An Argument Against Motivational Internalism Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Cruise, Ian
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Philosophy
  • In my thesis, I argue against motivational judgment internalism, which is the claim that necessarily, if a person makes a sincere, first-personal moral judgment, then she is to some extent motivated to act in accordance with that judgment. My argument is that motivational judgment internalism falls victim to a series of counterexamples, namely, (some of) those cases in which a person arrives at a moral judgment (a concluding judgment) on the basis of a process of reasoning from a different moral judgment (an initial judgment) and other of her background beliefs. My claim is that people often fail to be motivated by the concluding judgments in these kinds of cases even when they are motivated by the initial judgments. The evidence for this claim is that people often report not feeling motivated to act in accordance with the concluding judgments. I capture the crucial features of this kind of case in a constraint on moral judgment that I call the closure principle on moral judgment and argue that this constraint is inconsistent with motivational judgment internalism. Next, I consider the objection that one need not feel motivated to act in order to be motivated to act. I argue against this objection by defending a phenomenological conception of motivation. On this view, if one does not feel motivated to act, then one is not motivated to act. Having dispensed with the objection, I conclude that we ought to reject motivational judgment internalism.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Shafer-Landau, Russ
  • Sayre-McCord, Geoffrey
  • Wolf, Susan
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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