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Moore’s paradox in belief and desire
Acta Analytica
  • John N. WILLIAMS, Singapore Management University
Publication Type
Journal Article
Publication Date
Is there a Moore’s paradox in desire? I give a normative explanation of the epistemic irrationality, and hence absurdity, of Moorean belief that builds on Green and Williams’ normative account of absurdity. This explains why Moorean beliefs are normally irrational and thus absurd, while some Moorean beliefs are absurd without being irrational. Then I defend constructing a Moorean desire as the syntactic counterpart of a Moorean belief and distinguish it from a ‘Frankfurt’ conjunction of desires. Next I discuss putative examples of rational and irrational desires, suggesting that there are norms of rational desire. Then I examine David Wall’s groundbreaking argument that Moorean desires are always unreasonable. Next I show against this that there are rational as well as irrational Moorean desires. Those that are irrational are also absurd, although there seem to be absurd desires that are not irrational. I conclude that certain norms of rational desire should be rejected.
  • Moore,
  • paradox,
  • Belief,
  • Desire,
  • Norms,
  • Absurdity,
  • Irrationality
Springer Verlag
Copyright Owner and License
Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0
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Citation Information
John N. WILLIAMS. "Moore’s paradox in belief and desire" Acta Analytica Vol. 29 Iss. 1 (2014) p. 1 - 23 ISSN: 0353-5150
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