The Motivational Power of Practical Reasoning

Alfred R. Mele

in Motivation and Agency

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780195156171
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833467 | DOI:
 The Motivational Power of Practical Reasoning

Show Summary Details


Examines the motivational power of practical reasoning. Two views are distinguished: “the antecedent motivation theory,” according to which, in actual human beings, all motivation nonaccidentally produced by practical reasoning issuing in a belief favoring a course of action derives, at least partly, from motivation already present in the agent; and “the cognitive engine theory,” according to which, in actual human beings, some instances of practical evaluative reasoning nonaccidentally produce motivation that does not derive at all from motivation already present. The former view is defended and the latter is criticized. Bernard Williams's defense of the former view is argued to be unsuccessful; alternative arguments for it are advanced.

Keywords: antecedent motivation theory; belief; cognitive engine theory; motivation; motivational power; practical reasoning; Bernard Williams

Chapter.  12227 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.