Motivation

Edited by Joshua May (University of Alabama, Birmingham)
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  1. On Self-Knowledge of Motives.Pablo Hubacher Haerle - forthcoming - The Monist.
    Many philosophers claim that we have duty to know our motives. However, prominent theories of the mind suggest that we can’t. Such scepticism about knowledge of one’s motives is based on psychological evidence. I show that this evidence only mandates scepticism about knowledge of one’s motives if we rely on a mistaken assumption which I call ‘the myth of the one true motive’. If we reject this myth, we see that there is space to plausibly interpret the empirical data such (...)
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  2. Knowing what you Want.Eric Marcus - forthcoming - In Lucy Campbell (ed.), Forms of Knowledge. Oxford.
    How do you know what you want? Philosophers have lately developed sophisticated accounts of the practical and doxastic knowledge that are rooted in the point of view of the subject. Our ability to just say what we are doing or what we believe—that is, to say so authoritatively, but not on the basis of observation or evidence—is an aspect of our ability to reason about the good and the true. However, no analogous route to orectic self-knowledge is feasible. Knowledge of (...)
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  3. Knowing One’s Own Motivating Reasons.Seyyed Mohsen Eslami - 2024 - Logos and Episteme 15 (2):121-135.
    Reasons are not the same. Normative reasons need to be distinguished from non-normative reasons. Then, due to some considerations, we have to draw a distinction between explanatory reasons and motivating reasons. In this paper, I focus on a rather implicit assumption in drawing the explanatory-motivating distinction. Motivating reasons are mostly characterized as those reasons that the agent takes to be normative. This may imply that the agent always knows the reasons their motivating reasons. This I call the infallibility or transparency (...)
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  4. Which Emotional Behaviors are Actions?Jean Moritz Müller & Hong Yu Wong - 2024 - In Andrea Scarantino (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Emotion Theory. Routledge.
    There is a wide range of things we do out of emotion. For example, we smile with pleasure, our voices drop when we are sad, we recoil in shock or jump for joy, we apologize to others out of remorse. It is uncontroversial that some of these behaviors are actions. Clearly, apologizing is an action if anything is. Things seem less clear in the case of other emotional behaviors. Intuitively, the drop in a sad person’s voice is something that happens (...)
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  5. Who Cares About Winning?Nathaniel Baron-Schmitt - 2023 - European Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):248-265.
    Why do we so often care about the outcomes of games when nothing is at stake? There is a paradox here, much like the paradox of fiction, which concerns why we care about the fates and threats of merely fictional beings. I argue that the paradox threatens to overturn a great deal of what philosophers have thought about caring, severing its connection to value and undermining its moral weight. I defend a solution to the paradox that draws on Kendall Walton's (...)
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  6. Diachronic and Externally-Scaffolded Self-Control in Addiction.Federico Burdman - 2023 - Manuscrito 46 (1):77-116.
    A restrictive view of self-control identifies exercises of self-control with synchronic intrapsychic processes, and pictures diachronic and externally-scaffolded strategies not as proper instances of self-control, but as clever ways of avoiding the need to exercise that ability. In turn, defenders of an inclusive view of self-control typically argue that we should construe self-control as more than effortful inhibition, and that, on grounds of functional equivalence, all these diverse strategies might be properly described as instances of self-control. In this paper, I (...)
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  7. The Force of Habit.William Hornett - 2023 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 104 (3):1-30.
    Habits figure in action‐explanations because of their distinctive force. But what is the force of habit, and how does it motivate us? In this paper, I argue that the force of habit is the feeling of familiarity one has with the familiar course of action, where this feeling reveals a distinctive reason for acting in the usual way. I do this by considering and rejecting a popular account of habit's force in terms of habit's apparent automaticity, by arguing that one (...)
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  8. The Concept of Motivation in Merleau-Ponty: Husserlian Sources, Intentionality, and Institution.Philip J. Walsh - 2022 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 60 (2):303-336.
    Merleau-Ponty’s relation to Husserl has been understood along a spectrum running from outright repudiation to deep appreciation. The aim of this paper is to clarify a significant and heretofore largely neglected unifying thread connecting Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, while also demonstrating its general philosophical import for phenomenological philosophy. On this account, the details of a programmatic philosophical continuity between these two phenomenologists can be structured around the concept of motivation. Merleau-Ponty sees in Husserl’s concept of motivation a necessary and innovative concept (...)
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  9. The Paradox of Fear in Classical Indian Buddhism.Bronwyn Finnigan - 2021 - Journal of Indian Philosophy 49 (5):913-929.
    The Buddhist Nikāya Suttas frequently mention the concept of fear (bhaya) and related synonyms. This concept does not receive much scholarly attention by subsequent Buddhist philosophers. Recent scholars identify a ‘paradox of fear’ in several traditions of classical Indian Buddhism (Brekke 1999, Finnigan 2019, Giustarini 2012). Each scholar points out, in their respective textual contexts, that fear is evaluated in two ways; one positive and the other negative. Brekke calls this the “double role” of fear (1999: 443). Each also identify (...)
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  10. Hope: Conceptual and Normative Issues.Catherine Rioux - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (3).
    Hope is often seen as at once valuable and dangerous: it can fuel our motivation in the face of challenges, but can also distract us from reality and lead us to irrationality. How can we learn to “hope well,” and what does “hoping well” involve? Contemporary philosophers disagree on such normative questions about hope and also on how to define hope as a mental state. This article explores recent philosophical debates surrounding the concept of hope and the norms governing hope. (...)
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  11. Wanting and willing.Eric Marcus - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 29 (4):887-899.
    How homogenous are the sources of human motivation? Textbook Humeans hold that every human action is motivated by desire, thus any heterogeneity derives from differing objects of desire. Textbook Kantians hold that although some human actions are motivated by desire, others are motivated by reason. One question in this vicinity concerns whether there are states such that to be in one is at once take the world to be a certain way and to be motivated to act: the state-question. My (...)
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  12. Review of Emotions, Values and Agency, by Christine Tappolet (Oxford University Press 2016). [REVIEW]Jean Moritz Müller - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (280):647-650.
    Emotions, Values and Agency. By Tappolet Christine.
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  13. Are Desires Beliefs about Normative Reasons?Avery Archer - 2019 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (3):236-251.
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  14. Choice set dependent performance and post-decision dissonance.Toru Suzuki - 2019 - Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 163:24-42.
    A decision maker (DM) selects a project from a set of alternatives with uncertain productivity. After the choice, she observes a signal about productivity and decides how much effort to put in. This paper analyzes the optimal decision problem of the DM who rationally filters information to deal with her post-decision cognitive dissonance. It is shown that the optimal effort level for a project can be affected by unchosen projects in her choice set, and the nature of the choice set-dependence (...)
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  15. Psychological Resilience and Fragility: Existential-Analytical View.Iaryna Kaplunenko - 2018 - Psychology and Psychosocial Interventions 1:41-45.
    Summarizing the historical background and characteristics of the present, it should be noted that they are significantly different from the characteristics of the world where past generations lived, which undoubtedly poses new challenges for the human ability to withstand the growing pressure of stress factors. The article considers the problems of psychological resilience and fragility in terms of Existential-analytical psychotherapy of V. Frankl and A. Langle, analyzes the historical context of the present-day Ukraine, external and internal characteristics of the modern (...)
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  16. Thinking, Acting, Considering.Daniel Muñoz - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (2):255-270.
    According to a familiar (alleged) requirement on practical reason, one must believe a proposition if one is to take it for granted in reasoning about what to do. This paper explores a related requirement, not on thinking but on acting—that one must accept a goal if one is to count as acting for its sake. This is the acceptance requirement. Although it is endorsed by writers as diverse as Christine Korsgaard, Donald Davidson, and Talbot Brewer, I argue that it is (...)
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  17. Ethical Non-naturalism and the Guise of the Good.Francesco Orsi - 2018 - Topoi 37 (4):581-590.
    The paper presents a positive argument for a version of metaphysically light ethical non-naturalism from the nature of mental states such as desires. It uses as its premise the time-honoured, and recently rediscovered, doctrine of the guise of the good, whereby it is essential to desire that the object of desire be conceived as good or as normatively favoured under some description. The argument is that if the guise of the good is a correct theory of desire, then a certain (...)
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  18. The verdictive organization of desire.Derek Baker - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (5):589-612.
    Deliberation often begins with the question ‘What do I want to do?’ rather than the question of what one ought to do. This paper takes that question at face value, as a question about which of one’s desires is strongest, which sometimes guides action. The paper aims to explain which properties of a desire make that desire strong, in the sense of ‘strength’ relevant to this deliberative question. Both motivational force and phenomenological intensity seem relevant to a desire’s strength; however, (...)
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  19. Halfhearted Action and Control.Shepherd Joshua - 2017 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4.
    Some of the things we do intentionally we do halfheartedly. I develop and defend an account of halfheartedness with respect to action on which one is halfhearted with respect to an action A if one’s overall motivation to A is weak. This requires getting clear on what it is to have some level of overall motivation with respect to an action, and on what it means to say one’s overall motivation is weak or strong. After developing this account, I defend (...)
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  20. The Guise of the Ought-to-Be. A Deontic View of the Intentionality of Desire.Federico Lauria - 2017 - In Federico Lauria & Julien Deonna (eds.), The Nature of Desire. New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    How are we to understand the intentionality of desire? According to the two classical views, desire is either a positive evaluation or a disposition to act. This essay examines these conceptions of desire and argues for a deontic alternative, namely the view that desiring is representing a state of affairs as what ought to be. Three lines of criticism of the classical pictures of desire are provided. The first concerns desire’s direction of fit, i.e. the intuition that the world should (...)
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  21. The "Guise of the Ought to Be": A Deontic View of the Intentionality of Desire.Federico Lauria - 2017 - In Federico Lauria & Julien Deonna (eds.), The Nature of Desire. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 352.
    How are we to understand the intentionality of desire? According to the two classical views, desire is either a positive evaluation or a disposition to act. This essay examines these conceptions of desire and argues for a deontic alternative, namely the view that desiring is representing a state of affairs as what ought to be. Three lines of criticism of the classical pictures of desire are provided. The first concerns desire’s direction of fit, i.e. the intuition that the world should (...)
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  22. Назви діаспорних футбольних команд як віддзеркалення тяглості українських національно-культурних традицій.Iryna Protsyk - 2017 - Language: Classic – Modern – Postmodern 3:157-165.
    Статтю присвячено розглядові назв українських футбольних команд у діаспорі, починаючи з другої половини 40-х ХХ ст. Проаналізовано мотивованість цих номінацій та продемонстровано, як під впливом національних чинників, що були визначальними у виборі найменувань футбольних команд, збережено тяглість національних культурних традицій у назовництві футбольних клубів поза межами України.
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  23. Sport, Make-Believe, and Volatile Attitudes.Nils-Hennes Stear - 2017 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 75 (3):275-288.
    The outcomes of sports and competitive games excite intense emotions in many people, even when those same people acknowledge that those outcomes are of trifling importance. I call this incongruity between the judged importance of the outcome and the intense reactions it provokes the Puzzle of Sport. The puzzle can be usefully compared to another puzzle in aesthetics: the Paradox of Fiction, which asks how it is we become emotionally caught up with events and characters we know to be unreal. (...)
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  24. Acting on a Ground : Reasons, Rational Motivation, and Explanation.Magnus Frei - 2016 - Dissertation, Fribourg
    When someone does something for a reason, what are the reasons for which she does what she does? What is her ‘motivating reason’, as it is sometimes put? The simple answer is: it depends on what is meant by ‘motivating reason’. Non-Psychologists hold that motivating reasons are what the agent believes. I have shown that given that we understand ‘motivating reasons’ as what I term 'grounds', this is quite correct, as what we believe is what plays the role of a (...)
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  25. Inescapability and the Analysis of Agency.Philip Clark - 2014 - Abstracta 8 (S7):3-15.
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  26. What temptation could not be : a lesson from the criminal law.Gabriel S. Mendlow - 2014 - In Enrique Villanueva (ed.), Law and the Philosophy of Action. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Brill | Rodopi.
    Prominent theories of the criminal law borrow heavily from the two leading theories of temptation—the evaluative conception of temptation, which conceives emotion and desire as essentially involving a kind of evaluation, and the mechanistic conception of temptation, which conceives emotion and desire as essentially involving felt motivation. As I explain, both conceptions of temptation are inconsistent with the possibility of akratic action, that is, action contrary to a person’s conscious better judgment. Both are inconsistent with the possibility of akratic action (...)
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  27. Philosophers should be interested in ‘common currency’ claims in the cognitive and behavioural sciences.David Spurrett - 2014 - South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (2):211-221.
    A recurring claim in a number of behavioural, cognitive and neuro-scientific literatures is that there is, or must be, a unidimensional ‘common currency’ in which the values of different available options are represented. There is striking variety in the quantities or properties that have been proposed as determinants of the ordering in motivational strength. Among those seriously suggested are pain and pleasure, biological fitness, reward and reinforcement, and utility among economists, who have regimented the notion of utility in a variety (...)
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  28. Pure Cognitivism and Beyond.Attila Tanyi - 2014 - Acta Analytica 29 (3):331-348.
    The article begins with Jonathan Dancy’s attempt to refute the Humean Theory of Motivation. It first spells out Dancy’s argument for his alternative position, the view he labels ‘Pure Cognitivism’, according to which what motivate are always beliefs, never desires. The article next argues that Dancy’s argument for his position is flawed. On the one hand, it is not true that desire always comes with motivation in the agent; on the other, even if this was the case, it would still (...)
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  29. Christopher G. Framarin's Desire and Motivation in Indian Philosophy, Routledge Hindu Studies. [REVIEW]Malcolm Keating - 2013 - Journal of the American Oriental Society 133 (1):160-62.
    Desire and Motivation in Indian Philosophy. By Christopher G. Framarin. Routledge Hindu Studies Series. London: Routledge, 2009. Pp. xv + 196. $170 ; $44.95.
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  30. Participation and organizational commitment during change: From utopist to realist perspectives.Rune Lines & Marcus Selart - 2013 - In Skipton Leonard, Rachel Lewis, Arthur Freedman & Jonathan Passmore (eds.), Handbook of the psychology of leadership, change, and organizational development. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 289-313.
    Trust has a great potential for furthering our understanding of organizational change and learning. This potential however remains largely untapped. It is argued that two reasons as for why this potential remains unrealized are: (i) A narrow conceptualization of change as implementation and (ii) an emphasis on direct and aggregated effects of individual trust to the exclusion of other effects. It is further suggested that our understanding of the effects of trust on organizational change, should benefit from including effects of (...)
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  31. Motivation und Verwirklichung des autonomen Selbst.Godehard Brüntrup - 2012 - In Godehard Brüntrup & Maria Schwartz (eds.), Warum wir handeln - Philosophie der Motivation. Kohlhammer. pp. 2012.
    Dieser Text will versuchen, Philosophie und psychologische Motivationsforschung wieder miteinander ins Gespräch zu bringen. Innerhalb der Philosophie herrscht bis heute oft eine sehr vereinfachte Auffassung der Motivation vor. Vor allem die Humesche Konzeption dominiert (vgl. Smith 2010), nach der Motivation als Zusammenhang von intrinsischen Wünschen und Zweck-Mittel-Überzeugungen verstanden wird. Ein motivierter Mensch hat also das Bedürfnis, das die Welt auf eine bestimmte Art verändert werde und sein Handeln genau in dieser Veränderung resultieren kann. Das ist eine sehr verkürzte Auffassung, wenn (...)
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  32. Promotionalism, Motivationalism and Reasons to Perform Physically Impossible Actions.Neil Sinclair - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (5):647-659.
    In this paper I grant the Humean premise that some reasons for action are grounded in the desires of the agents whose reasons they are. I then consider the question of the relation between the reasons and the desires that ground them. According to promotionalism , a desire that p grounds a reason to φ insofar as A’s φing helps promote p . According to motivationalism a desire that p grounds a reason to φ insofar as it explains why, in (...)
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  33. If not non-cognitivism, then what?Charles R. Pigden - 2010 - In Charles Pigden (ed.), Hume on Is and Ought. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Taking my cue from Michael Smith, I try to extract a decent argument for non-cognitivism from the text of the Treatise. I argue that the premises are false and that the whole thing rests on a petitio principi. I then re-jig the argument so as to support that conclusion that Hume actually believed (namely that an action is virtuous if it would excite the approbation of a suitably qualified spectator). This argument too rests on false premises and a begged question. (...)
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  34. Hume and the Debate on 'Motivating Reasons'.Constantine Sandis - 2010 - In Charles Pigden (ed.), Hume on Is and Ought. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.
    This paper argues for a novel interpretation of Hume's account of motivation, according to which beliefs can (alone) motivate action though not by standing as reasons which normatively favour it. It si then suggested that a number of contemporary debates about concerning the nature of reasons for action could benefit from such an approach.
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  35. Emotions and Motivation: Reconsidering Neo-Jamesian Accounts.Bennett W. Helm - 2009 - In Peter Goldie (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Emotion. New York: Oxford University Press.
    One central argument in favor of perceptual accounts of emotions concerns recalcitrant emotions: emotions that persist in the face of repudiating judgments. For, it is argued, to understand how the conflict between recalcitrant emotions and judgment falls short of incoherence in judgment, we need to understand recalcitrant emotions to be something like perceptual illusions of value, so that in normal, non-recalcitrant cases emotions are non-illusory perceptions of value. I argue that these arguments fail and that a closer examination of recalcitrant (...)
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  36. Interpreting Anscombe’s Intention §32FF.Anne Newstead - 2009 - Journal of Philosophical Research 34:157-176.
    G. E. M. Anscombe’s view that agents know what they are doing “without observation” has been met with skepticism and the charge of confusion and falsehood. Simultaneously, some commentators think that Anscombe has captured an important truth about the first-personal character of an agent’s awareness of her actions. This paper attempts an explanation and vindication of Anscombe’s view. The key to the vindication lies in focusing on the role of practical knowledge in an agent’s knowledge of her actions. Few commentators, (...)
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  37. A niggle at Nagel: causally active desires and the explanation of action.Charles Pigden - 2009 - In Constantine Sandis (ed.), New essays on the explanation of action. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 220--40.
    This paper criticizes an influential argument from Thomas Nagel’s THE POSSIBILTIY OF ALTRUISM, an argument that plays a foundational role in the philosophies of (at least) Philippa Foot, John McDowell and Jonathan Dancy. Nagel purports to prove that a person can be can be motivated to perform X by the belief that X is likely to bring about Y, without a causally active or biffy desire for Y. If Cullity and Gaut are to be believed (ETHICS AND PRACTICAL REASONING) this (...)
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  38. The Humean Theory of Motivation Reformulated and Defended.Neil Sinhababu - 2009 - Philosophical Review 118 (4):465-500.
    This essay defends a strong version of the Humean theory of motivation on which desire is necessary both for motivation and for reasoning that changes our desires. Those who hold that moral judgments are beliefs with intrinsic motivational force need to oppose this view, and many of them have proposed counterexamples to it. Using a novel account of desire, this essay handles the proposed counterexamples in a way that shows the superiority of the Humean theory. The essay addresses the classic (...)
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  39. The Motivational Role of Belief.Neil Van Leeuwen - 2009 - Philosophical Papers 38 (2):219 - 246.
    This paper claims that the standard characterization of the motivational role of belief should be supplemented. Beliefs do not only, jointly with desires, cause and rationalize actions that will satisfy the desires, if the beliefs are true; beliefs are also the practical ground of other cognitive attitudes, like imagining, which means beliefs determine whether and when one acts with those other attitudes as the cognitive inputs into choices and practical reasoning. In addition to arguing for this thesis, I take issue (...)
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  40. Effects of reward on self-regulation, intrinsic motivation and creativity.Marcus Selart, Thomas Nordström, Bård Kuvaas & Kazuhisa Takemura - 2008 - Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research 52 (5):439-458.
    This article evaluates the effects of two types of rewards (performance-contingent versus engagement-contingent) on self-regulation, intrinsic motivation and creativity. Forty-two undergraduate students were randomly assigned to three conditions; i.e. a performance-contingent reward group, an engagement-contingent reward group and a control group. Results provide little support for the negative effects of performance rewards on motivational components. However, they do indicate that participants in the engagement-contingent reward group and the control group achieved higher rated creativity than participants in the performance-contingent reward group. (...)
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  41. Motivation and Agency. [REVIEW]Matthew Walz - 2004 - Review of Metaphysics 57 (4):856-858.
    Why do we do what we do? Alfred Mele attempts to answer this question and related ones by drawing from the fields of action theory, philosophy of mind, moral philosophy, and even empirical psychology. The result is a book that is clearly written, shows a command of the contemporary literature in a number of fields, and attempts to offer rigorous solutions that nonetheless take into account commonsense opinions about these topics. Moreover, Mele organizes the book well and helps the reader (...)
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  42. The nature of motivation (and why it matters less to ethics than one might think).Robert Noggle - 1997 - Philosophical Studies 87 (1):87-111.
    What my suggestion rules out – if it is right – is the project of using some thesis about the conative or cognitive nature of motivation to argue for some thesis in meta-ethics. [...] facts about human motivation can be captured equally well with conativist or cognitivist language. And if that is true, then nothing about motivation either implies or rules out internalist moral realism.
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  43. The Guise of the Good.J. David Velleman - 1992 - Noûs 26 (1):3 - 26.
    The agent portrayed in much philosophy of action is, let's face it, a square. He does nothing intentionally unless he regards it or its consequences as desirable. The reason is that he acts intentionally only when he acts out of a desire for some anticipated outcome; and in desiring that outcome, he must regard it as having some value. All of his intentional actions are therefore directed at outcomes regarded sub specie boni: under the guise of the good. This agent (...)
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  44. Was uns wirklich bewegt - Gedanken zur Philosophie der Motivation.Godehard Brüntrup - manuscript
    Précis of the overall research conveyed by the Chair for Philosophy and Motivation at Munich School of Philosophy.
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  45. Unconscious motives and intentional action.Michael Ladner - manuscript
    Few philosophers would deny that unconscious motives enter into causal explanations of human behavior. But many would be reluctant to say that deeply unconscious motives have anything to do with the intentionality with which we act. I argue to the contrary that deeply unconscious motives can indeed contribute to agent-intentionality on the following condition: If she were self-aware and honest with respect to her unconscious motive, the agent would believe that it constituted her reason for the action of which it (...)
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