Philosophical Studies 165 (3):975-988 (2013)
AbstractSome motivational cognitivists believe that there are besires—cognitive mental states (typically moral beliefs) that share the key feature of desire (typically desire’s ‘direction of ﬁt’) in virtue of which they are capable of being directly motivational. Besires have been criticized by Humeans and cognitivists alike as philosophically extravagant, incoherent, ad hoc, and incompatible with folk psychology. I provide a response to these standard objections to besires—one motivated independently of common anti-Humean intuitions about the motivational efﬁcacy of moral judgments. I proceed by examining a hypothesis about the nature of appetitive desires—that these paradigmatic motivational attitudes are a mode of perceptual experience—and argue that this hypothesis is committed to the existence of besires. However, despite its commitment to besires, this hypothesis is not extravagant, incoherent, ad hoc, or incompatible with folk psychology. In other words, the standard complaints about besires all fail. The upshot is that there is nothing bizarre about besires, and motivational cognitivism takes on no additional costs by positing them.
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Citations of this work
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References found in this work
Explaining Behavior: Reasons in a World of Causes.Fred Dretske - 1988 - MIT Press.
A Treatise of Human Nature: Being an Attempt to Introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning Into Moral Subjects.David Hume & D. G. C. Macnabb (eds.) - 1738 - Collins.