Humean Instrumentalism and the Motivational Capacity of Reason

Journal of Philosophical Research 27:499-509 (2002)
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Abstract

Humean instrumentalism is the view that all of one’s reasons for action are ultimately grounded in one’s antecedent desires, whatever those happen to be. According to this view, what determines which actions are rational is ultimately what the agent wants or desires, while the role of rational deliberation is to inform the agent about how to best gratify these desires. In this paper I aim to weaken commitment to Humean instrumentalism by showing that (a) the main supporting argument for HI fails and that (b) Humean instrumentalism conflicts with a very plausible principle of practical rationality.

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The Hume Literature, 2002.William Edward Morris - 2003 - Hume Studies 29 (2):381-400.

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