Moral Motivation and Moral Ought‐Beliefs

Alfred R. Mele

in Motivation and Agency

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780195156171
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833467 | DOI:
 Moral Motivation and Moral Ought‐Beliefs

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This chapter's topic is moral motivation. It is argued – against John McDowell, David McNaughton, Thomas Nagel, and others – that no plausible cognitivist moral theory will include the strong “internalist” thesis that moral ought‐beliefs essentially encompass motivation to act accordingly or even Jonathan Dancy's more modest thesis that some such beliefs are “intrinsically motivating.” The argument features an examination of depression or listlessness. An alternative, causal view of the connection between moral judgments and motivation is proposed. It is argued that this view supports the practical function of morality.

Keywords: cognitivism; Dancy; depression; externalism; internalism; listlessness; McDowell; McNaughton; moral judgment; moral motivation; moral theory; ought; Thomas Nagel

Chapter.  15836 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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