Motivation to the Means

Rationalists including Nagel and Korsgaard argue that motivation to the means to our desired ends cannot be explained by appeal to the desire for the end. They claim that a satisfactory explanation of this motivational connection must appeal to a faculty of practical reason motivated in response to desire-independent norms of reason. This paper builds on ideas in the work of Hume and Donald Davidson to demonstrate how the desire for the end is sufficient for explaining motivation to the means. Desiring is analyzed as having motivation towards making the end so, which is analyzed as engaging in mental activity aimed at facilitating that end. I conclude that it is constitutive of an agent’s desiring an end that he is motivated towards what he believes to be means.
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Jacob Stegenga (2013). Probabilizing the End. Philosophical Studies 165 (1):95-112.

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