Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Motivating and normative reasons

I'm looking for good articles that contain actual arguments for the thesis that normative and motivating reasons are sometimes the same and thus deny Michael Smith's claim that normative and motivating reasons belong to different ontological categories. I've downloaded Dancy's, "Why there really is no such thing as the theory of motivation", Garrard and McNaughton's, "Mapping Moral Motivation", and Norman, "Practical Reasons and the Redundancy of Motives" in the hopes of finding something good. If you've got arguments +/or articles, let me know.



Errol Lord said...

Christian Miller, 'Motivation in Agents,' Nous, 2009.

Clayton said...

I thought you'd recommend that one!

I'm reading it again this week, but I don't remember there being much of an argument for the crucial claim as much as there being an argument that rests on that claim to defend his view of reasons.

Errol Lord said...

Here's an argument that I am somewhat fond of:

1. Normative reasons aren't psychological states.
2. So, if motivating reasons are psychological states, then one's motivating reason cannot be one's normative reason.
3. One's motivating reason can be one's normative reason.
C. Thus, motivating reasons aren't psychological states.

Consider an analogous argument about the relationship between practical reasons and epistemic reasons:

1. Practical reasons aren't psychological states.
2. So, if epistemic reasons are psychological states, then one's epistemic reasons cannot also be practical reasons.
3. One's epistemic reasons can be practical reasons.
C. Thus, epistemic reasons aren't psychological states.

In support of 3 consider Larry. Much to MvR's chagrin and Reina's delight, Larry is replacing all of the chalk boards in Oldfather with white boards. He comes into Oldfather 1022 and perceives that the board is green. He thus gains an epistemic reason to believe that the board is a chalk board. Moreover, given that he is intending to replace all of the chalk boards, he gains a practical reason to replace that board. It seems overwhelmingly plausible to me that the very same thing is both his epistemic and practical reason.

I think that both of these arguments make strong presumptive cases for the conclusions that normative/motivating and practical/epistemic reasons are constituted by the same things.

Finally, I don't think this debate settles anything about the Humean theory of motivation. So, if Michael's motivation for thinking they are constituted by different things is a desire to defend the Hueman theory, I don't think he needs to make this move.

Let me also recommend Eric Wiland's 'Theories of Practical Reason' in Metaphilosphy 2002. The paper I presented at the CSPA last year is a response to that paper.

ADHR said...

I seem to remember Fred Schueler making an argument to this effect, but I can't for the life of me remember where. Maybe in Desire?