Philosophical Studies 173 (7):1735-1754 (2016)

Jeff Behrends
Harvard University
Joshua DiPaolo
California State University, Fullerton
Promotion is the relation between an act and a desire that obtains when the act advances or serves the desire. Under what conditions does an act promote a desire? Probabilistic accounts of promotion, the most prominent accounts, analyze promotion in terms of an increase in the probability of the desire’s satisfaction. In this paper, we clarify the promotion relation and explain why probabilistic accounts are attractive. Then we identify two questions probabilistic accounts must answer: the Baseline Question and the Interpretation Question. We discuss and reject the three answers to the Baseline Question found in the literature, and explain the challenge future attempts at answering this question will face. Proponents of probabilistic accounts have not adequately addressed the Interpretation Question. We survey three answers to this question, finding each unsatisfactory. We conclude that no satisfactory probabilistic account has yet been offered, and that there are significant hurdles to providing one in the future.
Keywords Promotion  Reasons  Instrumental reasons  Desire satisfaction  Probability
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-015-0576-0
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References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Papers.David Kellogg Lewis - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
Moral Realism: A Defence.Russ Shafer-Landau - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
Slaves of the Passions.Mark Schroeder - 2007 - Oxford University Press.

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