Saturday, November 29, 2008

Open Thread

Open thread! Comment here if you have any thoughts, questions, or fundamental disagreements that don't really fit in any of my other (more specific) threads.


  1. Hello,

    I'd like to read your opinion on free will and/or moral responsibility.


  2. Hi Anlam, I have an old post on the topic here. I should probably write more on it in future, though...

  3. I would like to read the specifics or summary of how your position in ethics changed from Desire Utilitarianism to your current position - and an adumbration of what this is too.(I guess it is to do with motivating beliefs?)

  4. Hi Martino, my post on 'Coherence and Rational Desires' was probably the first step away from Fyfe's view. But in summary, my three main objections to it would now be:

    (1) It rests on what Sidgwick calls "a defective psychological analysis".

    (2) It erects an artificial barrier between Values and Beliefs, when really there are important links between Theoretical and Practical Reason. (Some belief-desire combinations are irrational. So it is rationally required that, if you have certain beliefs, you also have certain desires.)

    (3) [less importantly] it attempts to integrate all evaluations in terms of the privileged target of 'desires', but this is somewhat arbitrary.

    The links provide more details about my positive views, as well as explaining why I think my old views were mistaken. Note that #2 says nothing about 'motivating beliefs'. It just says that certain beliefs rationally necessitate motivation (or desire). One might nevertheless fail to be motivated, since one might be less than perfectly rational.


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