Moral Motivation, Moral Phenomenology, And The Alief/Belief Distinction

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):469-486 (2012)
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Abstract

In a series of publications, Tamar Gendler has argued for a distinction between belief and what she calls ?alief?. Gendler's argument for the distinction is a serviceability argument: the distinction is indispensable for explaining a whole slew of phenomena, typically involving ?belief-behaviour mismatch?. After embedding Gendler's distinction in a dual-process model of moral cognition, I argue here that the distinction also suggests a possible (dis)solution of what is perhaps the organizing problem of contemporary moral psychology: the apparent tension between the inherently motivational role of moral judgments and their manifestly objectivistic phenomenology. I argue that moral judgments come in two varieties, moral aliefs and moral beliefs, and it is only the former that are inherently motivating and only the latter that have an objectivistic phenomenology. This serves to both bolster the case for the alief/belief distinction and shed new light on otherwise well-trodden territory in metaethics. I start with an exposition of the moral-psychological problem (?1) and a discussion of Gendler's alief/belief distinction (?2). I then apply the latter to moral judgments in an attempt to dissolve the former (?3). I close with discussion of the upshot for our understanding of moral thought, moral motivation, and moral phenomenology (?4)

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Uriah Kriegel
Rice University

Citations of this work

Respect and the reality of apparent reasons.Kurt L. Sylvan - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3129-3156.
Moral Sentimentalism.Anttin D. Kauppinen - 2014 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Moral Motivation.Connie S. Rosati - 2006 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Empirical Identity of Moral Judgment.Victor Kumar - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (265):783-804.
Moral Motivation and the Affective Appeal.Jennifer Corns & Robert Cowan - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (1):71-94.

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References found in this work

Language, Truth and Logic.Alfred Jules Ayer - 1936 - London: V. Gollancz.
Parts: A Study in Ontology.Peter Simons - 1987 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

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