The MMER project

Moral Motivation: Evidence and Relevance


Moral Motivation: Evidence and Relevance

Gothenburg, Sweden, May 18-20 2012

The relation between moral judgments and moral motivation is a central issue in ethical theory. According to motivational internalism, making a moral judgment implies being motivated to act accordingly, at least under normal circumstances. The truth of motivational internalism is highly contested (motivational externalists reject it), and often taken to have implications for the nature of moral emotions and moral judgments, the meaning of normative terms, and the possibility of objective truth and knowledge in morality.

During the last two decades, various new forms of motivational internalism have raised questions both about possible sources of evidence for and against these forms, and about the metaethical relevance of a defensible internalism. Some forms seem to be straightforward empirical claims, making traditional a priori arguments for or against internalism suspect; other forms make it unclear how internalism would favor moral anti-realism over realism. (For an overview of recent work on motivational internalism, see

The conference Moral Motivation: Evidence and Relevance will bring together senior and junior scholars working on both issues of evidence and issues of relevance.


Conference venue: Department of Philosophy, Linguistics, and Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Address: Olof Wijksgatan 6, Gothenburg.

Duration: The conference lasts for three days: Friday, May 18 – Sunday, May 20, starting Friday morning (approximately 8.15 AM) and ending Sunday evening (approximately Sunday 18.30 PM).

The conference is organized by the MMER project and the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg. It is sponsed by the Wenner-Gren Foundations.


Friday 18th

08:15-08:50    Registration

09:00-09:15    Introduction

09:15-10:15    Talk: Michael Ridge

10:15-10:45    Refreshments

10:45-11:45    Talk: Jeanette Kennett

11:45-13:10    Lunch

13:10-14:10    Talk: Jesse Prinz

14:30-15:30    Talk: John Park

15:30-16:00    Coffee

16:00-17:00    Talk: MMER (on intuitions about        


17:20-18:20    Talk: Nick Zangwill

Saturday 19th

09:15-10:15    Talk: Sigrún Svavarsdóttir

10:15-10:45    Refreshments

10:45-11:45    Talk: Antti Kauppinen

11:45-13:10    Lunch

13:10-14:10    Talk: Kate Manne

14:30-15:30    Talk: John Mumm

15:30-16:00    Coffee

16:00-17:00    Talk: Daniel Eggers

17:20-18:20    Talk: MMER (on intuitive variability)

19.30               Conference dinner

Sunday 20th

09:15-10:15    Talk: Jon Tresan

10:15-10:45    Refreshments

10:45-11:45    Talk: Gunnar Björnsson

11:45-13:10    Lunch

13:10-14:10    Talk: Michael Smith

14:30-15:30    Talk: Ariela Tubert

15:30-16:00    Coffee

16:00-17:00    Talk: Teemu Toppinen

17:20-18:20    Talk: Jamie Dreier

Last day of registration: May 1
Registration fee: 360 SEK (approx. $55 or €40). The fee covers refreshments and three lunches.
Conference dinner (Saturday, May 19): 500 SEK (approximately $75 or €55).
To register, please email:
In your email, please indicate if you want to join the conference dinner and whether you have any particular preferences (e.g. vegan) or allergies.
When we have received your email, you will get the details regarding payment
In your email, please indicate if you want to join the conference dinner and, if so, whether you have any particular preferences (e.g. vegan) or allergies.
When we have received your email, you will get the details regarding payment

See Instructions 

speakers (see abstracts):

Gunnar Björnsson, Umeå University and University of Gothenburg

  1. Practicality versus Absolutist Cognitivism

James Dreier, Brown University

  1. Can Reasons Fundamentalism Answer the Normative Question?

Daniel Eggers, University of Cologne

  1. Strong motivational internalism and Hume’s lesson

Antti Kauppinen, Trinity College, Dublin

  1. Internalism About Intuitions, Externalism About Judgments

Jeanette Kennett, Macquarie University

  1. Moral Motivation and Its Impairments: Empirical and Philosophical Approaches

Kate Manne, Harvard Society of Fellows

  1. Tempered Internalism and Practical Identification

John Mumm, Fordham University

  1. Two Functions of Moral Language: Rethinking the Amoralist

John Park, Duke University

  1. The Motivational Judgment Internalism/Externalism Debate & Methodological Naturalism

Jesse Prinz, CUNY

  1. An Empirical Case for Emotionally Based Internalism

Michael Ridge, University of Edinburgh

  1. Internalism: Cui Bono?

Michael Smith, Princeton University

  1. Moral Judgements, Judgements about Reasons, and Motivations

Sigrún Svavarsdóttir, Ohio State University

  1. Detecting Value with Motivational Responses

Teemu Toppinen, University of Helsinki

  1. Pure Expressivism and Practical Reason

Jon Tresan, UNC Chapel Hill

  1. Objective Moral Realism & The Role-Individuation of Moral Judgments

Ariela Tubert, University of Puget Sound

  1. Reasons Internalism and Sound Advice

Nick Zangwill, Durham University

  1. Essence, Agent-Causation and Motivational Externalism