Moral internalism and moral cognitivism in Hume's metaethics

Synthese 152 (3):353 - 370 (2006)
Authors
Elizabeth S. Radcliffe
College of William and Mary
Abstract
Most naturalists think that the belief/desire model from Hume is the best framework for making sense of motivation. As Smith has argued, given that the cognitive state (belief) and the conative state (desire) are separate on this model, if a moral judgment is cognitive, it could not also be motivating by itself. So, it looks as though Hume and Humeans cannot hold that moral judgments are states of belief (moral cognitivism) and internally motivating (moral internalism). My chief claim is that the details of Hume’s naturalistic philosophy of mind actually allow for a conjunction of these allegedly incompatible views. This thesis is significant, since readers typically have thought that Hume’s view that motivation is not produced by representations, coupled with his view that moral judgments motivate on their own, imply that moral judgments could never take the form of beliefs about, or representations of, the moral (virtue and vice).
Keywords Cognitivism  Hume  Internalism  Metaethics  Morality  Motivation
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-006-9003-6
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References found in this work BETA

Impartial Reason.Stephen L. Darwall - 1983 - Cornell University Press.
Internal and External Reasons.Bernard Williams - 1979 - In Ross Harrison (ed.), Rational Action. Cambridge University Press. pp. 101-113.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Simple Duality: Humean Passions.Hsueh Qu - 2012 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 42 (S1):98-116.
Moral Motivation Pluralism.Ragnar Francén - 2010 - The Journal of Ethics 14 (2):117-148.
Internalists Beware—We Might All Be Amoralists!Gunnar Björnsson & Ragnar Francén Olinder - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (1):1 - 14.

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