Against Strong Cognitivism: An Argument from the Particularity of Love

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (3):563-596 (2014)
  Copy   BIBTEX


According to the view we may term “strong cognitivism”, all reasons for action are rooted in normative features that the motivated subject takes objects to have independently of her attitudes towards these objects. The main concern of this paper is to argue against strong cognitivism, that is, to establish the view that conative attitudes do provide subjects with reasons for action. The central argument to this effect is a top-down argument: it proceeds by an analysis of the complex phenomenon of love and derives a conclusion regarding the nature of more basic mental phenomena—particular desires. More specifically, its starting point is the crude intuition that the significance conferred by love upon its objects is of a distinctively personal kind—an intuition that is expressed by the apparent non-substitutability of two similar subjects only one of whom is loved with respect to their importance for the lover. I argue that the initial notion of non-substitutability can be refined and modified so as to form a real challenge to all versions of strong cognitivism and to establish the existence of attitude-dependent reasons.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,323

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Normative Reasons for Love, Part I.Aaron Smuts - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (8):507-517.
Normative Reasons for Love, Part II.Aaron Smuts - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (8):518-526.
Disentangling the thick concept argument.Olle Blomberg - 2007 - SATS: Northern European Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):63-78.
Moral motivation pluralism.Ragnar Francén - 2010 - The Journal of Ethics 14 (2):117-148.
The Pragmatics of Moral Motivation.Caj Strandberg - 2011 - The Journal of Ethics 15 (4):341-369.
The extent of cognitivism.V. P. J. Arponen - 2013 - History of the Human Sciences 26 (5):3-21.
Against Moral Intellectualism.Zed Adams - 2013 - Philosophical Investigations 37 (1):37-56.
Expressivism and moral certitude.Krister Bykvist & Jonas Olson - 2009 - Philosophical Quarterly 59 (235):202-215.
Expressivism and moral certitude.Jonas Olson Krister Bykvist - 2009 - Philosophical Quarterly 59 (235):202-215.


Added to PP

144 (#130,979)

6 months
5 (#648,315)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Hilla Jacobson
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Citations of this work

Not Only a Messenger: Towards an Attitudinal‐Representational Theory of Pain.Hilla Jacobson - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (2):382-408.
Irreplaceability and the Desire-Account of Love.Nora Kreft - 2022 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 25 (4):541-556.
Subject-centred reasons and bestowal love.Dwayne Moore - 2019 - Philosophical Explorations 22 (1):62-77.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
The moral problem.Michael Smith - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.
The View From Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.

View all 86 references / Add more references