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Reasons and the ambiguity of 'belief'

By Maria Alvarez

Abstract

Two conceptions of motivating reasons, i.e., the reasons for which we act, can be found in the literature: (i) the dominant ‘psychological conception’, which says that motivating reasons are an agent’s believing something; and (ii) the ‘non-psychological’ conception, the minority view, which says that they are what the agent believes – his beliefs. In this paper I outline and defend a version of the second conception of motivating reasons. Similar conceptions of motivating reasons have been defended persuasively by a minority of philosophers recently. However, this minority position is still regarded as implausible or confused, mostly because it is not sufficiently well understood, or because it is thought to bring with it insuperable difficulties. Here I offer a detailed and distinctive version of that minority view – a version that, I think, overcomes the apparently insuperable difficulties associated with the minority view. I also offer an account of the relation between motivating reasons and the explanation of action

Topics: B1
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.soton.ac.uk:49329
Provided by: e-Prints Soton

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