Because I Believe It's the Right Thing to Do

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (4):791-808 (2013)
Abstract
Our beliefs about which actions we ought to perform clearly have an effect on what we do. But so-called “Humean” theories—holding that all motivation has its source in desire—insist on connecting such beliefs with an antecedent motive. Rationalists, on the other hand, allow normative beliefs a more independent role. I argue in favor of the rationalist view in two stages. First, I show that the Humean theory rules out some of the ways we ordinarily explain actions. This shifts the burden of proof onto Humeans to motivate their more restrictive, revisionary account. Second, I show that they are unlikely to discharge this burden because the key arguments in favor of the Humean theory fail. I focus on some of the most potent and most recent lines of argument, which appeal to either parsimony, the teleological nature of motivation, or the structure of practical reasoning
Keywords Humeanism  Humean theory of motivation  Rationalism  Evaluative beliefs  Internalism  Externalism
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References found in this work BETA
Melissa Barry (2010). Humean Theories of Motivation. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics , Volume 5. Oxford University Press. 195-223.
Tyler Burge (1979). Individualism and the Mental. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4 (1):73-122.

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