Reason and the structure of Davidson's "Desire-Belief Model"

Abstract of “Reason and the structure of Davidson’s ‘Desire-Belief-Model’ ” by Henk bij de Weg In the present discussion in the analytic theory of action, broadly two models for the explanation or justification of actions can be distinguished: the internalist and the externalist model. Against this background, I discuss Davidson’s version of the internalist Desire-Belief Model (DBM). First, I show that what Davidson calls “pro attitude” (a main element of his concept of reason) has two distinct meanings. An implication of this is that Davidson’s DBM actually comprises two different models: the “classical” DBM and a model that has an extra premise, the “nonclassical” model. However, from another point of view one can say that the classical DBM is the nonclassical model in which a premise is missing. In order to determine which viewpoint is correct, I introduce Schütz’s distinction between “because-motives” and “in-order-to-motives”. With the help of this distinction, I can show that the classical DBM is an incomplete version of the nonclassical model. Besides of the premise that refers to the agent’s pro attitude, we need this extra premise in order to refer to the occasion as experienced by the agent that makes him or her act. Only then can we fully explain or justify an action.
Keywords reason  davidson  desire-belief-model
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