Motivational Internalism: a Somewhat Less Idealized Acount

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Contemporary internalists typically idealize the conditions for motivation, claiming for example that motivation must be present in rational persons under certain conditions. Robert Johnson, in The Philosophical Quarterly, 49 (1999), convincingly argues that these versions of internalism overlook ways in which the conditions in the antecedent of the conditional expressing the analysis are incompatible with the claim under analysis. However, avoiding the fallacy decouples internalism from its use to explain and justify moral action. I use Johnson’s argument as the basis of a new proposal for defining central internalist claims, modifying the conditions in which motivation must be manifest so that it is less idealized. We can specify conditions which are ideal enough to ensure motivation, but which are not so ideal as to be incompatible with the grounds of an agent’s reasons.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Publication date: April 1, 2000

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