In this chapter, I outline dynamic models of motivation and emotion. These turn out not to be autonomous subsystems, but, instead, are deeply integrated in the basic interactive dynamic character of living systems. Motivation is a crucial aspect of particular kinds of interactive systems -- systems for which representation is a sister aspect. Emotion is a special kind of partially reflective interaction process, and yields its own emergent motivational aspects. In addition, the overall model accounts for some of (...) the crucial properties of consciousness. (shrink)
When we have a normative reason, and we act for that reason, it becomes our motivating reason. But we can have either kind of reason without having the other. Thus, if I jump into the canal, my motivating reason was provided by my belief; but I had no normative reason to jump. I merely thought I did. And, if I failed to notice that the canal was frozen, I had a reason not to jump that, because it was unknown to (...) me, did not motivate me. Though we can have normative reasons without being motivated, and vice versa, such reasons are closely related to our motivation. There are, however, very different views about what this relation is. This disagreement raises wider questions about what normative reasons are, and about which reasons there are. After sketching some of these views, I shall discuss some arguments by Williams, and then say where, in my opinion, the truth lies. [...] I [will] suggest why, as I believe, we should be non-reductive normative realists, and should regard all reasons as external. (shrink)
For non-analytic ethical naturalists, externalism about moral motivation is an attractive option: it allows naturalists to embrace a Humean theory of motivation while holding that moral properties are real, natural properties. However, Michael Smith has mounted an important objection to this view. Smith observes that virtuous agents must have non-derivative motivation to pursue specific ends that they believe to be morally right; he then argues that this externalist view ascribes to the virtuous agent only a direct de (...) dicto desire to do what is morally right, but not a direct motivation to be kind, help those in need, et. I first clarify this “fetishism objection”; I then show how the non-analytical naturalist can provide an understanding of virtuous motivation that is immune to this objection. (shrink)
Motivational externalists and internalists of various sorts disagree about the circumstances under which it is conceptually possible to have moral opinions but lack moral motivation. Typically, the evidence referred to are intuitions about whether people in certain scenarios who lack moral motivation count as having moral opinions. People’s intuitions about such scenarios diverge, however. I argue that the nature of this diversity is such that, for each of the internalist and externalist theses, there is a strong prima facie (...) reason to reject it. That much might not be very controversial. But I argue further, that it also gives us a strong prima facie reason to reject all of these theses. This is possible since there is an overlooked alternative option to accepting any of them: moral motivation pluralism , the view that different internalist and externalist theses correctly accounts for different people’s concepts of moral opinions, respectively. I end the paper with a discussion of methodological issues relevant to the argument for moral motivation pluralism and of the consequences of this view for theories about the nature of moral opinions, such as cognitivism and non-cognitivism. (shrink)
To the extent, then, that we set our face against admitting the truth of Humeanism in the theory of motivation, to that extent we are probably going to feel that there is no such thing as the theory of motivation, so conceived, at all. And that will be the position that this paper is trying to defend, though not only for this reason. It might seem miraculous that so much can be extracted from the little distinction with which (...) we started, between the reasons why an action was right and the agent's reasons for doing it. It is not so much the distinction itself which is the culprit, however, as the account of it that sees motivating reasons as complexes of beliefs and desires, i.e. as complexes of psychological states of whatever sort, and sees justifying reasons as truths. It is this account, which puts into form the attempt to combine value realism with Humean philosophical psychology, that leads to the results I have outlined above. (shrink)
Consider a typical fear episode. You are strolling down a lonely mountain lane when suddenly a huge wolf leaps towards you. A number of different interconnected elements are involved in the fear you experience. First, there is the visual and auditory perception of the wild animal and its movements. In addition, it is likely that given what you see, you may implicitly and inarticulately appraise the situation as acutely threatening. Then, there are a number of physiological changes, involving a variety (...) of systems controlled by the autonomic nervous system. Your heart races, your breathing becomes strained and your start trembling. These changes are accompanied by an expression of fear on your face: your mouth opens and your eyes widen while you stare at the wolf. There is also a kind of experience that you undergo. You are likely to feel a sort of pang, something that might consist in the perception of the physiological changes you are going through. Moreover, a number of thoughts are likely to cross your mind. You might think that the wild beast is about to tear you into pieces and that you’ll never escape from this. In addition to this, your attention focuses on the wolf and its movement, as well as, possibly, ways of escaping or defending yourself. Last, but not least, your fear is likely to come with a motivation, such as an urge to run away or to strike back. Whatever the details of the story, it is clear that a typical emotion episode involves a number of different components. Roughly, these components are a) a sensory perception or more generally an informational component, b) a kind of appraisal, d) physiological changes, c) conscious feelings, d) cognitive and attentional processes, and e) an actiontendency or more generally a motivational component. One central question in the theory of emotion is which, if any, of these components, constitute the emotion.. (shrink)
What kinds of psychological states motivate us? Beliefs and desires are the obvious candidates. But some aspects of our behaviour suggest another idea. I have in mind the view that imagination can sometimes constitute motivation.
One of the most prevalent and influential assumptions in metaethics is that our conception of the relation between moral language and motivation provides strong support to internalism about moral judgments. In the present paper, I argue that this supposition is unfounded. Our responses to the type of thought experiments that internalists employ do not lend confirmation to this view to the extent they are assumed to do. In particular, they are as readily explained by an externalist view according to (...) which there is a pragmatic and standardized connection between moral utterances and motivation. The pragmatic account I propose states that a person’s utterance of a sentence according to which she ought to ϕ conveys two things: the sentence expresses, in virtue of its conventional meaning, the belief that she ought to ϕ, and her utterance carries a generalized conversational implicature to the effect that she is motivated to ϕ. This view also makes it possible to defend cognitivism against a well-known internalist argument. (shrink)
This paper gives a new interpretation of the central section of Plato’s Symposium (199d–212a). According to this interpretation, the term ‘καλόν’, as used by Plato here, stands for what many contemporary philosophers call “intrinsic value”; and “love” (ἔρως) is in effect rational motivation, which for Plato consists in the desire to “possess” intrinsically valuable things – that is, according to Plato, to be happy – for as long as possible. An explanation is given of why Plato believes that “possessing” (...) intrinsically valuable things, at least for mortals like us, consists in actively creating instantiations of the intrinsic values, both in oneself and in the external world, and in knowing and loving these intrinsic values and their instantiations. Finally, it is argued that this interpretation reveals that Plato’s “eudaemonism” is a different and more defensible doctrine than many commentators believe. (shrink)
It seems to many that moral opinions must make a difference to what we’re motivated to do, at least in suitable conditions. For others, it seems that it is possible to have genuine moral opinions that make no motivational difference. Both sides – internalists and externalists about moral motivation – can tell persuasive stories of actual and hypothetical cases. My proposal for a kind of reconciliation is to distinguish between two kinds of psychological states with moral content. There are (...) both moral thoughts or opinions that intrinsically motivate, and moral thoughts or opinions that don’t. The thoughts that intrinsically motivate are moral intuitions – spontaneous and compelling non-doxastic appearances of right or wrong that both attract assent and incline us to act or react. I argue that there is good reason to think that these intuitions, but not moral judgments, are constituted by manifestations of moral sentiments. The moral thoughts that do not intrinsically motivate are moral beliefs, which are in themselves as inert as any ordinary beliefs. Thus, roughly, internalism is true about intuitions and externalism is true about beliefs or judgments. (shrink)
In his fetishist argument, Michael Smith raises an important question: What is the content of the motivational states that constitute moral motivation? Although the argument has been widely discussed, this question has not received the attention it deserves. In the present paper, I use Smith’s argument as a point of departure for a discussion of how advocates of externalism as regards moral judgements can account for moral motivation. More precisely, I explore various explanations of moral motivation that (...) externalists can employ to answer the question Smith poses. (shrink)
Michael Smith's recent defence of the theory shows promise, in that it captures the most common reasons for accepting a Humean view. But, as I will argue, it falls short of vindicating the view. Smith's argument fails, because it ignores the role of rationality conditions on the ascription of motivating reason explanations. Because of these conditions, we must have a theory of rationality before we choose a theory of motivation. Thus, we cannot use Humean restrictions on motivation to (...) argue for a particular conception of rationality. I will not directly criticize using a Humean conception of rationality to defend a Humean theory of motivation. For my argument implies that such criticism must come more directly, as argument over the substantive content of rationality. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Joint action is a growing field of research, spanning across the cognitive, behavioral, and brain sciences as well as receiving considerable attention amongst philosophers. I argue that there has been a significant oversight within this field concerning the possibility that many joint actions are driven, at least in part, by agents' social motivations rather than merely by their shared intentions. Social motivations are not directly related to the (joint) target goal of the action. Instead, when agents are mutually socially motivated (...) in joint action this is because they find acting with others rewarding in its own right. Moreover the involvement of social motivation in joint action typically enables individuals to achieve the long-term benefits associated with being part of a social bond. I argue that taking social motivations into account better prepares us for explaining a broader range of joint actions, including those that are of an antagonistic, competitive, or explorative character. Finally, I show that recognizing the importance of social motivations entails that joint actions (in general) should be understood as having the two primary functions of (1) achieving the intended target outcome of an action, and (2) attaining the benefits related to being part of a social bond. (shrink)
In this paper I will argue against the Humean theory of motivation, or “conativism” which claims that all actions are ultimately generated by desires. Conativism is supported by (1) a behavioral analysis of desire as a disposition to act in certain ways, and (2) the difference between belief and desire in terms of their different “direction of fi t” with the world. I will show that this behavioral account of desire cannot provide an adequate explanation of action. Mere disposition (...) to act (what I call “wanting”) does not explain why the agent acts; insofar as it explains the action desire is a feeling. I will then argue against the direction of fit argument by showing that beliefs about what we ought to do have both directions of fit—the belief has one direction of fit, and the content of the belief (the ought-clause) has the opposite direction of fit. (shrink)
Over the last few years, there has been a surge of work in a new field called “moral psychology”, which uses experimental methods to test the psychological processes underlying human moral activity. In this paper, I shall follow this line of approach with the aim of working out a model of how people form value judgements and how they are motivated to act morally. I call this model an “affective picture”: ‘picture’ because it remains strictly at the descriptive level and (...) ‘affective’ because it has an important role for affects and emotions. This affective picture is grounded on a number of plausible and empirically supported hypotheses. The main idea is that we should distinguish between various kinds of value judgements by focusing on the sort of state of mind people find themselves in while uttering a judgement. “Reasoned judgements” are products of rational considerations and are based on preliminary acceptance of norms and values. On the contrary, “basic value judgements” are affective, primitive and non-reflective ways of assessing the world. As we shall see, this analysis has some consequences for the traditional internalism-externalism debate in philosophy; it highlights the fact that motivation is primarily linked to “basic value judgements” and that the judgements we openly defend might not have a particular effect on our actions, unless we are inclined to have an emotional attitude that conforms to them. (shrink)
Many philosophers have thought that what one has reason to do is what one would be motivated to do under certain idealized conditions: full information, vivid awareness, etc. I call such theories, "hypothetical motivation theories of reasons for action" and argue that they are fundamentally mistaken in a way that cannot be corrected by alterations in the idealizing conditions. I propose, in their place, an "actual intrinsic motivation account" which holds that one has reason to do whatever promotes (...) those ends one is actually 'intrinsically' motivated to pursue. (shrink)
A developing neurobiological/psychological theory of positive motivation gives a key causal role to reward events in the brain which can be directly activated by electrical stimulation (ESB). In its strongest form, this Reward Event Theory (RET) claims that all positive motivation, primary and learned, is functionally dependent on these reward events. Some of the empirical evidence is reviewed which either supports or challenges RET. The paper examines the implications of RET for the concepts of 'motivation', 'desire' and (...) 'reward' or 'pleasure'. It is argued (1) that a 'causal base' as opposed to a functional' concept of motivation has theoretical advantages; (2) that a causal distinction between the focus' and the 'anchor' of desire suggests an ineliminable 'opacity' of desire; and (3) that some affective concept, such as 'pleasure', should play a key role in psychological explanation, distinct from that of motivational (or cognitive) concepts. A concept of 'reward' or 'pleasure' as intrinsically positive affect is defended, and contrasted with the more 'operational' definitions of 'reward' in some of the hypotheses of Roy Wise. (shrink)
In this paper, I reframe the long-standing controversy between ‘psychological egoism’, which argues that human beings never perform altruistic actions, and the opposing thesis of ‘psychological altruism’, which claims that human beings are, at least sometimes, capable of acting in an altruistic fashion. After a brief sketch of the controversy, I begin by presenting some representative arguments in favour of psychological altruism before showing that they can all be called into question by appealing to the idea of an unconscious self-directed (...) motive. I will then point out that this argumentative strategy not only debunks the reasons for favouring psychological altruism, but also those for favouring psychological egoism; hence it is no use in settling the dispute between the two views. In the second part of the paper, I will try to break this deadlock by reframing the whole controversy, shifting it away from the concept of motive, towards the broader notion of motivation. As it turns out, this shift enables the debate to centre on altruistic emotions and their motivational power, thereby allowing evolutionary arguments to enter the debate and tilt the balance in favour of psychological altruism. (shrink)
What place does motivation have in the lives of intelligent agents? Mele's answer is sensitive to the concerns of philosophers of mind and moral philosophers and informed by empirical work. He offers a distinctive, comprehensive, attractive view of human agency. This book stands boldly at the intersection of philosophy of mind, moral philosophy, and metaphysics.
Despite Kant's lasting influence on philosophical accounts of moral motivation, many details of his own position remain elusive. In the Critique of Practical Reason, for example, Kant argues that our recognition of the moral law’s authority must elicit both painful and pleasurable feelings in us. On reflection, however, it is unclear how these effects could motivate us to act from duty. As a result, Kant’s theory of moral sensibility comes under a skeptical threat: the possibility of a morally motivating (...) feeling seems incoherent. My aim in this paper is to reconstruct Kant’s theory in a way that overcomes this threat. By way of conclusion, I show how my reconstruction brings a new perspective to a long-standing dispute over intellectualist and affectivist views of moral motivation. (shrink)
There are many interesting questions to ask about cosmopolitan arguments. Is it true that the sphere of moral concern is global? Which sets of actions would realize the outcomes of global justice that cosmopolitans seek? Are those sets of actions feasible, and when we compare them against each other, which is the most feasible? The question I want to focus on in this paper is a question of the latter kind, but I want to take a slightly unique approach to (...) it. I shall ask which of the two dominant arguments for duties to alleviate global poverty, supposing their premises were generally accepted, would be more likely to produce the desired outcome. I take Pogge's argument for obligations grounded in principles of justice, a "contribution" argument, and Campbell's argument for obligations grounded in principles of humanity, an "assistance" argument, to be prototypical. Were people to accept the premises of Campbell's argument, how likely would they be to support governmental reform in policies for international aid, or to make individual contributions to international aid organizations? And I ask the same question, mutatis mutandis, for Pogge's argument. (shrink)
This paper argues for a novel interpretation of Hume's account of motivation, according to which beliefs can (alone) motivate action though not by standing as reasons which normatively favour it. It si then suggested that a number of contemporary debates about concerning the nature of reasons for action could benefit from such an approach.
As a metaethicist, I am interested in whether expressivism is true, and thus interested in whether the argument that people think they find in Hume is a sound one. Not being a Hume scholar (but merely a devoted fan), I am less interested in whether Hume really was an expressivist or whether he really did present an argument in its favor. Hume’s metaethical views are very difficult to nail down, and by a careful selection of quotes one can present him (...) as advocating expressivism, or cognitivist subjectivism, or moral skepticism, or a dispositional theory, or an ideal observer theory, or even utilitarianism. It is entirely possible that Hume’s position is indeterminate when considered against these terms of modern moral philosophy; it is also entirely possible that he was hopelessly confused (much as it pains me to admit it). However, I doubt very much that Hume should be interpreted as an expressivist in any straightforward manner, and therefore I am doubtful that he should be interpreted as arguing in its favor. Most of this paper does not discuss Hume directly at all: I critically discuss the motivation argument and I advocate a certain positive metaethical view—one that mixes elements of traditional expressivism with elements of cognitivism. This position is neutral between moral realism and radical moral skepticism. I close by wondering—very briefly— whether Hume might have held such a view. Given my reservations about the determinacy of Hume’s metaethical outlook, the case is not pressed with any vigor, but because it is an interpretation of Hume that has not, so far as I know, been articulated before, it may be of interest to note that it seems to be consistent with much of what he says—at least as much as any other precise interpretation. (shrink)
This essay defends a strong version of the Humean theory of motivation on which desire is necessary both for motivation and for reasoning that changes our desires. Those who hold that moral judgments are beliefs with intrinsic motivational force need to oppose this view, and many of them have proposed counterexamples to it. Using a novel account of desire, this essay handles the proposed counterexamples in a way that shows the superiority of the Humean theory. The essay addresses (...) the classic objection that the Humean theory cannot explain the feeling of obligation, Stephen Darwall's example of motivationally potent reasoning that is not based on preexisting desires, Thomas Scanlon's criticism that the Humean theory fails to account for the structure and phenomenology of deliberation, and the phenomenon of akrasia as discussed by John Searle. In each case a Humean account explains the data at least as thoroughly as opposing views can, while fitting within a simpler total account of how we deliberate and act. (shrink)
Why do people act morally – when they do? Moral philosophers and psychologists often assume that acting morally in the absence of incentives or sanctions is a product of a desire to uphold one or another moral principle (e.g., fairness). This form of motivation might be called moral integrity because the goal is to actually be moral. In a series of experiments designed to explore the nature of moral motivation, colleagues and I have found little evidence of moral (...) integrity. We have found considerable evidence of a different form of moral motivation, moral hypocrisy. The goal of moral hypocrisy is to appear moral yet, if possible, avoid the cost of being moral. To fully reach the goal of moral hypocrisy requires self-deception, and we have found evidence of that as well. Strengthening moral integrity is difficult. Even effects of moral perspective taking – imagining yourself in the place of the other (as recommended by the Golden Rule) – appear limited, further contributing to the moral masquerade. (shrink)
We have looked at worries about expressivism and other forms of noncognitivism. The externalist solution may also seem to be a solution of last resort, because it may seem to deny the platitude that moral judgments are motivationally efficacious. For this reason, we might look seriously at rationalist theories of moral motivation, because they promise to represent moral judgments as intrinsically motivational without giving up cognitivism.
Our puzzle about moral motivation can be seen as a tension that we encounter when we try to reconcile intellectual and practical aspects of morality. Cognitivists interpret moral judgments as expressing cognitive attitudes, such as belief. Moral judgments ascribe properties – axiological, deontic, and aretaic – to persons, actions, institutions, and policies. Internalists believe that moral judgments necessarily engage the will and motivate. We expect people to be motivated to act in accord with their moral judgments and would find (...) it odd for people to be systematically indifferent to what they judge morally significant. It is also a common view that motivation involves pro-attitudes, such as desires. We explain intentional action as the product of informational states, such as beliefs, and practical states, such as desires. But beliefs and desires are logically independent states; no belief entails any particular desire. These assumptions are in tension. (shrink)
In this chapter, we begin with a discussion of motivation itself, and use that discussion to sketch four possible theories of distinctively moral motivation: caricature versions of familiar instrumentalist, cognitivist, sentimentalist, and personalist theories about morally worthy motivation. To test these theories, we turn to a wealth of scientific, particularly neuroscientific, evidence. Our conclusions are that (1) although the scientific evidence does not at present mandate a unique philosophical conclusion, it does present formidable obstacles to a number (...) of popular philosophical approaches, and (2) theories of morally worthy motivation that best fit the current scientific picture are ones that owe much more to Hume or Aristotle than to Kant. (shrink)
In a series of publications, Tamar Gendler has argued for a distinction between belief and what she calls ?alief?. Gendler's argument for the distinction is a serviceability argument: the distinction is indispensable for explaining a whole slew of phenomena, typically involving ?belief-behaviour mismatch?. After embedding Gendler's distinction in a dual-process model of moral cognition, I argue here that the distinction also suggests a possible (dis)solution of what is perhaps the organizing problem of contemporary moral psychology: the apparent tension between the (...) inherently motivational role of moral judgments and their manifestly objectivistic phenomenology. I argue that moral judgments come in two varieties, moral aliefs and moral beliefs, and it is only the former that are inherently motivating and only the latter that have an objectivistic phenomenology. This serves to both bolster the case for the alief/belief distinction and shed new light on otherwise well-trodden territory in metaethics. I start with an exposition of the moral-psychological problem (?1) and a discussion of Gendler's alief/belief distinction (?2). I then apply the latter to moral judgments in an attempt to dissolve the former (?3). I close with discussion of the upshot for our understanding of moral thought, moral motivation, and moral phenomenology (?4). (shrink)
Realists about practical reasons agree that judgments regarding reasons are beliefs. They disagree, however, over the question of how such beliefs motivate rational action. Some adopt a Humean conception of motivation, according to which beliefs about reasons must combine with independently existing desires in order to motivate rational action; others adopt an anti-Humean view, according to which beliefs can motivate rational action in their own right, either directly or by giving rise to a new desire that in turn motivates (...) the action. I argue that the realist who adopts a Humean model for explaining rational action will have a difficult time giving a plausible account of the role that desire plays in this explanation. I explore four interpretations of this role and argue that none allows a Humean theory to explain rational action as convincingly as an anti-Humean theory does. The first two models, in different ways, make acting on a reason impossible. The third allows this possibility, but only by positing a reason-sensitive desire that itself demands an explanation. The fourth avoids this explanatory challenge only by retreating to an empty form of the Humean view. In contrast, an anti-Humean theory can provide an intuitively plausible explanation of rational action. I conclude that the realist about reasons should adopt an anti-Humean theory to explain rational action. (shrink)
In 1982, when T. M. Scanlon published “Contractualism and Utilitarianism,” he noted that, despite the widespread attention to Rawls’ A Theory of Justice, the appeal of contractualism as a moral theory had been under appreciated. In particular, the appeal of contractualism’s account of what he then called “moral motivation” had been under appreciated.1 It seems to me that, in the intervening quarter century, despite the widespread discussion of Scanlon’s work, the appeal of contractualism, in precisely this regard, has still (...) been under appreciated—even though Scanlon makes what he once called “moral motivation” central, throughout his work. My first aim, then, is to do my best to draw out and make vivid this appeal. I will do this by first considering the two questions that Scanlon thinks must be addressed by any moral theory, what he once called “the question of subject matter” and “the question of motivation.” I will spend some time first locating and explicating the second question, of motivation, and then displaying Scanlon’s answer to it—it is this answer which provides contractualism with its under-appreciated appeal. I will then return to the question of subject matter—which will, by that point, have been revealed as not wholly distinct from the question of motivation, as Scanlon understands it. But it is as an answer to this question that Scanlon’s theory is most often.. (shrink)
According to the Humean theory of motivation, a person can only be motivated to act by a desire together with a relevantly related belief. More specifically, a person can only be motivated to ϕ by a desire to ψ together with a belief that ϕ-ing is a means to or a way of ψ-ing. In recent writings, Michael Smith gives what has become a very influential argument in favour of the Humean claim that desire is a necessary part of (...)motivation, and a great deal has been written about Smith's defence of this Humean claim. However, no one has yet identified the fundamental weakness of his defence. The fundamental weakness is that there is no single conception of directions of fit that does all the work Smith needs it to do throughout the various stages of his defence. (shrink)
I develop a scheme for the explanation of rational action. I start from a scheme that may be attributed to Thomas Nagel in The Possibility of Altruism , and develop it step by step to arrive at a sharper and more accurate scheme. The development includes a progressive refinement of the notion of motivation. I end by explaining the role of reasoning within the scheme.
In sum, the non-cognitivist account of motivation is far from unproblematic. The non-cognitivist has trouble telling us what moral attitudes are in a way that is consistent with the phenomenon of variable motivation. Given that the cognitivist has an easy explanation of variable motivation, it seems that cognitivism is preferable to non-cognitivism on the score of motivation, which is a reversal of the way the issue is usually perceived.
The motivational problem is the problem of understanding how we can have rational control over what we do. In the face of phenomena like weakness of the will, it is commonly thought that evaluation and reason can always remain intact even as we sever their connection with motivation; consequently, solving the motivational problem is thought to be a matter of ﬁguring out how to bridge this inevitable gap between evaluation and motivation. I argue that this is fundamentally mistaken (...) and results in a conception of practical reason that is motivationally impotent. Instead, I argue, a proper understanding of evaluation and practical reason must include not only evaluative judgments but emotions as well. By analyzing the role of emotions in evaluation and the rational interconnections among emotions, desires, and evaluative judgments, I articulate a new conception of evaluation and motivation according to which there is a conceptual connection between them, albeit one that allows for the possibility of weakness of the will. (shrink)
Motivational internalism (MI) holds that, necessarily, if an agent judges that she is morally obligated to ø, then, that agent is, to at least some minimal extent, motivated to ø. Opponents of MI sometimes invoke depression as a counterexample on the grounds that depressed individuals appear to sincerely affirm moral judgments but are ‘listless’ and unmotivated by such judgments. Such listlessness is a credible counterexample to MI, I argue, only if the actual clinical disorder of depression, rather than a merely (...) hypothetical example of such listlessness, is the source of this listlessness. However, empirical evidence concerning depression shows that, to the extent that the depressed are motivationally listless at all, they are abnormally listless only with respect to an important class of non-moral judgments, namely, their prudential normative judgments (i.e., those concerning their own happiness and well-being), not their moral judgments. Hence, depressed individuals do not constitute a counterexample to MI. This conclusion has important methodological implications concerning how supporters and opponents of MI can best defend their respective theses. (shrink)
“Motivational externalism” is the externalism until they see more of what view that moral judgements have no motisuch a theory would be like. The mere posvational efficacy in themselves, and that sibility of such a theory is not sufficiently when they motivate us, the source of motireassuring, even given strong arguments vation lies outside the moral judgement in against the opposite position. For there may a separate desire. Motivational externalism also be objections to externalism. contrasts with “motivational internalism,” Moral philosophers (...) have not spent much which is either the view that our moral effort spelling out the details of an exterjudgements are partly constituted by motinalist model of moral motivation. Those vation, or else that they would be if we who have endorsed externalism include were rational. The major problem for mo- Philippa Foot, Michael Stocker, David tivational internalism—in either guise—is Brink, Al Mele, Sigrún Svavarsdóttir, and that it flies in the face of common obsermyself (Foot 1972, Stocker 1979, Brink vation and first-personal experience of the 1989, 1997, Mele 1996, Svavarsdóttir fact that we can, without irrationality, be 1999, Zangwill 1999). But even these phiindifferent to morality. Philippa Foot piolosophers concentrated mostly on arguing neered this argument (Foot 1972). The pheagainst internalism or defending moral renomenon of indifference encourages alism rather than articulating the externalist motivational externalism. alternative. As a consequence, it is not clear This paper will not revisit this difficulty how the externalism that can be gleaned for internalism, but will travel in the opfrom these writings can be defended posite dialectical direction. The aim is to against various objections to externalism. expound and defend externalism, not to This paper is concerned to fashion an atargue against internalism. This paper will tractive version of externalism, and show address, and try to soothe away, the reluchow it evades objections. tance of many philosophers to embrace In section 1, a particular version of motimotivational externalism.. (shrink)
Rationalists including Nagel and Korsgaard argue that motivation to the means to our desired ends cannot be explained by appeal to the desire for the end. They claim that a satisfactory explanation of this motivational connection must appeal to a faculty of practical reason motivated in response to desireindependent norms of reason. This paper builds on ideas in the work of Hume and Donald Davidson to demonstrate how the desire for the end is sufficient for explaining motivation to (...) the means. Desiring is analyzed as having motivation towards making the end so, which is analyzed as engaging in mental activity aimed at facilitating that end. I conclude that it is constitutive of an agent’s desiring an end that he is motivated towards what he believes to be means. (shrink)
The Humean theory of motivation remains the default position in much of the contemporary literature in meta-ethics, moral psychology, and action theory. Yet despite its widespread support, the theory is implausible as a view about what motivates agents to act. More specifically, my reasons for dissatisfaction with the Humean theory stem from its incompatibility with what I take to be a compelling model of the role of motivating reasons in first-person practical deliberation and third-person action explanations. So after first (...) introducing some assumptions about the nature of agency in section one, I will turn to articulating and defending this account of motivating reasons in sections two through four of the paper. Section five then provides some background on the Humean theory before I argue directly against it in section six and critically examine the leading arguments for the view in section seven. Given limitations of space, however, I save the task of developing a positive anti-Humean view for another occasion. (shrink)
Internalism says that if an agent judges that it is right for her to 0, then she is motivated to 0. The disagreement between Internalists and Externalists runs deep, and it lingers even in the face of clever intuition pumps. An argument in Michael Smith's The Moral Problem seeks some leverage against Externalism from a point within normative theory. Smith argues by dilemma: Externalists either fail to explain why motivation tracks moral judgment in a good moral agent or they (...) attribute a kind of fetishism to good moral agents. I argue that there are alternative models of moral motivation available to Externalists, in particular a model according to which a good moral agent is one who is effectively regulated by a second order desire to desire to do what is right. (shrink)
In this article we discuss what are the implications for improving the design of corporate ethics programs, if we focus on the moral motivation accounts offered by main ethical theories. Virtue ethics, deontological ethics and utilitarianism offer different criteria of judgment to face moral dilemmas: Aristotle's virtues of character, Kant's categorical imperative, and Mill's greatest happiness principle are, respectively, their criteria to answer the question "What is the right thing to do?" We look at ethical theories from a different (...) perspective: the question we ask is "Why should I do the right thing?" In other words, we deal with the problem of moral motivation, and we examine the different rationale the main ethical theories provide. We then point out the relation between moral motivation and the concept of rationality in the different approaches - is acting morally seen as an expression of rational behavior? Our analysis of moral motivation provides a useful framework to improve the understanding of the relationships between formal and informal elements of corporate ethics programs, emphasizing the importance of the latter, often overlooked in compliance-focused programs. We conclude by suggesting that the concept of moral imagination can provide a unifying approach to enhance the effectiveness of corporate ethics programs, by providing an intangible asset that supports the implementation of their formal components into management decision making. (shrink)
Assertions of statements such as ‘it’s raining, but I don’t believe it’ are standard examples of what is known as Moore’s paradox. Here I consider moral equivalents of such statements, statements wherein individuals affirm moral judgments while also expressing motivational indifference to those judgments (such as ‘hurting animals for fun is wrong, but I don’t care’). I argue for four main conclusions concerning such statements: 1. Such statements are genuinely paradoxical, even if not contradictory. 2. This paradoxicality can be traced (...) to a form of epistemic self-defeat that also explains the paradoxicality of ordinary Moore-paradoxical statements. 3. Although a simple form of internalism about moral judgment and motivation can explain the paradoxicality of these moral equivalents, a more plausible explanation can be provided that does not rely on this simple form of internalism. 4. The paradoxicality of such statements suggests a more credible understanding of the thesis that those who are not motivated by their moral judgments are irrational. (shrink)
In Motivation and Agency, I defend answers to a web of questions about motivation and human agency. I benefit from – and react to – not only important philosophical work on mind, action, and morality but also relevant empirical work in such fields as the psychology of motivation, social psychology, physiological psychology, and neurobiology. The questions include the following. Can a plausible cognitivist moral theory require that moral ought-beliefs essentially encompass motivation to act accordingly? Where does (...) the motivational power of practical reasoning lie? How are reasons for action related to motivation? What do motivational explanations of different kinds have in common? What is it to decide to do something? What is it for an attitude essentially to encompass motivation to act? What is it for one such attitude to have more motivational force or strength than another? What room does an acceptable view of the connection between motivational strength and intentional action leave for self-controlled agency? Is it likely that a proper account of motivated, goal-directed action will be a causal account? Can a causal perspective on the nature and explanation of action accommodate human agency par excellence? What emerges from my answers is a view of human agency. (shrink)
Internalists argue that there is a necessary connection between motivation and moral judgment. The examination of cases plays an important role in philosophical debate about internalism. This debate has focused on cases concerning the failure to act in accordance with a moral judgment, for one reason or another. I call these failure cases . I argue that a different sort of case is also relevant to this debate. This sort of case is characterized by (1) moral judgment and (2) (...) behavior that accords with the content of the moral judgment but that has been performed not because of the moral judgment. Instead it is due to some other source of motivation. I call these alternative motivation cases . I distinguish two sorts of alternative motivation cases, and I argue that externalists have natural explanations of these cases. By contrast, extant internalist accounts of failure cases are inadequate when applied to alternative motivation cases. (shrink)
How can we motivate ourselves to do what we think we ought? How can we deliberate about personal values and priorities? Bennett Helm argues that standard philosophical answers to these questions presuppose a sharp distinction between cognition and conation that undermines an adequate understanding of values and their connection to motivation and deliberation. Rejecting this distinction, Helm argues that emotions are fundamental to any account of value and motivation, and he develops a detailed alternative theory both of emotions, (...) desires, and evaluative judgments and of their rational interconnections. The result is an innovative theory of practical rationality and of how we can control not only what we do but also what we value and who we are as persons. (shrink)
Kant has argued that moral requirements are categorical. Kant's claim has been challenged by some contemporary philosophers; this article defends Kant's doctrine. I argue that Kant's claim captures the unique feature of moral requirements. The main arguments against Kant's claim focus on one condition that a categorical imperative must meet: to be independent of desires. I argue that there is another important, but often ignored, condition that a categorical imperative must meet, and this second condition is crucial to understanding why (...) moral requirements are not hypothetical. I also argue that the claim that moral requirements are not categorical because they depend on desires for motivation is beside the point. The issue of whether moral requirements are categorical is not an issue about whether moral desires or feelings are necessary for moral motivation but are rather an issue about the ground of moral desires or moral feelings. Moral requirements are categorical because they are requirements of reason, and reason makes moral desires or feelings possible. (shrink)
In recent attempts to characterize the cognitive mechanisms underlying altruistic motivation, one central question is the extent to which the capacity for altruism depends on the capacity for understanding other minds, or ‘mindreading’. Some theorists maintain that the capacity for altruism is independent of any capacity for mindreading; others maintain that the capacity for altruism depends on fairly sophisticated mindreading skills. I argue that none of the prevailing accounts is adequate. Rather, I argue that altruistic motivation depends on (...) a basic affective system, a ‘Concern Mechanism’, which requires only a minimal capacity for mindreading. (shrink)
This paper is an account of Kant’s view of the passions, and their place in the structure of moral motivation. The paper lays out the relations Kant sees between feelings, inclinations, affects and passions, by looking at texts in Metaphysics of Morals, Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, Anthropology, and Lectures on Education. Then it discusses a famous passage in Groundwork about sympathetic inclination, and ends by proposing two ways in which Kant thinks feelings and inclinations enter into (...) moral judgment, and two ways in which this can go wrong. This analysis involves responding to Karl Ameriks on the question of whether Kant is an internalist about moral motivation. (shrink)
According to the Humean theory of motivation, we only have a reason to act if we have both a belief and a pro-attitude. When it comes to moral reasons, it matters a great deal what that pro-attitude is; pure self-interest cannot combine with a belief to form a moral reason. A long tradition regards empathy and sympathy as moral motivators, and recent psychological evidence supports this view. I examine what I take to be the most plausible version of this (...) claim: empathy or sympathy is necessary for someone to be motivated not to harm others. I argue that one can be motivated not to harm others even if one cannot feel either empathy or sympathy. The evidence comes from the clinical population of people with frontal lobe damage. In addition, if empathy is a moral motivator, we have a conflict with moral autonomy. Either empathy morally motivates, but agents are not autonomous, or agents are autonomous and need not be motivated by empathy. Sympathy suffers from two shortcomings as a moral motivator: it is unlikely that we must sympathize with ourselves in order to feel obligated not to harm ourselves, and there appears to be many other considerations that motivate us not to harm others: fear of harming ourselves, reluctance to add to the cycle of violence, and so on. These considerations are more self-centered than empathy or sympathy, but, perhaps for that very reason, they do not conflict with moral autonomy. (shrink)
In our everyday lives, we confront a host of moral issues. Once we have deliberated and formed judgments about what is right or wrong, good or bad, these judgments tend to have a marked hold on us. Although in the end, we do not always behave as we think we ought, our moral judgments typically motivate us, at least to some degree, to act in accordance with them. When philosophers talk about moral motivation, this is the basic phenomenon they (...) seek to understand. Moral motivation is an instance of a more general phenomenon—what we might call normative motivation—for our other normative judgments also typically have some motivating force. When we make the normative judgment that something is good for us, or that we have a reason to act in a particular way, or that a specific course of action is the rational course, we also tend to be moved. Many philosophers have regarded the motivating force of normative judgments as the key feature that marks them as normative, thereby distinguishing them from the many other judgments we make. In contrast to our normative judgments, our mathematical and empirical judgments, for example, seem to have no intrinsic connection to motivation and action. The belief that an antibiotic will cure a specific infection may move an individual to take the antibiotic, if she also believes that she has the infection, and if she either desires to be cured or judges that she ought to treat the infection for her own good. All on its own, however, an empirical belief like this one appears to carry with it no particular motivational impact; a person can judge that an antibiotic will most effectively cure a specific infection without being moved one way or another. (shrink)
How is the Confucian moral agent motivated to do what he or she judges to be right or good? In western philosophy, the answer to a question such as this depends on whether one is an internalist or externalist concerning moral motivation. In this article, I will first interpret Confucian ethics as role-based ethics and then argue that we can attribute to Confucianism a position on moral motivation that is neither internalist nor externalist but somewhere in between. I (...) will then illustrate my claim with my reading of Mencius 6A4, showing that it is superior to readings found in the literature, which typically assume that Mencius is an internalist. (shrink)
The prevalence of white-collar crime casts a long shadow over discussions in business ethics. One of the effects that has been the development of a strong emphasis upon questions of moral motivation within the field. Often in business ethics, there is no real dispute about the content of our moral obligations, the question is rather how to motivate people to respect them. This is a question that has been studied quite extensively by criminologists as well, yet their research has (...) had little impact on the reflections of business ethicists. In this article, I attempt to show how a criminological perspective can help to illuminate some traditional questions in business ethics. I begin by explaining why criminologists reject three of the most popular folk theories of criminal motivation. I go on to discuss a more satisfactory theory, involving the so-called “techniques of neutralization,” and its implications for business ethics. (shrink)
The process-dissociation procedure has been used in a variety of experimental contexts to assess the contributions of conscious and unconscious processes to task performance. To evaluate whether motivation affects estimates of conscious and unconscious processes, participants were given incentives to follow inclusion and exclusion instructions in a perception task and a memory task. Relative to a control condition in which no performance incentives were given, the results for the perception task indicated that incentives increased the participants' ability to exclude (...) previously presented information, which in turn both increased the estimate of conscious processes and decreased the estimate of unconscious processes. However, the results also indicated that incentives did not influence estimates of conscious or unconscious processes in the memory task. The findings suggest that the process-dissociation procedure is relatively immune to influences of motivation when used with a memory task, but that caution should be exercised when the process-dissociation is used with a perception task. (shrink)
Moral internalism and moral externalism compete over the best explanation of the link between judgment and relevant motivation but, it is argued, they differ at best only verbally. The internalist rational-conceptual nature of the link’ as accounted by M. Smith in The Moral Problem is contrasted to the externalist, also rational, link that requires in addition support from the agent’s psychological-dispositional profile; the internalist link, however, is found to depend crucially on a, similarly to the externalist, psychologically ‘loaded’ profile. (...) It is also argued that the differentiation of the two competing explanations is insufficient partly because they both fail to consider crucial quantitative parameters of the judgment-motivation link. Such parameters become very important particularly in the light of Smith’s claim that this link is grounded on the observable “striking fact” where changes in the set of one’s moral beliefs systematically bring about changes in one’s moral behavior. Examples of algorithms measuring moral coherence and moral worth are provided to serve as evidence for what it comes down to, vis-à-vis the alleged fact, only a verbal dispute between the two camps. Finally, the ‘misfiring’ of these explanations is understood in connection to the irreducibility of concepts such as ‘moral worth’, and/or, ‘moral sensitivity’. (shrink)
In this paper we defend a version of moral internalism and a cognitivist account of motivation against recent criticisms. The internalist thesis we espouse claims that, if an agent believes she has reason to A, then she is motivated to A. Discussion of counter-examples has been clouded by the absence of a clear account of the nature of motivation. While we can only begin to provide such an account in this paper, we do enough to show that our (...) version of internalism can be defended against putative counter-examples. All theories of motivation which take what motivates to be a psychological state run foul of the following plausible constraint: the reason why you ought to do an action and the reason why you do it can be the same. In our view, however, while what motivates is a reason (which is a fact) the state of being motivated is a cognitive stage, viz. the belief that one has reason to act. In cases where the agent's relevant beliefs are false, then she has no reason to act, but nontheless her action can be explained in other ways. (shrink)
Philip Pettit, Michael Smith, and Tyler Burge have suggested that the similarities between theoretical and practical reasoning can bolster the case for judgment internalism – i.e. the claim that normative judgments are necessarily connected to motivation. In this paper, I first flesh out the rationale for this new approach to internalism. I then argue that even if there are reasons for thinking that internalism holds in the theoretical domain, these reasons don’t generalize to the practical domain.
Hume bequeathed to rational intuitionists a problem concerning moral judgment and the will – a problem of sufficient severity that it is still cited as one of the major reasons why intuitionism is untenable.1 Stated in general terms, the problem concerns how an intuitionist moral theory can account for the intimate connection between moral judgment and moral motivation. One reason that this is still considered to be a problem for intuitionists is that it is widely assumed that the early (...) intuitionists made little progress towards solving it. In this essay, I wish to challenge this assumption by examining one of the more subtle intuitionist responses to Hume, viz., that offered by Thomas Reid. For reasons that remain unclear to me, Reid's response to Hume on this issue has been almost entirely neglected. I shall argue that it is nonetheless one that merits our attention, for at least two reasons. In the first place, Reid's response to Hume's challenge to rational intuitionism bears a close affinity to the type of response that he offers to Hume's broadly skeptical challenge to realist views regarding our perception of the external world. Since Reid's strategy in the latter case is widely regarded as exhibiting significant promise, it is natural to wonder whether, when applied to the moral domain, this type of strategy displays similar promise.2 I will suggest that it does. That is, I will suggest that since Reid's broadly nativist position in perception is one well worth considering, then so also is his broadly nativist account of moral motivation. Second, Reid's position regarding moral motivation represents an intriguing attempt to blend a broadly intuitionist view with important insights from the sentimentalist tradition. In this respect, Reid's view is a genuine hybrid position unlike that offered by other intuitionists such as Richard Price. The synthetic character of Reid's position, I claim, gives it a unique type of theoretical richness, since it incorporates some very attractive features of both rational intuitionism and sentimentalism. (shrink)
Aristotle’s Motivation for Matter Why does Aristotle make matter so central to his account of the natural world, making it a principle of nature and one of the four causes? Although there is considerable interest in how Aristotle conceives of matter, scholars rarely investigate why he thinks of it as fundamental to the natural world. Some simply ask why Aristotle thinks there must be matter (without asking how this fits into his account of the natural world). Other interpreters do (...) not even agree that we should ask this question; they claim that Aristotle does not give reasons for needing matter because matter is an everyday notion we need not motivate. I think that in Physics I Aristotle gives us good reasons – perhaps even compelling ones – for thinking that matter is necessary for any understanding of the natural world. We, as interpreters, can use these reasons to understand <span class='Hi'>what</span> matter is for Aristotle, making progress where scholars have offered many incompatible interpretations. The first chapter of the dissertation presents my basic account of why Aristotle needs matter and <span class='Hi'>what</span> it is. I argue that Aristotle makes matter central to his natural philosophy because it is needed in order to understand change. Specifically, in order for there to be change, there must be something whose very nature is to undergo change. This is <span class='Hi'>what</span> matter is for Aristotle: the thing whose very nature is to undergo change (i.e., the thing whose proper activity is undergoing change). Since matter is picked out by its role in change, the very <span class='Hi'>same</span> thing will be matter and other things, based on <span class='Hi'>what</span> other roles it has. Just as the <span class='Hi'>same</span> <span class='Hi'>person</span> can be a doctor and a builder, so the <span class='Hi'>same</span> <span class='Hi'>person</span> can be a doctor and matter. This chapter also highlights the strength of my account by arguing against a rival interpretation of Aristotle’s motivation for matter, according to which matter is needed so that something persists through change. The second chapter argues for my interpretation through a close reading of Aristotle’s Physics I.. (shrink)
On a contemporary Humean-influenced view, the responses of suitably idealized appreciators are presented as tracking, or even determining, facts about artistic value. Focusing on the intra-personal case, this paper argues that (i) facts about the refinement and reconfiguration of aesthetic character together with (ii) the manner in which autobiography and character are implicated in artistic appreciation make it de facto unlikely that we can reliably come to know how our ideal counterpart would respond to a given artwork. Attribution of superhuman (...) abilities to our ideal counterpart partially addresses this worry, but undermines a central feature of the theoretical motivation for the idealizing model. Insofar as response-dependent accounts of artistic value are inextricably tied to an idealizing view of critics, we have reason to reject them. (shrink)
In philosophy, the textbook case for the discussion of human motivation is the examination (and almost always, the refutation) of psychological egoism. The arguments have become part of the folklore of our tribe, from their inclusion in countless introductory texts. [...] One of my central aims has been to define the issues empirically, so we do not just settle them by definition. Although I am inclined at present to put my bets on the reward-event theory, with its internalism, monism, (...) and causal primacy of satisfaction, I think we are very far from knowing enough to settle these questions concerning motivation, human or otherwise. The winds of science will blow where they may. In the meantime, we can be a bit more circumspect about what we put in our tribal folklore. (shrink)
What makes a subject''s motivationrational is its originating in her practicalreasoning. I explain the appeal of this thesisabout rational motivation, and explore itsrelation to recent discussions of internalismabout reasons for action. I do so in theservice of clarifying an important meta-ethicaldebate between Humean motivational skeptics andtheir Kantian opponents. This debate is oneover whether, as this skeptic contends andKantians deny, considerations about ourmotivational capacities, together withinternalism, restrict genuine reasons foraction to merely instrumental ones. I arguethat properly adjudicating this debate requiresidentifying (...) one particular way in which thethesis about rational motivation has beendeveloped – namely, as a part of what I term``the traditional conception'''' of themotivational efficacy of practical reason. Onthis conception, rational motivation consistsin choosing some course of conduct out of one''scognitive appreciation of the way its relationto one''s practicable good gives one reason todo so. And I side with Kantians against theHumean motivational skeptic in part on groundsthat Kant himself – though not all Kantians –would find congenial: namely, that we shouldaccept the traditional conception. (shrink)
My concern here is with the Humean claim that no purely cognitive state could, in combination with appropriate other beliefs, but with nothing else, originate a process of rational motivation. The starting point of such motivation must always include some other element: a desire. Let's call this claim, following David McNaughton the belief-desire theory, or BDT for short. The theory is widely believed but intensely controversial. I argue here that it is true.
In 'The Humean Theory of Motivation' Michael Smith attempts two tasks: he offers an account of the debate about motivation between Humeans and anti-Humeans and he provides arguments that are designed to show that the Humeans win. While the paper is of great virtue in clarifying the debate, I believe that it falls short of both its goals. It does not highlight the really central issue between Humeans and anti-Humeans and it does not provide arguments which would settle (...) that issue in favour of the Humean side. (shrink)
I have become more convinced, over the years, by the truth of Wittgenstein’s characterisation of philosophy as arising through misconceptions of grammar. Such a misconception of grammar characterises a very popular approach to indexicality which has been current since the 1970s, stemming from the work of Casteñeda, and Kaplan. Gareth Evans was inclined to allow, for instance, that one could say ‘“To the left (I am hot)” is true, as uttered by x at t iff there is someone moderately near (...) to the left of x such that, if he were to utter the sentence “I am hot” at t, what he would thereby say is true’ (Evans 1985: 358). But not only does this disturb the proper relation between direct and indirect speech, it continues a Fregean tradition which these very cases show to be quite mistaken about the logic of intensions. In this paper, however, I want primarily to point out how this misconception of grammar has distorted our view of people. For some of the above thinkers have tried to make out that human motivation is related to the possession of a certain category of indexical belief, by Lewis called ‘de se beliefs’. I shall look here at how the matter arises in Hugh Mellor’s work on Time. In connection with Time, indexicality arises in McTaggart’s ‘A-series’, and Mellor treats this indexicality in parallel with Evans’ language. First, therefore, I aim to show how Mellor’s discussion of Time grammatically misconceives the situation, and leads to a misrepresentation of the motivation of human action. But a larger conclusion about Fregean intensions is also then immediately available. (shrink)
Three accounts of motivation. The main question which I will be concerned with is whether it is feasible to defend a naturalistic and internalist account of moral motivation, and if so, which. I thereby take it (in agreement with Scheffler) that such an account is naturalistic just in case it explains our motivation to act in accordance with moral reasons in terms of certains features or states of our empirical psychology; and that it is internalist just in (...) case it respects the idea that something is a practical reason for or against an action only if it is capable to motivating us to act accordingly. (shrink)
Voluntary participation is connected to cultural, political, religious and social contexts. Social and societal factors can provide opportunities, expectations and requirements for voluntary activity, as well as influence the values and norms promoting this. These contexts are especially central in the case of voluntary participation among students as they are often responding to the societal demands for building a career and qualifying for future assignments and/or government requirements for completing community service. This article questions how cultural values affect attitudes towards (...) volunteerism, using data from an empirical research project on student volunteering activity in 13 countries in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific region. The findings indicate that there are differences in motivation between countries which represent different cultural values. This article sets these findings in context by comparing structural and cultural factors which may influence volunteerism within each country. (shrink)
I examine a dispute about the nature of practical reason, and in particular moral reason, generated by Thomas Nagel's proposal of an internalist rationalism which claims we can explain motivation in terms of reason and belief alone. In opposition, Humeans contend that such explanations must also appeal to further desires. Arguments on either side of this debate typically assume that a rationalist or Humean conclusion can be reached independently of a claim about the nature of moral judgment. I'll maintain, (...) to the contrary, that a resolution of this dispute can only be achieved on the basis of such a claim. (shrink)
Motivation crowding out can lead to a reduction of ‘higher’ virtues, such as altruism or public spirit, in market contexts. This article discusses the role of virtue in the moral and economic theory of Adam Smith. It argues that because Smith’s account of commercial society is based on ‘lower’ virtue, ‘higher’ virtue has a precarious place in it; this phenomenon is structurally similar to motivation crowding out. The article analyzes and systematizes the ways in which Smith builds on (...) ‘contrivances of nature’ in order to solve the problems of limited self-command and limited knowledge. As recent research has shown, a clear separation of different social spheres can help to reduce the risk of motivation crowding out and preserve a place for ‘higher virtue’ in commercial society. The conclusion reflects on the performative power of economics, arguing that the one-sided focus on models of ‘economic man’ should be embedded in a larger context. (shrink)
Questions about the possibility and nature of moral motivation occupy a central place in the history of ethics. Philosophers disagree, however, about the role that motivational investigations should play within the larger subject of ethical theory. These disagreements surface in the dispute about whether moral thought is necessarily motivating – ‘internalists’ affirming that it is,‘externalists’ denying this. [...] There are also important questions about the content of moral motivations. A moral theory should help us to make sense of the (...) fact that people are often moved to do the right thing, by identifying a basic motive to moral behaviour that is both widespread and intelligible, as a serious source of reasons. (shrink)
Motivation and emotion are not clearly defined and differentiated in Rolls's The brain and emotion, reflecting a widespread problem in conceptualizing these phenomena. An adequate theory of emotion cannot be based upon reward and punishment alone. Basic mechanisms of arousal, agonistic, and prosocial motives-emotions exist in addition to reward-punishment systems.
According to a popular contemporary contractualist account of moral motivation, the most plausible explanation for why those who are concerned with morality take moral reasons seriously — why these reasons strike those who are moved by them with a particular inescapability — is that they stem from, and are grounded by, a desire to be able to justify one’s actions to others on grounds they could not reasonably reject.1 My.
On the basis of 3p9s and 3p39s of the Ethics, it might seem that, for Spinoza, a judgment about something's goodness or badness is motivationally inert and, moreover, that value judgments essentially reflect an individual's pre-existing motivational states. However, in this paper I show that Spinoza holds that under certain conditions a motivational state results from a value judgment. Spinoza's theory of motivation consists of two accounts of the psychological order of value judgments and motivational states: an account of (...) their order in those in bondage as well as an account of their order in those who are free. (shrink)
Kant maintained that in order for an act to have moral worth it is necessary that it be done from the motive of duty. On the traditional view of Kant, the motive of duty is constituted solely by one’s belief or cognition that some act is one’s duty. Desire must be ruled out as forming partof the moral motive. On this view, if an agent’s act is to have moral worth, then it must be the ease that his belief that (...) he has a duty has, on its own, motivational force.I attempt to argue that this view is mistaken, that for Kant desire does have a place in moral motivation, and that for Kant it is not possible that we can have an obligation, sincerely assert that we have, and at the same time have no desire to perform that obligation. (shrink)
A natural experiment was conducted studying the relations among student cheating, motivation, religiosity, and attitudes toward cheating. Students enrolled in a dual religious/college curriculum were surveyed regarding their cheating behavior, attitudes toward cheating, religiosity, and learning/grade motivations toward classes. Business and liberal arts college students were represented. Results strongly support the following conclusions. First, grade orientation is associated with increases in self-reported cheating. Second, among these religious students, more religiosity correlates with reduced reports of cheating in all courses. This (...) result appears to be due to the unique effect of religion on self-reported cheating rates and, depending on course content, on a reduction of grade orientation in religious students. Third, business students report more cheating than their liberal arts counterparts, even when taking the same courses. They have less critical attitudes toward cheating and greater grade orientation, both of which statistically contribute to this difference, but other factors are involved as well. Keywords: academic integrity, motivation, religiosity, cheating. (shrink)
Increasingly, empirically minded moral philosophers are using data from cognitive science and neuroscience to resolve some longstanding philosophical questions about moral motivation, such as whether moral beliefs require the presence of a desire to motivate (Humeanism). These empirical approaches are implicitly committed to the existence of folk psychological (FP) mental states like beliefs and desires. However, data from the neuroscience of decision-making, particularly cellular-level work in neuroeconomics, is now converging with data from cognitive and social neuroscience to explain the (...) processes through which agents are moved to act on the basis of decisions, including decisions about social and moral norms. I argue that these developments are beginning to cast doubt on the prospect of finding nontrivial physical 'realizers' for the FP states invoked in the Humeanism dispute by posing two distinctive challenges that tend to work against each other: belief-desire directionality and causal relevance. (shrink)
In both content and historical position, the “ Xing Zi Ming Chu ” is of obvious significance for understanding the development of classical Chinese philosophy, particularly Confucian moral psychology. This article aims to clarify one aspect of the text, namely, its account of human motivation. This account can be divided into two parts. The first describes human motivation primarily in passive terms of response to external forces, as emotions arise from our nature when stimulated by things in the (...) world. The second comes from the role of the heart, which takes a more active role in shaping our responses to the world. This article focuses on the role of the heart. At stake is the status of human agency, in particular, the degree to which the heart, through the formation of a stable intention, allows us to go beyond being simply pulled along by external forces. (shrink)
Alfred R. Mele defends a broadly 'Humean' theory of motivation. One common dispute between Humeans and anti-Humeans has to do with whether or not a desire is required to motivate action. For the most part Mele avoids this dispute. He claims that there are reasons to think that beliefs cannot motivate action, but finally allows that it might be that it is a contingent fact that beliefs can motivate action in human beings. Instead Mele argues for the claim that (...) certain kinds of desires - namely action-desires - are 'paradigmatic motivational attitudes', similar in an essential way to intentions, and that beliefs are not. Hence it is a necessary truth that action-desires encompass motivation to act; if beliefs encompass motivation to act, it is not a necessary truth that they do. In this way Mele preserves some of what is intuitively right about the Humean account, while admitting that the arguments normally offered in support of the standard Humean claims are open to objections. I argue that Mele's account is implausible. His argument against the claim that state-desires are essentially motivation-encompassing attitudes is convincing, but the same argument proves that action-desires are not essentially motivation-encompassing either. If this difference between desires and beliefs cannot be maintained, however, then Mele fails to defend any motivationally relevant difference between beliefs and desires. (shrink)
Abstract In this study of the relationship between moral behaviour, level of moral development, and motivation, moral behaviour was assessed in an experimental situation in which it was necessary to violate the experimenter's authority to help someone; level of moral development was assessed by Kohlberg's Moral Judgment Scale, and motivation by a post?experimental interview. Although 72 per cent of the subjects stated afterwards that they felt that they should help, only 43 per cent did, and only 6 per (...) cent volunteered their own service. As the level of moral development rose, an increasing percentage of subjects helped. Subjects interpreted the same situation differently and were motivated to make the same response for different reasons, which varied with their level of moral development. (shrink)
What my suggestion rules out – if it is right – is the project of using some thesis about the conative or cognitive nature of motivation to argue for some thesis in meta-ethics. [...] facts about human motivation can be captured equally well with conativist or cognitivist language. And if that is true, then nothing about motivation either implies or rules out internalist moral realism.