Pure Cognitivism and Beyond

Acta Analytica 29 (3):331-348 (2014)
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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 not follow that desire is identical with the state of being motivated. When this negative work is done, the article turns to some positive, albeit admittedly tentative remarks about what sort of cognitivist theory of motivation one should endorse. The aim at this point is not to present a brand new theory, but rather to sketch an alternative that stems from what Dancy himself says and is in line with many of his endorsed commitments in other areas. In this way, by moving beyond Pure Cognitivism, the paper sketches a different, but still ‘Dancyesque’ theory of motivation.
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