Theories of content and theories of motivation

European Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):273-288 (1995)
Abstract
According to the anti-Humean theory of motivation, it is possible to be motivated to act by reason alone. According to the Humean theory of motivation, this is impossible. The debate between these two theories remains as vigorous as ever (see for example Pettit 1987, Lewis 1988, Price 1989 and Smith 1994). In this paper I shall argue that the anti-Humean theory of motivation is incompatible with a number of prominent recent theories of content. I shall focus on causal or informational theories of content (such as Dretske 1981, Fodor 1990 and Stalnaker 1984), and on verificationist theories of content (such as Dummett 1993, Putnam 1983 and Wright 1986), though in fact I believe that the same argument applies to several other theories of content as well.
Keywords Belief  Content  Ethics  Motivation  Reason  Hume
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