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Mental Illness, Motivation and Moral Commitment

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I present a dilemma which depressive behavioural pathology poses for both Humean and non-Humean theories of motivation and value. Although the dilemma shows that neither theory can be considered adequate in its standard form, I argue that if the Humean theory is modified so as to embrace a richer notion of satisfaction than it currently does, it can solve the problem which depression poses for it, and thus the dilemma can be avoided. Embracing a richer notion of satisfaction not only solves this problem, it also extends the scope of the Humean theory in a potentially dramatic way, by extending the explanatory reach of moral psychology to issues often thought to fall outside its scope, namely, issues in moral psychopathology.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Publication date: January 1, 2001

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