A Davidsonian reconciliation of internalism, objectivity, and the belief-desire theory

Journal of Ethics 6 (1):1-20 (2002)
This paper argues that Donald Davidson''s account ofassertions of evaluative judgments contains ahere-to-fore unappreciated strategy forreconciling the meta-ethical ``inconsistenttriad.'''' The inconsistency is thought to resultbecause within the framework of thebelief-desire theory assertions of moraljudgments must have conceptual connections withboth desires and beliefs. The connection withdesires is necessary to account for theinternal connection between such judgments andmotivation to act, while the connection withbeliefs is necessary to account for theapparent objectivity of such judgments.Arguments abound that no class of utterancescan coherently be understood as having suchconceptual connections to attitudes of bothsorts, hence that an inconsistency results. Buton Davidson''s account assertions of evaluativejudgments have just such connections to boththe relevant desire and a belief concerning anevaluative matter of fact. I argue that thisaccount has the resources to respond tostandard objections, and at least meritsconsideration as one among other plausiblealternatives.
Keywords belief-desire theory  desire  Donald Davidson  internalism  weakness of the will  objectivity  propositional attitudes
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DOI 10.1023/A:1015864312251
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