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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. M. Bagaric (2002). Internalism and the Part-Time Moralist: An Essay About the Objectivity of Moral Judgments. Consciousness and Emotion 2 (2):255-271.
    This paper contends that internalism with respect moral motivation (the view that we are always moved to act in accordance with our moral judgments) is wrong. While internalism can accommodate amoralists, it cannot explain the phenomenon of ‘part-time moralists’ — the person who is (ostensibly at least) moved by some of his or her moral judgments but not others — and hence should be rejected. This suggests that moral judgments are beliefs (or conscious representations) as opposed to desires. It is (...)
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  3. 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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  4. Stephen Barker (2014). Pure Versus Hybrid Expressivism and the Enigma of Conventional Implicature. In Guy Fletcher & Mike Ridge (eds.), Having it Both Ways: Hybrid Theories and Modern
Metaethics. Oxford.
    Can hybridism about moral claims be made to work? I argue it can if we accept the conventional implicature approach developed in Barker (Analysis 2000). However, this kind of hybrid expressivism is only acceptable if we can make sense of conventional implicature, the kind of meaning carried by operators like ‘even’, ‘but’, etc. Conventional implictures are a form of pragmatic presupposition, which involves an unsaid mode of delivery of content. I argue that we can make sense of conventional implicatures, but (...)
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  5. Luz Marina Barreto, Moral Reasoning. Moral Motivation and the Rational Foundation of Morals.
    In the following paper I will examine the possibility for a rational foundation of morals, rational in the sense that to ground a moral statement on reason amounts to being able to convince an unmotivated agent to conform to a moral rule - that is to say, to “rationally motivate” him (as Habermas would have said) to act in ways for which he or she had no previous reason to act. We will scrutinize the “internalist’s” objection (in Williams’ definition) to (...)
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  6. Julia Bartkowiak (1993). The Role of Internalism in Moral Theory. Auslegung 19 (1):47-61.
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  7. Julia Joan Bartkowiak (1990). Internalism--The Basis of Ethical Theory. Dissertation, The University of Rochester
    Internalism and externalism in ethical theory are two opposing positions concerning the connection between moral obligation and an agent's motivations. Internalism is the view that motivation is a necessary part of moral obligation, and externalism is a denial of internalism. According to externalism, an agent can have a moral obligation to perform a particular action even though the agent lacks a motive for performing that action. The main objective of this dissertation is to focus attention on, and solve, this fundamental (...)
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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. Gunnar Björnsson, John Eriksson, Caj Strandberg, Ragnar Francén Olinder & Fredrik Björklund (2014). Motivational Internalism and Folk Intuitions. Philosophical Psychology 28 (5):715-734.
    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 disagreement, 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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  14. 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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  15. Gunnar Björnsson, Caj Strandberg, Ragnar Francén Olinder, John Eriksson & Fredrik Björklund (eds.) (2015). 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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  16. Christopher Lee Blakey (1998). Moral Sensibility Theory and Moral Objectivity. Dissertation, University of California, Riverside
    Sensibility theory is a metaethical view whose constituent philosophical positions include moral cognitivism, moral internalism, and the Humean theory of action. Each of these theses possesses a high degree of plausibility when considered individually, but the triad is often thought to be jointly inconsistent. If motivation requires a desire, and if moral judgment expresses only belief, then motivation cannot be internal to that judgment. Alternatively, and again assuming motivation requires a desire, if motivation is internal to the acceptance of a (...)
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  17. 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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  18. David Braddon-Mitchell (2006). Believing Falsely Makes It So. Mind 115 (460):833-866.
    that there is something rationally or conceptually defective in judging that an act is right without being in any way motivated towards it—is one which has tended to lead either to error theories of ethics on the one hand, or acceptance of the truth of internalism on the other. This paper argues that it does play a kind of subject-setting role, but that our responses to cases can be rationalised without requiring that internalism is true for ethical realism to be (...)
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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. David O. Brink (2008). The Significance of Desire. Oxford Studies in Metaethics 3:5-45.
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  22. Danielle Bromwich (2013). Motivational Internalism and the Challenge of Amoralism. European Journal of Philosophy 23 (1):n/a-n/a.
    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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. Vanessa Carbonell (2013). De Dicto Desires and Morality as Fetish. Philosophical Studies 163 (2):459-477.
    Abstract It would be puzzling if the morally best agents were not so good after all. Yet one prominent account of the morally best agents ascribes to them the exact motivational defect that has famously been called a “fetish.” The supposed defect is a desire to do the right thing, where this is read de dicto . If the morally best agents really are driven by this de dicto desire, and if this de dicto desire is really a fetish, then (...)
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  28. 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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  29. 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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  30. 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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  31. 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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  32. 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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  33. 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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  34. Aaron Cobb (unknown). Do Objections to Motivational Judgment Internalism Cripple Gibbard's Account? Proceedings of the Heraclitean Society 20.
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  35. James Brian Coleman (2002). Practical Reason and the Requirements of Internalism. Dissertation, Purdue University
    The present state of the traditional empiricist/rationalist debate in ethics takes as its main focus the motivational capacity of practical reason. There are two groups of views on the issue. On one side, there are Humean naturalists, who argue that only beliefs and desires are sufficient for motivation, and on the other, Kantian rationalists, who claim that rationality as such is capable of motivating morally. I discuss critically a particular rationalist proposal, namely, Christine Korsgaard's influential formulation of what she calls (...)
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  36. David Copp (2006). Review: Ethics and the A Priori: Selected Essays on Moral Psychology and Meta-Ethics. [REVIEW] Mind 115 (458):476-481.
  37. David Copp (1997). Belief, Reason, and Motivation: Michael Smith's "the Moral Problem". Ethics 108 (1):33-54.
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  38. Terence D. Cuneo (1999). An Externalist Solution to the "Moral Problem". Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (2):359-380.
    In his recent book, The Moral Problem , Michael Smith presents a number of arguments designed to expose the difficulties with so-called 'extcrnalist' theories of motivation. This essay endeavors to defend externalism from Smith's attacks. I attempt three tasks in the essay. First, I try to clarify and reformulate Smith's distinction between internalism and externalism. Second, I formulate two of Smith's arguments- what I call the 'reliability argument' and 'the rationalist argument' -and attempt to show that these arguments fail to (...)
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  39. 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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  40. Stephen L. Darwall (1992). Internalism and Agency. Philosophical Perspectives 6:155-174.
    have come in for increasing attention and controversy. A good example would be recent debates about moral realism where question of the relation between ethics (or ethical judgment) and the will has come to loom large.' Unfortunately, however, the range of positions labelled internalist in ethical writing is bewilderingly large, and only infrequently are important distinctions kept clear.2 Sometimes writers have in mind the view that sincere assent to a moral (or, more generally, an ethical) judgment concerning what one should (...)
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  41. Michael R. DePaul (1991). The Highest Moral Knowledge and the Truth Behind Internalism. Southern Journal of Philosophy 29 (S1):137-160.
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  42. James Dreier (2000). Dispositions and Fetishes: Externalist Models of Moral Motivation. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (3):619-638.
    Internalism says that if an agent judges that it is right for her to φ, then she is motivated to φ. The disagreement between Internalists and Externalists runs deep, and it lingers even in the face of clever intuition pumps. An argument in Michael Smith’s The Moral Problem seeks some leverage against Externalism from a point within normative theory. Smith argues by dilemma: Externalists either fail to explain why motivation tracks moral judgment in a good moral agent or they attribute (...)
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  43. James Dreier (2000). Dispositions and Fetishes. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (3):619 - 638.
    Internalism says that if an agent judges that it is right for her to φ, then she is motivated to φ. The disagreement between Internalists and Externalists runs deep, and it lingers even in the face of clever intuition pumps. An argument in Michael Smith’s The Moral Problem seeks some leverage against Externalism from a point within normative theory. Smith argues by dilemma: Externalists either fail to explain why motivation tracks moral judgment in a good moral agent or they attribute (...)
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  44. James Dreier (1996). Book Review: The Moral Problem by Michael Smith. [REVIEW] Mind 105 (418):363-367.
  45. 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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  46. James Lawrence Dreier (ed.) (2006). Contemporary Debates in Moral Theory. Blackwell Pub..
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  47. 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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  48. 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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  49. 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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  50. Stephen Finlay (2004). The Conversational Practicality of Value Judgement. Journal of Ethics 8 (3):205-223.
    Analyses of moral value judgements must meet a practicality requirement: moral speech acts characteristically express pro- or con-attitudes, indicate that speakers are motivated in certain ways, and exert influence on others' motivations. Nondescriptivists including Simon Blackburn and Allan Gibbard claim that no descriptivist analysis can satisfy this requirement. I argue first that while the practicality requirement is defeasible, it indeed demands a connection between value judgement and motivation that resembles a semantic or conceptual rather than merely contingent psychological link. I (...)
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