Why There Is Really No Such Thing as the Theory of Motivation

Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 95 (1):1-18 (1995)
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Abstract

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.

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Jonathan Dancy
University of Texas at Austin

Citations of this work

Motivation in agents.Christian Miller - 2008 - Noûs 42 (2):222–266.
Reasons and psychological causes.Wayne A. Davis - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 122 (1):51 - 101.
Mapping moral motivation.Eve Garrard & David McNaughton - 1998 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1 (1):45-59.
The Space of Motivations.Donnchadh O’Conaill - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (3):440-455.

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