Changing Direction on Direction of Fit

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (5):603-614 (2012)
Abstract
In this paper, I show that we should understand the direction of fit of beliefs and desires in normative terms. After rehearsing a standard objection to Michael Smith’s analysis of direction of fit, I raise a similar problem for Lloyd Humberstone’s analysis. I go on to offer my own account, according to which the difference between beliefs and desires is determined by the normative relations such states stand in. I argue that beliefs are states which we have reason to change in light of the world, whereas desires are states that give us reason to change the world. After doing this, I show how the view avoids various objections, including two from David Sobel and David Copp. The paper ends by briefly discussing the relevance of the view to the Humean theory of motivation.
Keywords Direction of fit  Belief  Desire  Humean theory of motivation  Reasons  Normativity of mind
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