David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Dissertation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2011)
This dissertation defends a cognitivist alternative to the Humean belief-desire theory of motivation against standard philosophical arguments. Moral judgments influence our action. For instance, someone might donate to charity because she believes she has a duty to give back to her community. According to the Humean orthodoxy, some additional state—some passion or desire—is needed to explain her action. She may want to donate the money, to give back to her community, or to fulfill her duty. Yet there must be something she wants, the Humean insists, because only desires are capable of moving us. Even moral judgment is no more than desire’s slave. This dissertation explores the possibility that cognitive states are capable of playing a directly motivational role. I argue that the standard philosophical arguments against this possibility do not survive close scrutiny. Instead of proceeding from assumptions about rationality, morality, and agency that frequently drive motivational cognitivists, my arguments are distinctive in that they are built largely out of Humean materials; these arguments show how cognitivism is compatible with many of the considerations Humeans have used to make their account seem compelling. For instance, agents who are unmoved by their moral judgments are often taken as evidence for the Humean Theory. This is odd, since agents are not uniformly moved by their desires either. Moral beliefs and desires seem as though they may be closely analogous in this respect. I also try to show that desire-based motivation might serve as a useful model for cognitive motivation by arguing that cognitivists can explain motivated action in ways that parallel desire-based explanations. While these cognitivist explanations are committed to the existence of besires, I argue that this is no problem for the view. Humean a priori proclamations that besires would be incoherent or absurd notwithstanding, the arguments of this dissertation suggest that besires are not so bizarre. Indeed, I argue that their existence would follow from plausible empirical hypotheses.
|Keywords||Desire Besire Humean Motivation Moral Psychology|
|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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Steven Swartzer (2013). Appetitive Besires and the Fuss About Fit. Philosophical Studies 165 (3):975-988.
Joshua May (2013). Because I Believe It's the Right Thing to Do. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (4):791-808.
Melissa Barry (2007). Realism, Rational Action, and the Humean Theory of Motivation. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (3):231-242.
Neil Sinhababu (2009). The Humean Theory of Motivation Reformulated and Defended. Philosophical Review 118 (4):465-500.
Mark van Roojen (2002). Humean and Anti-Humean Internalism About Moral Judgements. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (1):26-49.
Mark Schroeder (2007). The Humean Theory of Reasons. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics Vol. 2. Oxford University Press. 195--219.
Neil Sinhababu (2011). The Humean Theory of Practical Irrationality. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 6 (1):1-13.
Christopher G. Framarin (2008). Motivation-Encompassing Attitudes. Philosophical Explorations 11 (2):121 – 130.
Aristophanes Koutoungos (2008). Beliefs, Desires, And... 'Besires'. Philosophical Inquiry 30 (1-2):177-189.
Danielle Bromwich (2010). Clearing Conceptual Space for Cognitivist Motivational Internalism. Philosophical Studies 148 (3):343 - 367.
Chris Meyers (2005). Wants and Desires: A Critique of Conativist Theory of Motivation. Journal of Philosophical Research 30:357-370.
Christian Miller (2008). Motivation in Agents. Noûs 42 (2):222–266.
Mark van Roojen (1995). Humean Motivation and Humean Rationality. Philosophical Studies 79 (1):37-57.
Steven Arkonovich (2001). Defending Desire: Scanlon's Anti-Humeanism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (3):499-519.
R. H. Myers (2012). Desires and Normative Truths: A Holist's Response to the Sceptics. Mind 121 (482):375-406.
Added to index2012-04-13
Total downloads16 ( #108,418 of 1,101,810 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #306,516 of 1,101,810 )
How can I increase my downloads?