The Motivational Role of Belief

Philosophical Papers 38 (2):219 - 246 (2009)
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Abstract
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 with Velleman's argument that belief and imagining cannot be distinguished on the basis of motivational role.
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