- David Lewis [19881: 19962] canvases an anti-Humean thesis about mental states: that the rational agent desires something to the extent that he or she believes it to be good. Lewis offers and refutes a decision-theoretic formulation of it. the ‘Desire-as-Belief Thesis'. Other authors have since added further negative results in the spirit of Lewis's.
- We explore ways of being anti-Humean that evade all these negative results.
- We begin by providing background on evidential decision theory and on Lewis’s negative results.
- We then introduce what we call the indexicality loophole: if the goodness of a proposition is indexical, partly a function of an agent's mental state, then the negative results have no purchase.
- Thus we propose a variant of Desire-as-Belief that exploits this loophole. We argue that a number of meta-ethical positions are committed to just such indexicality. Indeed, we show that with one central sort of evaluative belief — the belief that an option is right — the indexicality loophole can be exploited in various interesting ways.
- Moreover, on some accounts, ’good’ is indexical in the same way. Thus, it seems that the anti-Humean can dodge the negative results.
Footnote 1: "Lewis (David) - Desire As Belief".
Footnote 2: "Lewis (David) - Desire As Belief II".
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