Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 1233–1235 | Cite as

Sinhababu, Neil. Humean Nature: How Desire Explains Action, Thought, and Feeling

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. 224. $70.00 (cloth)
  • Flavia FellettiEmail author
Humean Nature is a defense of the Humean Theory of Motivation, the theory that only combinations of desires and beliefs can generate motivation in humans. More precisely, in this book Neil Sinhababu defends the following theories:
  1. (i)

    Desire-Belief Theory of Action: One is motivated to A if and only if desire that E is combined with belief that one can raise E’s probability by A-ing.

  2. (ii)

    Desire-Belief Theory of Reasoning: Desire that M is created as the conclusion of reasoning if and only if the reasoning combines desire that E with belief that M would raise E’s probability. And it is eliminated as the conclusion of reasoning if and only if the reasoning eliminates such a combination.


Sinhababu employs two different strategies. When opponents argue for different explanations for certain phenomena, he rejects the opponents’ explanations by showing that they postulate an unnecessarily abundant ontology. When opponents object that the Humean Theory cannot explain certain phenomena,...


  1. Arpaly, N. (2018). Neil Sinhababu, Humean Nature: how desire explains action, thought, and feeling. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. Accessed 17 August 2018
  2. Johnson King ZA (2018) Neil Sinhababu, Humean Nature: How desire explains action, thought, and feeling. Ethics 128(4):836–840CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany

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