Nonbelief and the desire-as-belief thesis

Acta Analytica 23 (2):115-124 (2008)
Authors
Charles B. Cross
University of Georgia
Abstract
I show the incompatibility of two theses: (a) to desire the truth of p amounts to believing a certain proposition about the value of p’s truth; (b) one cannot be said to desire the truth of p if one believes that p is true. Thesis (a), the Desire-As-Belief Thesis, has received much attention since the late 1980s. Thesis (b) is an epistemic variant of Socrates’ remark in the Symposium that one cannot desire what one already has. It turns out that (a) and (b) cannot both be true if it is possible for there to exist an agent who has a desire initially, say the desire for the truth of p, and then expands the corpus of propositions she believes to include p. This result provides a new route to the denial of (a).
Keywords Desire  Desire-as-belief  David Lewis  Anti-Humeanism  Cognitivism  Belief revision  Expansion
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DOI 10.1007/s12136-008-0026-0
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The Logic of Decision.Richard Jeffrey - 1965 - University of Chicago Press.
The Humean Theory of Motivation.Michael Smith - 1987 - Mind 96 (381):36-61.
Action, Emotion And Will.A. J. P. Kenny - 1963 - Ny: Humanities Press.
The Guise of the Good.J. David Velleman - 1992 - Noûs 26 (1):3 - 26.

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