A defense of humeanism from Nagel's persimmon

Erkenntnis 57 (1):41-46 (2002)
Cei Maslen
Victoria University of Wellington
This paper defends Humeanism: the view that an agent has a reason for an intentional action if and only if it fulfills, or is a means to fulfilling, a current desire of that agent. Thomas Nagel presents an example involving a short-lived desire for eating a persimmon tomorrow. He claims that, contrary to Humeanism, this example is a clear case of irrationality. Furthermore, the Humean cannot simply dismiss all current desires with future objects, because desires of this sort are crucial to the Humean account of prudence. I respond that, correctly understood, Humeanism can simultaneously account for prudent conduct and other conduct motivated by present desires with future objects.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Ethics   Logic   Ontology
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1020190012498
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