David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 2 (3):217-242 (1999)
Rational agency may be thought of as intentional activity that is guided by the agent's conception of what they have reason to do. The paper identifies and assesses three approaches to this phenomenon, which I call internalism, meta-internalism, and volitionalism. Internalism accounts for rational motivation by appeal to substantive desires of the agent's that are conceived as merely given; I argue that it fails to do full justice to the phenomenon of guidance by one's conception of one's reasons. Meta-internalism explains this phenomenon by postulating higher-order dispositions, consitutive of (rational) agency itself, which causally interact with the agent's normative beliefs to produce corresponding motivations to action. I show that meta-internalism comes to grief over cases of akrasia, insofar as it leaves no room for the capacity for rational guidance when agents voluntarily act at variance with their judgments about what they have reason to do. Volitionalism, I contend, improves on both internalism and meta-internalism. Its distinctive feature is the postulation of a kind of motivation that is directly subject to the agent's control, and independent of the dispositions and desires to which the agent is passively subject.
|Keywords||agency akrasia desire|
|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
Sabine A. Döring (2007). Seeing What to Do: Affective Perception and Rational Motivation. Dialectica 61 (3):363-394.
Derek Baker (2014). The Abductive Case for Humeanism Over Quasi-Perceptual Theories of Desire. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 8 (2):1-29.
Karen Jones (2003). Emotion, Weakness of Will, and the Normative Conception of Agency. In A. Hatzimoysis (ed.), Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement. Cambridge University Press 181-200.
Simon Blackburn (2010). The Majesty of Reason. Philosophy 85 (1):5-27.
Vida Yao (2015). Boredom and the Divided Mind. Res Philosophica 92 (4):937-957.
Similar books and articles
Matthew Boyle (2011). 'Making Up Your Mind' and the Activity of Reason. Philosophers' Imprint 11 (17).
Teresa Robertson (2003). Internalism, (Super)Fragile Reasons, and the Conditional Fallacy. Philosophical Papers 32 (2):171-184.
Stephen Engstrom (1993). Allison on Rational Agency. Inquiry 36 (4):405 – 418.
Elinor Mason (2008). An Argument Against Motivational Internalism. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (1part2):135-156.
George Carlson (1982). Internalism and Self-Determination. Philosophy Research Archives 8:415-427.
Robert N. Johnson (2009). The Moral Law as Causal Law. In Jens Timmermann (ed.), Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals: A Critical Guide. Cambridge University Press
Edward Hinchman (2009). Receptivity and the Will. Noûs 43 (3):395-427.
Chase Wrenn (2010). A Puzzle About Desire. Erkenntnis 73 (2):185-209.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads202 ( #15,890 of 1,911,608 )
Recent downloads (6 months)10 ( #61,051 of 1,911,608 )
How can I increase my downloads?