The motivation argument and motivational internalism

Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2445-2467 (2015)
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Much in contemporary metaethics revolves around the two positions known as ‘motivational internalism’ and the ‘Humean theory of motivation’. The importance of these positions is mostly due to their role in what is considered to be the most powerful argument for metaethical non-cognitivism: the so-called ‘motivation argument’. In my paper, I want to argue that widely accepted renditions of the MA, such as the rendition recently forwarded by Russ Shafer-Landau, are flawed in two senses. First, they fail to sufficiently distinguish between conceptual claims and empirical psychological claims, thereby somewhat obscuring the status of the argument and its conclusion. Secondly, they start from definitions of motivational internalism that are, in crucial respects, too strong. Motivational internalism is usually formulated as the claim that moral judgements necessarily motivate; as I want to argue, however, the claim that moral judgements potentially motivate is all the motivational internalism a noncognitivist defender of the MA is ever going to need



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Citations of this work

Moral motivation in early 18th century moral rationalism.Daniel Eggers - 2019 - European Journal of Philosophy 27 (3):552-574.
A New Indifference Argument against Motivational Internalism.Zhang Wan - 2017 - 4th BEIJING ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHY CONFERENCE.

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References found in this work

The moral problem.Michael Smith - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.
Moral realism: a defence.Russ Shafer-Landau - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Moral Realism and the Foundations of Ethics.David Owen Brink - 1989 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Ruling Passions: A Theory of Practical Reasoning.Simon Blackburn - 1998 - New York: Oxford University Press UK.
Moral reasons.Jonathan Dancy - 1993 - Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell.

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