Moral Fetishism and a Third Desire for What’s Right

Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 20 (3) (2021)
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A major point of debate about morally good motives concerns an ambiguity in the truism that good and strong-willed people desire to do what is right. This debate is shaped by the assumption that “what’s right” combines in only two ways with “desire,” leading to distinct de dicto and de re readings of the truism. However, a third reading of such expressions is possible, first identified by Janet Fodor, which has gone wholly unappreciated by philosophers in this debate. I identify Fodor’s nonspecific reading of “desire to do what’s right” and briefly discuss its merits.

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Nathan Robert Howard
University of Toronto, St. George Campus


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