How Simple is the Humean Theory of Motivation?

Philosophical Explorations 25 (2):125-140 (2022)
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In recent discussions of the Humean Theory of Motivation (HTM), several authors – not to mention other philosophers around the proverbial water cooler – have appealed to the simplicity of the theory to defend it. But the argument from simplicity has rarely been explicated or received much critical attention – until now. I begin by reconstructing the argument and then argue that it suffers from a number of problems. Most importantly, first, I argue that HTM is unlikely to be simpler than even close competing theories, and second, it is unlikely that a plausible version of the theory will be very simple. Moreover, I argue that a convincing case for HTM is likely to have to show that it is more virtuous than defenders have done so far.

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Olof Leffler
University of Vienna


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