Show simple item record

dc.contributor.authorJenkins, John Jestynen
dc.date.accessioned2019-02-15T14:31:11Z
dc.date.available2019-02-15T14:31:11Z
dc.date.issued1965en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1842/34782
dc.description.abstracten
dc.description.abstractThis thesis is intended primarily as an attempt at clarifying some of the traditional theories and concepts connected with the concept of motivation. It has stemmed, naturally enough, from an initial interest in the topic for its own sake, but this interest has rapidly developed into a strong sense of dissatisfaction with those theories which claim to advance an exhaustive account of the topic, when they have really only touched on one or two (albeit important) aspects of the general problem. The result is a piece of work which may well give the impression of being essentially both negative and critical. I cannot accept that this is really so. Admittedly, there are places in what follows where I have not had the confidence to substitute for the particular theory which has been criticised a satisfactory alternative account; but then to demand that one should do so suggests the assumption that concepts in general - and perhaps the concept of motivation in particular - find their application within certain fairly narrowly defined boundaries. Wittgenstein convincingly showed, in connection with the concept of a game, that we need not suppose that an activity has any one defining characteristic in order to qualify for inclusion under a certain concept. The concept of motive is not quite in this category, but we ought, I think, to be led by Wittgenstein's example to be on our guard against any suggestion that the concept is easily locatable by reference to a few simple paradigms.en
dc.description.abstractBut it is not only the case, with respect to the theories which have been considered, that I want to say 'But the meaning of motive is not exhausted in this account, for look at this situation.... ': I want further to make it obvious, by giving each chapter a fairly independent treatment, that it will often be inappropriate to describe a theory of motivation as wrong, or misleading, or even inadequate - even though on independent grounds it may be so. What one ma want to say is that the account satisfies an enquiry into human behaviour, either in the general or in the particular, at a certain level. Of course it is true, as we shall see in Chapter II for example, that many motives name a disposition, a propensity, or a tendency which will find expression in a law -like proposition. But to proffer such a proposition in an attempt to explain someone's action is not always either a welcome or a helpful gesture. We may be more anxious to discover the immediate reason why the agent did what he did, and perhaps why he did it at that moment and not at any other. There will be times when the answer to this kind of enquiry will be in the nature of a causal account, where such an account cannot be substituted for the statement of a man's motive. But not all 'immediate' reasons for action will fall into this class, as some of the examples of Chapters I, III, and V may help to demonstrate.en
dc.description.abstractThen again, I have argued in the latter part of Chapter III that motives or reasons for action must often be seen as derivable from the social context in which one finds oneself, that it is thus that they gain their explanatory value (a view which has been foreshadowed in the concluding sections of Chapter II); but it hardly needs stating that there is a distinction between this question and the question of what function a man is performing when he asserts his own or another's motive. These are just two ways of approaching the general topic, and one need not assume that they encroach upon one another.en
dc.description.abstractThe notion of clarification often provokes, especially among antagonists of linguistic philosophy, accusations of presumption. I do not see myself called upon to defend my general approach: it already occupies a comfortable position well within the boundaries of philosophy. But one might say of the claim to clarify that this may be justified on the general ground that understanding a concept is not just a matter of knowing how to use a word correctly: for this purpose a dictionary would adequately suffice. It is rather a matter, from a philosophical point of view, of being able to draw out the implications of its use. It is one thing to be told that a 4. motive is the reason which an agent gives to explain his action, but it is philosophically more interesting to discuss, for example, whether acting from a motive is a criterion for saying that a person decided or chose to do what he did. This is a question with which Chapter I is primarily concerned, and it is further discussed in the earlier section of Chapter VI. Then again, are we to say that in acting from a motive a man is necessarily aware of what he is doing? And what are the differences between acting from a motive and acting from force of habit? These are questions which can be answered not by abstract examination of concepts (if this was ever a meaningful notion in any case) but by looking at situations in the concrete and considering the kind of statements a man makes in answer to enquiries of this or that kind. The second part of Chapter VI is an extended empirical investigation of this nature in which I have given a fairly detailed account of certain sections of Francois Mauriac's novel Therese in order to illustrate how the motivated and the intended gradually blurs into the unmotivated and the unintended.en
dc.publisherThe University of Edinburghen
dc.relation.isreferencedbyen
dc.subjectAnnexe Thesis Digitisation Project 2019 Block 22en
dc.titleAims, motives, and reasonsen
dc.typeThesis or Dissertationen
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoralen
dc.type.qualificationnamePhD Doctor of Philosophyen


Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record