Belief, Desire and Motivation: An Essay in Quasi-Hydraulics

American Philosophical Quarterly 33 (3):291-301 (1996)
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Abstract

My concern here is with the Humean claim that no purely cognitive state could, in combination with appropriate other beliefs, but with nothing else, originate a process of rational motivation. The starting point of such motivation must always include some other element: a desire. Let's call this claim, following David McNaughton the belief-desire theory, or BDT for short. The theory is widely believed but intensely controversial. I argue here that it is true.

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James Lenman
University of Sheffield

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