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Agency and ResponsibilityA Common-Sense Moral Psychology$
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Jeanette Kennett

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199266302

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199266302.001.0001

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Classical Theories of Reasons and Motivation

Classical Theories of Reasons and Motivation

(p.9) 2 Classical Theories of Reasons and Motivation
Agency and Responsibility

Jeanette Kennett

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents an outline of Socrates' view of moral psychology as presented in Plato's Protagoras. The chapter concerns with the critical examination of some classical and modern views of reasons for action and motivation for action which tend, sometimes themselves to assimilate weakness to recklessness or compulsion. It focuses on Socratic account of knowledge and pleasure in the production of action, and his explanation of weakness of will. It then examines John McDowell's analysis of moral knowledge and moral motivation. A close evaluation of the shortcomings of the Socratic accounts, which equate virtue with knowledge, tends to push towards Humean account of the explanation of action. The chapter concludes that a search for a looser connection at a lower cost to common sense.

Keywords:   Protagoras, Plato, Socrates, action motivation, John McDowell, moral knowledge, Humeanism

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