Counterfactual desire as belief

Abstract

Bryne & Hajek (1997) argue that Lewis’s (1988; 1996) objections to identifying desire with belief do not go through if our notion of desire is ‘causalized’ (characterized by causal, rather than evidential, decision theory). I argue that versions of the argument go through on certain assumptions about the formulation of decision theory. There is one version of causal decision theory where the original arguments cannot be formulated—the ‘imaging’ formulation that Joyce (1999) advocates. But I argue this formulation is independently objectionable. If we want to maintain the desire as belief thesis, there’s no shortcut through causalization.

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Robert Williams
University of Leeds

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References found in this work

The moral problem.Michael Smith - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.
Causal decision theory.David Lewis - 1981 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 59 (1):5 – 30.

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