Humeanism, psychologism, and the normative story [Book Review]

Jonathan Dancy’s Practical Reality is, I think, best understood as an attempt to undermine our allegiance to these two purported constitutive claims about action. If we must think that psychological states figure in the explanation of action then, according to Dancy, we should suppose that those psychological states are beliefs rather than desire-belief pairs. Dancy thus prefers pure cognitivism to Humeanism. But in fact he thinks that we have no business accepting any form of psychologism in the first place; no business accepting a theory that explains an agent’s actions by reference to that agent’s psychological states. For though it is indeed a truism that actions are explained by reasons, Dancy argues that psychological states are only rarely, if ever, reasons. He thus prefers the unadorned normative story, a story which contents itself with explaining actions by laying out the considerations in the light of which the agent acted as he did, to any form of psychologism. I will consider Dancy’s arguments for these claims in turn.
Keywords Dancy  Humeanism  psychologism
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DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2003.tb00303.x
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References found in this work BETA
John McDowell (1978). Are Moral Requirements Hypothetical Imperatives? Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 52:13-29+31-42.

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Citations of this work BETA
Giles Pearson (2015). XIV—What Are Sources of Motivation? Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 115 (3_pt_3):255-276.

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