David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Studies 127 (3):561 - 580 (2006)
An important argument for the belief-desire thesis is based on the idea that an agent can be motivated to act only if her mental states include one which aims at changing the world, that is, one with a “world-to-mind”, or “telic”, direction of fit. Some cognitivists accept this claim, but argue that some beliefs, notably moral ones, have not only a “mind-to-world”, or “thetic”, direction of fit, but also a telic one. The paper first argues that this cognitivist reply is deficient, for only the “dominant” direction of fit of an attitude is responsible for its character and function. Further, it seems that the dominant direction of fit of an attitude is determined by its psychological mode, and so all beliefs seem to have a dominant thetic direction of fit, and to be motivationally inert. The main part of this paper, however, is devoted to explaining how it is that attitudes, like moral attitudes, can truly have two directions of fit in a way which enables them to be both cognitive and motivational. Reflection on the nature of beliefs suggests that the claim that the dominant direction of fit of an attitude is determined by its psychological mode should be qualified. The reasons beliefs provide draw their authority for the agent – their demanding nature – from the objects represented by these beliefs, and so, it is the beliefs’ content which determine their dominant direction of fit, as far as their role in practical reasoning is concerned. Thus, in the sense relevant to practical reasoning a belief with a normative content does have a dominant telic direction of fit. At the same time, in the sense relevant to its satisfaction conditions a moral belief has a dominant thetic direction of fit, which underlies its classification as a cognitive attitude. Cognitivists, then, can have it both ways.
|Keywords||Philosophy Philosophy Epistemology Logic Philosophy of Mind Philosophy of Religion|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Thomas Scanlon (1998). What We Owe to Each Other. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Michael Smith (1994). The Moral Problem. Blackwell.
John Searle (1983). Intentionality. Oxford University Press.
John R. Searle (1983). Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind. Cambridge University Press.
John McDowell (1979). Virtue and Reason. The Monist 62 (3):331-350.
Citations of this work BETA
Avery Archer (2015). Reconceiving Direction of Fit. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (3):171-180.
Similar books and articles
Lamar Pierce & Jason Snyder, Ethical Fit, Diversity, and Attrition: Evidence From the Vehicle Emissions Testing Market.
Chris Meyers (2005). Wants and Desires: A Critique of Conativist Theory of Motivation. Journal of Philosophical Research 30:357-370.
John Milliken (2008). In a Fitter Direction: Moving Beyond the Direction of Fit Picture of Belief and Desire. [REVIEW] Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (5):563 - 571.
Greg Sherkoske (2010). Direction of Fit Accounts of Belief and Desire Revisited. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 10 (1):1-11.
Michael Ridge (2006). Saving the Ethical Appearances. Mind 115 (459):633-650.
Mark Schroeder (forthcoming). Tempered Expressivism. Oxford Studies in Metaethics.
G. F. Schueler (1991). Pro-Attitudes and Direction of Fit. Mind 100 (2):277 - 281.
Sergio Tenenbaum (2006). Direction of Fit and Motivational Cognitivism. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Oxford University Press 235-64.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads51 ( #83,534 of 1,907,659 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #273,183 of 1,907,659 )
How can I increase my downloads?