Absolute value as belief

Philosophical Studies 148 (2):221 - 229 (2010)
Authors
Steven Daskal
Northern Illinois University
Abstract
In “Desire as Belief” and “Desire as Belief II,” David Lewis ( 1988 , 1996 ) considers the anti-Humean position that beliefs about the good require corresponding desires, which is his way of understanding the idea that beliefs about the good are capable of motivating behavior. He translates this anti-Humean claim into decision theoretic terms and demonstrates that it leads to absurdity and contradiction. As Ruth Weintraub ( 2007 ) has shown, Lewis’ argument goes awry at the outset. His decision theoretic formulation of anti-Humeanism is one that no sensible anti-Humean would endorse. My aim is to demonstrate that Lewis’ infelicitous rendering of anti-Humeanism really does undermine the force of his arguments. To accomplish this, I begin by developing a more adequate decision theoretic rendering of the anti-Humean position. After showing that my formulation of anti-Humeanism constitutes a plausible interpretation of the anti-Humean thesis, I go on to demonstrate that if we adopt this more accurate rendition of anti-Humeanism, the view is no longer susceptible to arguments like the ones Lewis has devised. I thereby provide a more robust response to Lewis’ arguments than has yet been offered, and in the process I develop a formulation of anti-Humeanism that creates the possibility for future decision theoretic arguments that, unlike Lewis’, speak directly to the plausibility of anti-Humeanism.
Keywords Anti-Humeanism  David Lewis  Decision theory  Desire as belief
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-008-9323-0
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References found in this work BETA

The Logic of Decision.Richard Jeffrey - 1965 - University of Chicago Press.
Desire as Belief.David Lewis - 1988 - Mind 97 (418):323-32.
Desire as Belief II.David Lewis - 1996 - Mind 105 (418):303-13.

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