Imperative Transparency


I respond to an objection recently formulated by Barlassina and Hayward against first-order imperativism about pain, according to which it cannot account for the self-directed motivational force of pain. I am going to agree with them: it cannot. This is because pain does not have self-directed motivational force. I will argue that the alternative view—that pain is about dealing with extramental, bodily threats, not about dealing with itself—makes better sense of introspection, and of empirical research on pain avoidance. Also, a naturalistic theory of body-involving commands falls straightforwardly out of our most prominent naturalistic metasemantic accounts, while the token-reflexive contents that would underlie self-directed motivation are more problematic.

Mind, 131(522):585-601