How Simple is the Humean Theory of Motivation?

Philosophical Explorations 25 (2):125-140 (2022)
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In recent discussions of the Humean Theory of Motivation (HTM), several authors – not to mention other philosophers around the proverbial water cooler – have appealed to the simplicity of the theory to defend it. But the argument from simplicity has rarely been explicated or received much critical attention – until now. I begin by reconstructing the argument and then argue that it suffers from a number of problems. Most importantly, first, I argue that HTM is unlikely to be simpler than even close competing theories, and second, it is unlikely that a plausible version of the theory will be very simple. Moreover, I argue that a convincing case for HTM is likely to have to show that it is more virtuous than defenders have done so far.

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Olof Leffler
Università degli Studi di Siena

Citations of this work

Neo‐Humean rationality and two types of principles.Caj Strandberg - 2024 - Analytic Philosophy 65 (2):256-273.

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References found in this work

Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Philosophy of Science 42 (3):341-344.
Kinds of Reasons: An Essay in the Philosophy of Action.Maria Alvarez - 2010 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.

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