Synthese 195 (3):1139-1161 (2018)

Douglas Ian Campbell
University of Canterbury
How many attitudes must be posited at the level of reductive bedrock in order to reductively explain all the rest? Motivational Humeans hold that at least two attitudes are indispensable, belief and desire. Desire-As-Belief theorists beg to differ. They hold that the belief attitude can do the all the work the desire attitude is supposed to do, because desires are in fact nothing but beliefs of a certain kind. If this is correct it has major implications both for the philosophy of mind, with regards the problem of naturalizing the propositional attitudes, and for metaethics, with regards Michael Smith’s ‘moral problem’. This paper defends a version of Desire-As-Belief, and shows that it is immune to several major objections commonly levelled against such theories.
Keywords Propositional Attitudes  Belief  Desire  Motivational Humeanism  Cognitivism  Internalism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-016-1255-1
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,209
External links

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

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Moral Realism: A Defence.Russ Shafer-Landau - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
The Possibility of Altruism.Thomas Nagel - 1970 - Oxford Clarendon Press.

View all 45 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Desires Without Guises: Why We Need Not Value What We Want.Sabine Döring & Bahadir Eker - forthcoming - In Julien Deonna & Federico Lauria (eds.), The Nature of Desire. Oxford University Press.
Parasitic Attitudes.Emar Maier - 2015 - Linguistics and Philosophy 38 (3):205-236.
Backgrounding Desire.Philip Pettit & Michael Smith - 1990 - Philosophical Review 99 (4):565-592.
A Moorean Paradox of Desire.David Wall - 2012 - Philosophical Explorations 15 (1):63-84.
Nonbelief and the Desire-as-Belief Thesis.Charles B. Cross - 2008 - Acta Analytica 23 (2):115-124.
Some Remarks on Belief and Desire.Gerald Barnes - 1977 - Philosophical Review 86 (July):340-349.
Fitting Attitudes, Finkish Goods, and Value Appearances.Graham Oddie - 2016 - In Russ Shafer Landau & Russ Shafer-Landau (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics (Volume 11). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 74-101.


Added to PP index

Total views
78 ( #139,370 of 2,455,352 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #73,500 of 2,455,352 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes