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Humean NatureHow desire explains action, thought, and feeling$
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Neil Sinhababu

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198783893

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198783893.001.0001

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The Return of the Humean Theory

The Return of the Humean Theory

(p.1) 1 The Return of the Humean Theory
Humean Nature

Neil Sinhababu

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 presents the Humean theory of motivation, according to which desire motivates all action and drives all practical reasoning. This is an empirical theory about human psychology. Anti-Humeans hold that other mental states play a similar role in driving motivation and reasoning. The Humean theory causes problems for views on which moral judgments are beliefs that have intrinsic motivational force, because it entails that humans lack such mental states and therefore cannot make moral judgments. We should accept the Humean theory because it offers the simplest total explanation of our psychological data, and reject the view that moral judgments are beliefs with intrinsic motivational force.

Keywords:   Hume, Desire, Metaethics, Motivation, Action, Reasoning, Psychology, Simplicity

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