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Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Volume 8$
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Mark C. Timmons

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198828310

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198828310.001.0001

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Evaluative Beliefs First

Evaluative Beliefs First

Chapter:
(p.258) 12 Evaluative Beliefs First
Source:
Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Volume 8
Author(s):

Ben Bramble

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198828310.003.0013

Many philosophers think that it is only because we happen to want or care about things that we think some things of value. We start off caring about things, and then project these desires onto the external world. This chapter makes a preliminary case for the opposite view, that it is our evaluative thinking that is prior. On this view, it is only because we think some things of value that we care about or want anything at all. This view explains (i) the special role that pleasure and pain play in our motivational systems, (ii) why phenomenal consciousness evolved, and (iii) how the two main competing theories of normative reasons for action—objectivism and subjectivism—can be reconciled. The chapter responds to the most serious objections to this view, including that it cannot account for temptation and willpower, or for the existence and appropriateness of the reactive attitudes.

Keywords:   desire, evaluative belief, phenomenal consciousness, objectivism, subjectivism, willpower, weakness of will, reactive attitudes

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