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Elizabeth S. Radcliffe
President and Board of Trustees of Santa Clara College (Santa Clara, CA 95053-0001)
Practical Belief and the Authority of Sentiment: David Hume and Recent Humean Debates

I propose to finish a book on Hume's theory of motivation and the contemporary Humean theory adopted by many naturalists. The Humean theory of motivation says that one has a reason to act when one has a desire and a belief about how to fulfill that desire. I offer an interpretation of Hume's theory that thwarts some recent criticisms marshaled against the Humean theory. Specifically, I discuss arguments against psychologism (the view that reasons for actions are mental states) and the problem of reconciling moral internalism and moral cognitivism with the belief-desire model of motivation. This project will contribute both to Hume scholarship and to contemporary debates in moral psychology and practical reasoning.

Project fields:
History of Philosophy

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2006 – 9/30/2006