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Does moral motivation violate the standard belief-desire theory of rational action?

Ali, Mohammad Shahrar; (1997) Does moral motivation violate the standard belief-desire theory of rational action? Masters thesis (M.Phil), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

In chapter I, I bring out the three relations to which a theory of moral motivation may be said to stand to a standard model of rational action. I also stipulate what is to count as a moral matter. In chapter II, I develop the standard with recourse to the belief-desire complex (II i). I guard against conflating two distinct uses of reason, motivating and justifying (II ii). I bring out the sense in which the standard may be attributed to Hume (II iii). I advance the instrumental conception of reason as the moral outlook that naturally allies itself with the standard (II iv). In chapter III, I examine Nagel's attempt in The Possibility of Altruism to secure a non-Humean rational basis to ethics. I bring out an ambiguity in the notion of motivated desire (III ii) and examine the validity of Nagel's critical thesis (III iii). 1 reconstruct his positive proposal (III iv). In chapter IV, I examine McDowell's conception of the virtuous agent with respect to its non-Humean credentials. In chapter V, I reconstruct Dancy's anti-Humean cognitivist proposal as it surfaces in his Moral Reasons. I acknowledge his internalist intuition (Vi 1); review forms of moral misdemeanor (V i 2); criticise Dancy's attempt to convict the hybrid theories of Nagel and McDowell of incoherence (V i 3); and distinguish Dancy's pure desire from the other recognisable options by recruiting a distinction between independently existing and independently intelligible desires. I examine Dancy's two- representation motivational alternative and his reply to the problem of accidie (V ii). In the final chapter, VI, I summarise the thesis and suggest an anti-Humean amendment to Dancy's pure theory by defending a teleological conception of causation.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.Phil
Title: Does moral motivation violate the standard belief-desire theory of rational action?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Philosophy, religion and theology; Moral motivation
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106249
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