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Reading: A Defence of Smith’s Solution to The Moral Problem

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A Defence of Smith’s Solution to The Moral Problem

Author:

Shambhavi Shankar

University of Bayreuth, DE; Schulich School of Business in Toronto, CA
About Shambhavi

I wish to thank Katie Steele and Markus Loening for their helpful comments on earlier version of this paper.

MA candidate in Philosophy & Economics (2014-2016). She also holds a BBA degree in Finance from Canada. Her main areas of interest concern questions about the philosophy of action, specifically intentional action, agent causation, and incompatibilism. She hopes to continue research in these areas at the PhD level.

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Abstract

Michael Smith’s internalist resolution to ‘The Moral Problem’ serves to establish a necessary connection between moral judgement and moral motivation in the rational agent. Externalists, like Brink, counter Smith’s claim with the figure of the amoralist, whose moral motivation, they argue, is only contingent on antecedently-held desires. In this paper, I draw a distinction between ‘moral motivation’ – if an agent judges it right to ø, she is, ceteris paribus, motivated to ø – and ‘acting on moral motivation’ – if an agent judges it right to ø, she actually øs. I show how the amoralist explanation might account for the latter notion, but not the former, which ultimately leaves Smith’s argument for motivational internalism intact.

How to Cite: Shankar, S., 2015. A Defence of Smith’s Solution to The Moral Problem. Rerum Causae, 7(1), pp.118–128.
Published on 01 Jan 2015.
Peer Reviewed

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