Blame and the Humean Theory of Motivation

Philosophia 45 (3):1345-1364 (2017)
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A classic, though basically neglected question about motivation arises when we attempt to account for blame’s nature—namely, does the recognition central to blame need help from an independent desire in order to motivate the blame-characteristic dispositions that arise in the blamer? Those who have attended to the question think the answer is yes. Hence, they adopt what I call a Humean Construal of blame on which blame is (a) a judgment that an individual S is blameworthy and (b) an independent desire about S not doing as they did or being as they are. This paper rejects arguments for the Humean Construal, illustrates deep failings of that view, and uses these considerations to support anti-Humean accounts of blame in particular and moral motivation more broadly.

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