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Motivation and Agency$
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Alfred R. Mele

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195156171

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019515617X.001.0001

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Motivated Belief and Motivational Explanations

Motivated Belief and Motivational Explanations

(p.234) 11 Motivated Belief and Motivational Explanations
Motivation and Agency

Alfred R. Mele (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Drawing on work in cognitive and social psychology, this chapter explains the bearing of motivationally biased beliefs on the project of producing an account of motivational explanation. It is argued that the core of ordinary motivational explanations is the following compound feature: motivation‐constituting items make a causal contribution to the explanandum that (1) helps to explain the explanandum at least partly by revealing (sometimes in conjunction with an instrumental belief) an agreeable feature, from the perspective of the agent's desires, either of the explanandum itself or of its object and (2) is of such a kind that our learning of contributions of that kind tends to improve our folk‐psychological understanding – that is, the understanding we have in, roughly, commonsense psychological terms – of why the explanandum came to be.

Keywords:   belief, cognitive psychology, desire, folk psychology, motivational explanation, motivationally biased belief, social psychology

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