivational internalism postulates a necessary connection between moral judgments and motivation. In arguing for and against internalism, metaethicists traditionally appeal to intuitions about cases, but crucial cases often yield conflicting intuitions. One way to try to make progress, possibly uncovering theoretical bias and revealing whether people have conceptions of moral judgments required for noncognitivist accounts of moral thinking, is to investigate non-philosophers' willingness to attribute moral judgments. A pioneering study by Shaun Nichols seemed to undermine internalism, as a large majority (...)
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  9. Gunnar Björnsson & Ragnar Francén Olinder (2013). Internalists Beware—We Might All Be Amoralists! Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (1):1 - 14.
    Standard motivational internalism is the claim that by a priori or conceptual necessity, a psychological state is a moral opinion only if it is suitably related to moral motivation. Many philosophers, the authors of this paper included, have assumed that this claim is supported by intuitions to the effect that amoralists?people not suitably related to such motivation?lack moral opinions proper. In this paper we argue that this assumption is mistaken, seeming plausible only because defenders of standard internalism have failed to (...)
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  10. Gunnar Björnsson, Caj Strandberg, Ragnar Francén Olinder, John Eriksson & Fredrik Björklund (eds.) (forthcoming). Motivational Internalism. Oxford University Press.
    Motivational internalism—the idea that there is an intrinsic or necessary connection between moral judgment and moral motivation—is a central thesis in a number of metaethical debates. In conjunction with a Humean picture of motivation, it provides a challenge for cognitivist theories that take moral judgments to concern objective aspects of reality. Versions of internalism have potential implications for moral absolutism, realism, non-naturalism, and rationalism. Being a constraint on more detailed conceptoins of moral motivation and moral judgment, it is also directly (...)
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  11. E. J. Bond (1983). Reason and Value. Cambridge University Press.
    The relations between reason, motivation and value present problems which, though ancient, remain intractable. If values are objective and rational how can they move us and if they are dependent on our contingent desires how can they be rational? E. J. Bond makes a bold attack on this dilemma. The widespread view among philosophers today is that judgements contain an irreducible element of personal commitment. To this Professor Bond proposes an account of values as objective and value judgements as true (...)
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  12. David O. Brink, A Puzzle About Moral Motivation.
    Our puzzle about moral motivation can be seen as a tension that we encounter when we try to reconcile intellectual and practical aspects of morality. Cognitivists interpret moral judgments as expressing cognitive attitudes, such as belief. Moral judgments ascribe properties – axiological, deontic, and aretaic – to persons, actions, institutions, and policies. Internalists believe that moral judgments necessarily engage the will and motivate. We expect people to be motivated to act in accord with their moral judgments and would find it (...)
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  13. David O. Brink, Handout #3: Moral Motivation and Externalism.
    This argument would show weak internalism to be a conceptual truth. But this argument is not compelling. Sometimes when we say that I have a reason to φ, we mean • (a) There is a behavioral norm that enjoins φ-ing and applies to me. In this sense of reason, moral norms do imply reasons. There are as many kinds of reasons as there are norms, including moral reasons, legal reasons, reasons of etiquette. But we often have something more in mind (...)
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  14. Danielle Bromwich (2013). Motivational Internalism and the Challenge of Amoralism. European Journal of Philosophy 22 (2).
    Motivational internalism is the thesis that captures the commonplace thought that moral judgements are necessarily motivationally efficacious. But this thesis appears to be in tension with another aspect of our ordinary moral experience. Proponents of the contrast thesis, motivational externalism, cite everyday examples of amoralism to demonstrate that it is conceptually possible to be completely unmoved by what seem to be sincere first-person moral judgements. This paper argues that the challenge of amoralism gives us no reason to reject or modify (...)
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  15. Danielle Bromwich (2011). How Not to Argue for Motivational Internalism. In Thom Brooks (ed.), New Waves in Ethics. Palgrave MacMillan. 64-87.
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  16. Danielle Bromwich (2010). Clearing Conceptual Space for Cognitivist Motivational Internalism. Philosophical Studies 148 (3):343 - 367.
    Cognitivist motivational internalism is the thesis that, if one believes that 'It is right to ϕ', then one will be motivated to ϕ. This thesis—which captures the practical nature of morality—is in tension with a Humean constraint on belief: belief cannot motivate action without the assistance of a conceptually independent desire. When defending cognitivist motivational internalism it is tempting to either argue that the Humean constraint only applies to non-moral beliefs or that moral beliefs only motivate ceteris paribus . But (...)
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  17. Charlotte Brown (1988). Is Hume an Internalist? Journal of the History of Philosophy 26 (1):69-87.
    Hume is committed, By one of his criticisms of reason as the route to moral knowledge, To an internalist position. In the argument from motivation, Hume starts by observing that morality is practical--That morals excite passions and produce or prevent actions. But, Hume argues, Rationalist moral theories cannot explain how moral considerations motivate. This is because reason alone is incapable of motivating us. The premise that morality is practical, However, May be interpreted in two ways--Either in an externalist or internalist (...)
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  18. Richmond Campbell (2007). What is Moral Judgment? Journal of Philosophy 104 (7):321-49.
    Moral knowledge appears to require moral judgments to be states of belief, yet they must at the same time be states of desire and feeling if they embody the motivation that we feel when we make moral judgments. How can the same judgment be a state of belief and a state of desire or feeling, simultaneously? [...] This problem may be resolved, I shall contend, by understanding moral judgments to be complex, multifunctional states that normally comprise both states of belief (...)
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  19. Michael Cholbi (2011). Depression, Listlessness, and Moral Motivation. Ratio 24 (1):28-45.
    Motivational internalism (MI) holds that, necessarily, if an agent judges that she is morally obligated to ø, then, that agent is, to at least some minimal extent, motivated to ø. Opponents of MI sometimes invoke depression as a counterexample on the grounds that depressed individuals appear to sincerely affirm moral judgments but are ‘listless’ and unmotivated by such judgments. Such listlessness is a credible counterexample to MI, I argue, only if the actual clinical disorder of depression, rather than a merely (...)
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  20. Michael Cholbi (2006). Belief Attribution and the Falsification of Motive Internalism. Philosophical Psychology 19 (5):607 – 616.
    The metatethical position known as motive internalism (MI) holds that moral beliefs are necessarily motivating. Adina Roskies (in Philosophical Psychology, 16) has recently argued against MI by citing patients with injuries to the ventromedial (VM) cortex as counterexamples to MI. Roskies claims that not only do these patients not act in accordance with their professed moral beliefs, they exhibit no physiological or affective evidence of being motivated by these beliefs. I argue that Roskies' attempt to falsify MI is unpersuasive because (...)
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  21. Michael Cholbi (2006). Moral Belief Attribution: A Reply to Roskies. Philosophical Psychology 19 (5):629 – 638.
    I here defend my earlier doubts that VM patients serve as counterexamples to motivational internalism by highlighting the difficulties of belief attribution in light of holism about the mental and by suggesting that a better understanding of the role of emotions in the self-attribution of moral belief places my earlier Davidsonian "theory of mind" argument in a clearer light.
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  22. Philip Clark (2004). Kantian Morals and Humean Motives. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (1):109–126.
    The idea that moral imperatives are categorical is commonly used to support internalist claims about moral judgment. I argue that the categorical quality of moral requirements shows at most that moral motivation need not flow from a background desire to be moral. It does not show that moral judgments can motivate by themselves, or that amoralism is impossible.
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  23. Christine Clavien (2010). An Affective Approach to Moral Motivation. Journal of Cognitive Science 11 (2):129-160.
    Over the last few years, there has been a surge of work in a new field called “moral psychology”, which uses experimental methods to test the psychological processes underlying human moral activity. In this paper, I shall follow this line of approach with the aim of working out a model of how people form value judgements and how they are motivated to act morally. I call this model an “affective picture”: ‘picture’ because it remains strictly at the descriptive level and (...)
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  24. Allen Coates (2006). Ethical Internalism and Cognitive Theories of Motivation. Philosophical Studies 129 (2):295 - 315.
    Cognitive internalism is the view that moral judgments are both cognitive and motivating. Philosophers have found cognitive internalism to be attractive in part because it seems to offer support for the idea that moral reasons are categorical, that is, independent of agents’ desires. In this paper, I argue that it offers no such support.
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  25. David Copp (2006). Review: Ethics and the A Priori: Selected Essays on Moral Psychology and Meta-Ethics. [REVIEW] Mind 115 (458):476-481.
  26. Terence D. Cuneo (1999). An Externalist Solution to the "Moral Problem&Quot;. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (2):359-380.
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  27. Jonathan Dancy (1993). Moral Reasons. Blackwell.
    This book attempts to place a realist view of ethics (the claim that there are facts of the matter in ethics as elsewhere) within a broader context. It starts with a discussion of why we should mind about the difference between right and wrong, asks what account we should give of our ability to learn from our moral experience, and looks in some detail at the different sorts of ways in which moral reasons can combine to show us what we (...)
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  28. James Dreier (2000). Dispositions and Fetishes: Externalist Models of Moral Motivation. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (3):619-638.
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  29. James Dreier (2000). Dispositions and Fetishes. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (3):619 - 638.
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  30. James Dreier (1990). Internalism and Speaker Relativism. Ethics 101 (1):6-26.
    In this article I set out a reason for believing in a form of metaethical relativism. In rough terms, the reason is this: a widely held thesis, internalism, tells us that to accept (sincerely assert, believe, etc.) a moral judgment logically requires having a motivating reason. Since the connection is logical, or conceptual, it must be explained by a theory of what it is to accept a moral claim. I argue that the internalist feature of moral expressions can best be (...)
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  31. James Lawrence Dreier (ed.) (2006). Contemporary Debates in Moral Theory. Blackwell Pub..
    Contemporary Debates in Moral Theory features pairs of newly commissioned essays by some of the leading theorists working in the field today. Brings together fresh debates on the most controversial issues in moral theory Questions include: Are moral requirements derived from reason? How demanding is morality? Are virtues the proper starting point for moral theorizing? Lively debate format sharply defines the issues, and paves the way for further discussion. Will serve as an accessible introduction to the major topics in contemporary (...)
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  32. Kenneth M. Ehrenberg (2008). Archimedean Metaethics Defended. Metaphilosophy 39 (4-5):508-529.
    Abstract: We sometimes say our moral claims are "objectively true," or are "right, even if nobody believes it." These additional claims are often taken to be staking out metaethical positions, representative of a certain kind of theorizing about morality that "steps outside" the practice in order to comment on its status. Ronald Dworkin has argued that skepticism about these claims so understood is not tenable because it is impossible to step outside such practices. I show that externally skeptical metaethical theory (...)
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  33. John Eriksson (2006). Moved by Morality: An Essay on the Practicality of Moral Thought and Talk. Dissertation, Uppsala University
    It is part of our everyday experience that there is a reliable connection between moral opinions and motivation. Thinking that an act is right (wrong) tends to be accompanied by motivation to (avoid to) perform the act in question. This is mirrored in moral talk. We tend to think that someone who says that he thinks that it is right (wrong) to act in a certain way without being motivated, to some extent, will most likely be speaking insincerely. Moveover, moral (...)
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  34. Adam Feltz & Edward T. Cokely (2012). Virtue or Consequences: The Folk Against Pure Evaluational Internalism. Philosophical Psychology 26 (5):702-717.
    Evaluational internalism holds that only features internal to agency (e.g., motivation) are relevant to attributions of virtue [Slote, M. (2001). Morals from motives. Oxford: Oxford University Press]. Evaluational externalism holds that only features external to agency (e.g., consequences) are relevant to attributions of virtue [Driver, J. (2001). Uneasy virtue. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press]. Many evaluational externalists and internalists claim that their view best accords with philosophically naïve (i.e., folk) intuitions, and that accordance provides argumentative support for their view. Evaluational internalism (...)
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  35. Ragnar Francén Olinder (2012). Svavarsdóttir's Burden. Philosophia 40 (3):577-589.
    It is sometimes observed that the debate between internalists and externalists about moral motivation seems to have reached a deadlock. There are those who do, and those who don’t, recognize the intuitive possibility of amoralists: i.e. people having moral opinions without being motivated to act accordingly. This makes Sigrun Svavarsdóttir’s methodological objection to internalism especially interesting, since it promises to break the deadlock through building a case against internalism (construed as a conceptual thesis), not on such intuitions, but on a (...)
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  36. Ragnar Francén (2010). Moral Motivation Pluralism. Journal of Ethics 14 (2):117-148.
    Motivational externalists and internalists of various sorts disagree about the circumstances under which it is conceptually possible to have moral opinions but lack moral motivation. Typically, the evidence referred to are intuitions about whether people in certain scenarios who lack moral motivation count as having moral opinions. People’s intuitions about such scenarios diverge, however. I argue that the nature of this diversity is such that, for each of the internalist and externalist theses, there is a strong prima facie reason to (...)
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  37. Ragnar Francén (2007). Metaethical Relativism: Against the Single Analysis Assumption. Dissertation, University of Gothenburg
    This dissertation investigates the plausibility of metaethical relativism, or more specifically, what I call “moral truth-value relativism”: the idea that the truth of a moral statement or belief depends on who utters or has it, or who assesses it. According to the most prevalent variants of this view in philosophical literature – “standard relativism” – the truth-values are relative to people’s moralities, often understood as some subset of their affective or desirelike attitudes. Standard relativism has two main contenders: absolutism – (...)
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  38. Joshua Gert (2008). Michael Smith and the Rationality of Immoral Action. Journal of Ethics 12 (1):1 - 23.
    Although it goes against a widespread significant misunderstanding of his view, Michael Smith is one of the very few moral philosophers who explicitly wants to allow for the commonsense claim that, while morally required action is always favored by some reason, selfish and immoral action can also be rationally permissible. One point of this paper is to make it clear that this is indeed Smith’s view. It is a further point to show that his way of accommodating this claim is (...)
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  39. James Griffin (1998). Value Judgement: Improving Our Ethical Beliefs. Clarendon Press.
    James Griffin asks how, and how much, we can improve our ethical standards not lift our behaviour closer to our standards but refine the standards themselves. To give an answer to this question it is necessary to answer most of the questions of ethics. So Value Judgement includes discussion of what a good life is like, where the boundaries of the `natural world' come, how values relate to that world, how great human capacitiesthe ones important to ethicsare, and where moral (...)
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  40. Edward Hinchman (2005). Advising as Inviting to Trust. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 35 (3):355-386.
    How can you give your interlocutor a reason to act? One way is by manipulating his deliberative context through threats, flattery, or other incentives. Another is by addressing him in the way distinctive of reasoning with him. I aim to account for the possibility of this non-manipulative form of address by showing how it is realized through the performance of a specific illocutionary act, that of advising as inviting to trust. I argue that exercise of a capacity for reasonable trust (...)
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  41. Terry Horgan & Mark Timmons (2007). Morphological Rationalism and the Psychology of Moral Judgment. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (3):279 - 295.
    According to rationalism regarding the psychology of moral judgment, people’s moral judgments are generally the result of a process of reasoning that relies on moral principles or rules. By contrast, intuitionist models of moral judgment hold that people generally come to have moral judgments about particular cases on the basis of gut-level, emotion-driven intuition, and do so without reliance on reasoning and hence without reliance on moral principles. In recent years the intuitionist model has been forcefully defended by Jonathan Haidt. (...)
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  42. Marion Hourdequin (2012). Empathy, Shared Intentionality, and Motivation by Moral Reasons. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (3):403 - 419.
    Internalists about reasons generally insist that if a putative reason, R, is to count as a genuine normative reason for a particular agent to do something, then R must make a rational connection to some desire or interest of the agent in question. If internalism is true, but moral reasons purport to apply to agents independently of the particular desires, interests, and commitments they have, then we may be forced to conclude that moral reasons are incoherent. Richard Joyce (2001) develops (...)
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  43. Hilla Jacobson-Horowitz (2006). Motivational Cognitivism and the Argument From Direction of Fit. Philosophical Studies 127 (3):561 - 580.
    An important argument for the belief-desire thesis is based on the idea that an agent can be motivated to act only if her mental states include one which aims at changing the world, that is, one with a “world-to-mind”, or “telic”, direction of fit. Some cognitivists accept this claim, but argue that some beliefs, notably moral ones, have not only a “mind-to-world”, or “thetic”, direction of fit, but also a telic one. The paper first argues that this cognitivist reply is (...)
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  44. Richard Joyce (2002). Expressivism and Motivation Internalism. Analysis 62 (4):336–344.
    The task of this paper is to argue that expressivism [the thesis that moral judgements function to express desires, emotions, or pro/con attitudes] neither implies, nor is implied by, [motivational internalism].
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  45. Antti Kauppinen (forthcoming). Intuition and Belief in Moral Motivation. In Gunnar Björnsson (ed.), Moral Internalism.
    It seems to many that moral opinions must make a difference to what we’re motivated to do, at least in suitable conditions. For others, it seems that it is possible to have genuine moral opinions that make no motivational difference. Both sides – internalists and externalists about moral motivation – can tell persuasive stories of actual and hypothetical cases. My proposal for a kind of reconciliation is to distinguish between two kinds of psychological states with moral content. There are both (...)
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  46. Antti Kauppinen (2010). Moral Judgment and Volitional Incapacity. In Michael O'Rourke (ed.), Topics in Contemporary Philosophy vol. 7. MIT Press.
    The central question of the branch of metaethics we may call philosophical moral psychology concerns the nature or essence of moral judgment: what is it to think that something is right or wrong, good or bad, obligatory or forbidden? One datum in this inquiry is that sincerely held moral views appear to influence conduct: on the whole, people do not engage in behaviours they genuinely consider base or evil, sometimes even when they would stand to benefit from it personally. Moral (...)
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  47. Antti Kauppinen (2008). Moral Internalism and the Brain. Social Theory and Practice 34 (1):1-24.
    In this article, the author discusses the methodology of the internalism debate and the role that neuroscience and related experimental methods can play in it. The author argues that findings in either actual or fictional experimental psychology or neuroscience have little relevance to the debate. He claims that the findings do not provide any independent support pro or con internalism. He also observes that the traditional view of the methodological autonomy of philosophical moral psychology remains well-grounded.
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  48. Uriah Kriegel (2012). Moral Motivation, Moral Phenomenology, And The Alief/Belief Distinction. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):469-486.
    In a series of publications, Tamar Gendler has argued for a distinction between belief and what she calls ?alief?. Gendler's argument for the distinction is a serviceability argument: the distinction is indispensable for explaining a whole slew of phenomena, typically involving ?belief-behaviour mismatch?. After embedding Gendler's distinction in a dual-process model of moral cognition, I argue here that the distinction also suggests a possible (dis)solution of what is perhaps the organizing problem of contemporary moral psychology: the apparent tension between the (...)
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  49. Kristján Kristjánsson (2013). Aristotelian Motivational Externalism. Philosophical Studies 164 (2):419-442.
    Recent virtue theorists in psychology implicitly assume the truth of motivational internalism, and this assumption restricts the force and scope of the message that they venture to offer as scientists. I aim to contrive a way out of their impasse by arguing for a version of Aristotelian motivational externalism and suggesting why these psychologists should adopt it. There is a more general problem, however. Although motivational externalism has strong intuitive appeal, at least for moral realists and ‘Humeans’ about motivation, it (...)
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  50. Derek Leben & Kristine Wilckens (forthcoming). Pushing the Intuitions Behind Moral Internalism. Philosophical Psychology:1-19.
    Moral Internalism proposes a necessary link between judging that an action is right/wrong and being motivated to perform/avoid that action. Internalism is central to many arguments within ethics, including the claim that moral judgments are not beliefs, and the claim that certain types of moral skepticism are incoherent. However, most of the basis for accepting Internalism rests on intuitions that have recently been called into question by empirical work. This paper further investigates the intuitions behind Internalism. Three experiments show not (...)
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