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A Davidsonian Reconciliation of Internalism, Objectivity, and the Belief-Desire Theory

Paul Hurley
The Journal of Ethics
Vol. 6, No. 1 (2002), pp. 1-20
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25115712
Page Count: 20
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A Davidsonian Reconciliation of Internalism, Objectivity, and the Belief-Desire Theory
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Abstract

This paper argues that Donald Davidson's account of assertions of evaluative judgments contains a here-to-fore unappreciated strategy for reconciling the meta-ethical "inconsistent triad." The inconsistency is thought to result because within the framework of the belief-desire theory assertions of moral judgments must have conceptual connections with both desires and beliefs. The connection with desires is necessary to account for the internal connection between such judgments and motivation to act, while the connection with beliefs is necessary to account for the apparent objectivity of such judgments. Arguments abound that no class of utterances can coherently be understood as having such conceptual connections to attitudes of both sorts, hence that an inconsistency results. But on Davidson's account assertions of evaluative judgments have just such connections to both the relevant desire and a belief concerning an evaluative matter of fact. I argue that this account has the resources to respond to standard objections, and at least merits consideration as one among other plausible alternatives.

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