A challenge for Humean externalism

Philosophical Studies 175 (1):23-44 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Humean externalism is the view that moral motivation must be explained in terms of desires that are “external” to an agent’s motivationally-inert moral judgments. A standard argument in favor of Humean externalism appeals to the possibility of amoral or morally cynical agents—agents for whom moral considerations gain no motivational traction. The possibility of such agents seems to provide evidence for both the claim that moral judgments are themselves motivationally inert, and the claim that moral motivation has its source in desires external to those judgments. This essay makes the case that, rather than providing a compelling argument in favor of Humean externalism, the argument from amoralism can be recast to set up an important challenge to this view. On one hand, it appears that the central methodological considerations and types of evidence that undergird the externalist argument from amoralism are in tension with a central Humean commitment: namely, that desires can be sources of motivation. While it is possible for Humeans to escape this horn of the dilemma, the most plausible strategies for doing so can be co-opted by internalists to resist the argument’s externalist conclusion.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,247

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Humean Externalism and the Argument From Depression.Steven Swartzer - 2015 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 9 (2):1-16.
Doing Without Desiring.Steven E. Swartzer - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Externalism, Motivation, and Moral Knowledge.Sergio Tenenbaum - 2011 - In Susana Nuccetelli & Gary Seay (eds.), Ethical Naturalism: Current Debates. Cambridge University Press.
Because I Believe It’s the Right Thing to Do.Joshua May - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (4):791-808.
The Humean Theory of Reasons.Mark Schroeder - 2007 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 2. Oxford University Press. pp. 195--219.
Are Desires de Dicto Fetishistic?Jonas Olson - 2002 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 45 (1):89 – 96.
Moral Judgment and Motivation.Chris David Meyers - 2002 - Dissertation, Loyola University of Chicago
Motivational Internalism and the Challenge of Amoralism.Danielle Bromwich - 2016 - European Journal of Philosophy 24 (2):452-471.
Motivation-Encompassing Attitudes.Christopher G. Framarin - 2008 - Philosophical Explorations 11 (2):121 – 130.
Desires as Reasons.Yonatan Shemmer - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2):326–348.
Humean and Anti-Humean Internalism About Moral Judgements.Mark Van Roojen - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (1):26-49.

Analytics

Added to PP
2017-01-10

Downloads
70 (#169,492)

6 months
4 (#171,088)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Steven Swartzer
Fordham University

Citations of this work

Moral Cognitivism Vs. Non-Cognitivism.Mark van Roojen - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2013 (1):1-88.
Akrasia and Moral Motivation.Sam Shpall - 2022 - European Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):411-426.

Add more citations

References found in this work

The Moral Problem.Michael Smith (ed.) - 1994 - Wiley.
Moral Realism: A Defence.Russ Shafer-Landau - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
Slaves of the Passions.Mark Schroeder - 2007 - Oxford University Press.

View all 51 references / Add more references