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  1. Elizabeth Anderson (2001). Symposium on Amartya Sen's Philosophy: 2 Unstrapping the Straitjacket of ‘Preference’: A Comment on Amartya Sen's Contributions to Philosophy and Economics. Economics and Philosophy 17 (1):21-38.
    The concept of preference dominates economic theory today. It performs a triple duty for economists, grounding their theories of individual behavior, welfare, and rationality. Microeconomic theory assumes that individuals act so as to maximize their utility – that is, to maximize the degree to which their preferences are satisfied. Welfare economics defines individual welfare in terms of preference satisfaction or utility, and social welfare as a function of individual preferences. Finally, economists assume that the rational act is the act that (...)
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  2. Steven Arkonovich (2012). Conflicts of Desire. Journal of Value Inquiry 46 (1):51-63.
    This paper is an attempt to come to a better understanding of desire through an examination of certain kinds of conflict of desire. Standard accounts of conflict of desire involve a two-part analysis. First, desires are held to conflict just in case the satisfaction of one precludes the satisfaction of the other; second, a desire is said to be satisfied just in case the propositional content of the desire is true. I argue that this account of conflict rests in an (...)
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  3. Richard Arneson (2006). Desire Formation and Human Good. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 81 (59):9-.
    In Wuthering Heights a man and a woman fall in love and their passion for each other wreaks havoc on several lives, theirs included.1 Long after his beloved is dead, Heathcliff’s life revolves entirely around his love for her. Frustrated by events, his grand romantic passion expresses itself in destructive spasms of antisocial behavior. Catherine, the object of this passion, marries another man on a whim, but describes her feelings for him as like superficial foliage, whereas “her love for Heathcliff (...)
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  4. Richard Arneson (1999). Human Flourishing Versus Desire Satisfaction. Social Philosophy and Policy 16 (01):113-142.
    What is the good for human persons? If I am trying to lead the best possible life I could lead, not the morally best life, but the life that is best for me, what exactly am I seeking? This phrasing of the question I will be pursuing may sound tendentious, so some explaining is needed. What is good for one person, we ordinarily suppose, can conflict with what is good for other persons and with what is required by morality. A (...)
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  5. H. E. Baber, Meet the Meat: So, Where's the Beef?
    Preferentism is the doctrine that "in deciding what is good and what is bad for a given individual, the ultimate criterion can only be his own wants and his own preferences." If preferentism is true then it would seem to follow that modifying a person's preferences so that they are satisfied by what is on offer should be as good as improving the circumstances of her life to satisfy her preferences. Our intuitive response to stories of life-adjustment through brainwashing, psychosurgery (...)
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  6. H. E. Baber (2010). Worlds, Capabilities and Well-Being. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (4):377 - 392.
    Critics suggest that without some "objective" account of well-being we cannot explain why satisfying some preferences is, as we believe, better than satisfying others, why satisfying some preferences may leave us on net worse off or why, in a range of cases, we should reject life-adjustment in favor of life-improvement. I defend a subjective welfarist understanding of well-being against such objections by reconstructing the Amartya Sen's capability approach as a preferentist account of well-being. According to the proposed account preference satisfaction (...)
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  7. Ben Bradley (2009). Well-Being and Death. Oxford University Press.
  8. Ben Bradley (2007). A Paradox for Some Theories of Welfare. Philosophical Studies 133 (1):45 - 53.
    Sometimes people desire that their lives go badly, take pleasure in their lives going badly, or believe that their lives are going badly. As a result, some popular theories of welfare are paradoxical. I show that no attempt to defend those theories from the paradox fully succeeds.
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  9. Phillip Bricker (1980). Prudence. Journal of Philosophy 77 (7):381-401.
    The article explicates a notion of prudence according to which an agent acts prudently if he acts so as to satisfy not only his present preferences, but his past and future preferences as well. A simplified decision-theoretic framework is developed within which three analyses of prudence are presented and compared. That analysis is defended which can best handle cases in which an agent's present act will affect his future preferences.
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  10. Donald W. Bruckner (2013). Present Desire Satisfaction and Past Well-Being. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (1):15 - 29.
    One version of the desire satisfaction theory of well-being (i.e., welfare, or what is good for one) holds that only the satisfaction of one's present desires for present states of affairs can affect one's well-being. So if I desire fame today and become famous tomorrow, my well-being is positively affected onlyif tomorrow, when I am famous, I still desire to be famous. Call this the present desire satisfaction theory of well-being. I argue, contrary to this theory, that the satisfaction of (...)
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  11. Donald W. Bruckner (2011). Subjective Well-Being and Desire Satisfaction. Philosophical Papers 39 (1):1-28.
    There is a large literature in empirical psychology studying what psychologists call 'subjective well-being'. Only limited attention has been given to these results by philosophers who study what we call 'well-being'. In this paper, I assess the relevance of the empirical results to one philosophical theory of well-being, the desire satisfaction theory. According to the desire satisfaction theory, an individual's well-being is enhanced when her desires are satisfied. The empirical results, however, show that many of our desires are disappointed in (...)
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  12. Judith Butler (1987). Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France. Columbia University Press.
  13. Krister Bykvist (2007). Comments on Dennis McKerlie's 'Rational Choice, Changes in Values Over Time, and Well-Being'. Utilitas 19 (1):73-77.
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  14. Krister Bykvist (2006). Prudence for Changing Selves. Utilitas 18 (3):264-283.
    What is the prudentially right thing to do in situations in which our actions will shape our preferences? Suppose, for instance, that you are considering getting married, and that you know that if you get married, you will prefer being unmarried, and that if you stay unmarried, you will prefer being married. This is the problem I will deal with in this article. I will begin by explaining why preferences matter to prudence. I will then go on to discuss a (...)
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  15. Jules L. Coleman (2003). The Grounds of Welfare. Yale Law Journal 112:1511.
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  16. Dale Dorsey (2013). Desire-Satisfaction and Welfare as Temporal. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (1):151-171.
    Welfare is at least occasionally a temporal phenomenon: welfare benefits befall me at certain times. But this fact seems to present a problem for a desire-satisfaction view. Assume that I desire, at 10am, January 12th, 2010, to climb Mount Everest sometime during 2012. Also assume, however, that during 2011, my desires undergo a shift: I no longer desire to climb Mount Everest during 2012. In fact, I develop an aversion to so doing. Imagine, however, that despite my aversion, I am (...)
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  17. Dale Dorsey (2010). Preferences, Welfare, and the Status-Quo Bias. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (3):535-554.
    Preferences play a role in well-being that is difficult to escape, but whatever authority one grants to preferences, their malleability seems to cause problems for any theory of well-being that employs them. Most importantly, preferences appear to display a status-quo bias: people come to prefer what they are likely rather than unlikely to get. I try to do two things here. The first is to provide a more precise characterization of the status-quo bias, how it functions, and how it infects (...)
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  18. Fred Feldman, Happiness and Subjective Desire Satisfaction: Wayne Davis's Theory of Happiness.
    There is a lively debate about the descriptive concept of happiness. What do we mean when we say (using the word to express this descriptive concept) that a person is “happy”? One prominent answer is subjective local desire satisfactionism. On this view, to be happy at a time is to believe, with respect to the things that you want to be true at that time, that they are true. Wayne Davis developed and defended an interesting and sophisticated version of this (...)
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  19. Guy Fletcher (2009). Rejecting Well-Being Invariabilism. Philosophical Papers 38 (1):21-34.
    This paper is an attempt to undermine a basic assumption of theories of well-being, one that I call well-being invariabilism. I argue that much of what makes existing theories of well-being inadequate stems from the invariabilist assumption. After distinguishing and explaining well-being invariabilism and well-being variabilism, I show that the most widely-held theories of well-being—hedonism, desire-satisfaction, and pluralist objective-list theories—presuppose invariabilism and that a large class of the objections to them arise because of it. My aim is to show that (...)
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  20. David Gordon (1988). Projectivist Utilitarianism and the Satisfaction of Desire. Erkenntnis 29 (3):437 - 443.
    N. M. L. Nathan's argument that IDP utilitarianism, if universally adopted, is inconsistent, does not succeed. The argument requires that if an IDP utilitarian has only self-regarding desires, then none of these desires can be informed. This rests on a partial misuse of the expression satisfaction of desire. For an individual attempting to realize his self-regarding desires, the satisfaction of the satisfaction of a desire is unmeaning. The naming of an object of the desire is an intrinsic part of the (...)
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  21. James Griffin (1986). Well-Being: Its Meaning, Measurement, and Moral Importance. Clarendon Press.
    "Well-being," "welfare," "utility," and "quality of life," all closely related concepts, are at the center of morality, politics, law, and economics. Griffin's book, while primarily a volume of moral philosophy, is relevant to all of these subjects. Griffin offers answers to three central questions about well-being: what is the best way to understand it, can it be measured, and where should it fit in moral and political thought. With its breadth of investigation and depth of insight, this work holds significance (...)
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  22. Daniel M. Haybron (2008). The Pursuit of Unhappiness: The Elusive Psychology of Well-Being. OUP Oxford.
    The pursuit of happiness is a defining theme of the modern era. But what if people aren't very good at it? This and related questions are explored in this book, the first comprehensive philosophical treatment of happiness in the contemporary psychological sense. In these pages, Dan Haybron argues that people are probably less effective at judging, and promoting, their own welfare than common belief has it. For the psychological dimensions of well-being, particularly our emotional lives, are far richer and more (...)
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  23. Chris Heathwood (2014). Subjective Theories of Well-Being. In Ben Eggleston & Dale Miller (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Utilitarianism. Cambridge University Press. 199-219.
    Subjective theories of well-being claim that how well our lives go for us is a matter of our attitudes towards what we get in life rather than the nature of the things themselves. This article explains in more detail the distinction between subjective and objective theories of well-being; describes, for each approach, some reasons for thinking it is true; outlines the main kinds of subjective theory; and explains their advantages and disadvantages.
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  24. Chris Heathwood (2011). Desire-Based Theories of Reasons, Pleasure, and Welfare. Oxford Studies in Metaethics 6:79-106.
    One of the most important disputes in the foundations of ethics concerns the source of practical reasons. On the desire-based view, only one’s desires provide one with reasons to act. On the value-based view, reasons are instead provided by the objective evaluative facts, and never by our desires. Similarly, there are desire-based and non-desired-based theories about two other issues: pleasure and welfare. It has been argued, and is natural to think, that holding a desire-based theory about either pleasure or welfare (...)
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  25. Chris Heathwood (2011). Preferentism and Self‐Sacrifice. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (1):18-38.
    According to the argument from self-sacrifice, standard, unrestricted desire-based theories of welfare fail because they have the absurd implication that self-sacrifice is conceptually impossible. I attempt to show that, in fact, the simplest imaginable, completely unrestricted desire-based theory of well-being is perfectly compatible with the phenomenon of self-sacrifice – so long as the theory takes the right form. I go on to consider a new argument from self-sacrifice against this simple theory, which, I argue, also fails. I conclude that, contrary (...)
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  26. Chris Heathwood (2006). Desire Satisfactionism and Hedonism. Philosophical Studies 128 (3):539-563.
    Hedonism and the desire-satisfaction theory of welfare ("desire satisfactionism") are typically seen as archrivals in the contest over identifying what makes one's life go best. It is surprising, then, that the most plausible form of hedonism just is the most plausible form of desire satisfactionism. How can a single theory of welfare be a version of both hedonism and desire satisfactionism? The answer lies in what pleasure is: pleasure is, in my view, the subjective satisfaction of desire. This thesis about (...)
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  27. Chris Heathwood (2005). The Problem of Defective Desires. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (4):487 – 504.
    The desire-satisfaction theory of welfare says, roughly, that one's life goes well to the extent that one's desires are satisfied. On standard 'actualist' versions of the theory, it doesn't matter what you desire. So long as you are getting what you actually want – whatever it is – things are going well for you. There is widespread agreement that these standard versions are incorrect, because we can desire things that are bad for us -– in other words, because there are (...)
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  28. Chris Heathwood (2003). Review of Stephen Darwall, Welfare and Rational Care. [REVIEW] Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (4):615-617.
  29. Brad Hooker (1992). Parfit's Arguments for the Present-Aim Theory. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 70 (1):61 – 75.
    This paper has been about the question of what there is most reason to doin situations in which either there are no moral considerations to be takeninto account or the moral considerations to be taken into account are equally balanced. I have assessed all Parfit's arguments for concluding that the Present-aim Theory is right and the Self-interest Theory wrong aboutthis question. In § III, I showed how Parfit's argument from personal identity leads not to the abandonment of the Self-interest Theory, (...)
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  30. Simon Keller (2004). Welfare and the Achievement of Goals. Philosophical Studies 121 (1):27-41.
    I defend the view that an individual''s welfareis in one respect enhanced by the achievementof her goals, even when her goals are crazy,self-destructive, irrational or immoral. This``Unrestricted View'''' departs from familiartheories which take welfare to involve only theachievement of rational aims, or of goals whoseobjects are genuinely valuable, or of goalsthat are not grounded in bad reasons. I beginwith a series of examples, intended to showthat some of our intuitive judgments aboutwelfare incorporate distinctions that only theUnrestricted View can support. Then, (...)
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  31. Matthew J. Kisner (2010). Perfection and Desire: Spinoza on the Good. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (1):97-117.
    While Spinoza claims that our good is both what increases our essential power and what helps us to satisfy our desires, he admits that people desire things that do not increase their power. This paper addresses this problem by arguing that Spinoza conceives of desires as expressions of our conatus , so that satisfying our desires necessarily increases our power and vice versa. This reading holds, in opposition to recent work, that Spinoza upholds a desire-satisfaction theory of the good, though (...)
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  32. Richard Kraut (1994). Desire and the Human Good. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 68 (2):315.
    When wc compare contemporary moral philosophy with thc wcll-known moral systems of earlier centuries, wc should bc struck by thc fact that a certain assumption about human well being that is now widely taken for granted was universally rcjcctcd in thc past. The contemporary moral climate prcdisposcs us to bc pluralistic about thc human good, whcrcas earlier systems of ethics embraced a conception of wcll being that wc would now call narrow and restrictive. One way to convey thc sort of (...)
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  33. William Lauinger (2013). The Missing-Desires Objection to Hybrid Theories of Well-Being. Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (2):270-295.
    Many philosophers have claimed that we might do well to adopt a hybrid theory of well-being: a theory that incorporates both an objective-value constraint and a pro-attitude constraint. Hybrid theories are attractive for two main reasons. First, unlike desire theories of well-being, hybrid theories need not worry about the problem of defective desires. This is so because, unlike desire theories, hybrid theories place an objective-value constraint on well-being. Second, unlike objectivist theories of well-being, hybrid theories need not worry about being (...)
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  34. William Lauinger (2012). Well-Being and Theism: Linking Ethics to God. Continuum.
    Well-Being and Theism is divided into two distinctive parts. The first part argues that desire-fulfillment welfare theories fail to capture the 'good' part of ‘good for’, and that objective list welfare theories fail to capture the 'for' part of ‘good for’. Then, with the aim of capturing both of these parts of ‘good for’, a hybrid theory–one which places both a value constraint and a desire constraint on well-being–is advanced. Lauinger then defends this proposition, which he calls the desire-perfectionism theory, (...)
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  35. William Lauinger (2011). Dead Sea Apples and Desire-Fulfillment Welfare Theories. Utilitas 23 (03):324-343.
    This paper argues that, in light of Dead Sea apple cases, we should reject desire-fulfillment welfare theories (DF theories). Dead Sea apples are apples that look attractive while hanging on the tree, but which dissolve into smoke or ashes once plucked. Accordingly, Dead Sea apple cases are cases where an agent desires something and then gets it, only to find herself disappointed by what she has gotten. This paper covers both actual DF theories and hypothetical (or idealized) DF theories. On (...)
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  36. Mark Lebar (2004). Good for You. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 85 (2):195–217.
    Theories of human well-being struggle with a tension between opposing intuitions: on the one hand, that our welfare is subjectively determined by us as individuals, and on the other that there are objective constraints on what can count as our good. I argue that accounts driven primarily by subjectivist intuitions fail to come to grips with the signific-ance of objectivist intuitions, by failing to explain where our objectivist intuitions come from and why they are important, and defend an alternative account (...)
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  37. Michelle Mason (2007). Richard Kraut, What is Good and Why: The Ethics of Well-Being. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (11).
  38. Dennis Mckerlie (2007). Comments on Krister Bykvist 'Prudence for Changing Selves'. Utilitas 19 (1):47-50.
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  39. Dennis Mckerlie (2007). Rational Choice, Changes in Values Over Time, and Well-Being. Utilitas 19 (1):51-72.
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  40. Derek A. Parfit (1984). Reasons and Persons. Oxford University Press.
    Challenging, with several powerful arguments, some of our deepest beliefs about rationality, morality, and personal identity, Parfit claims that we have a false view about our own nature. It is often rational to act against our own best interersts, he argues, and most of us have moral views that are self-defeating. We often act wrongly, although we know there will be no one with serious grounds for complaint, and when we consider future generations it is very hard to avoid conclusions (...)
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  41. Philip Pettit & Michael Smith (1990). Backgrounding Desire. Philosophical Review 99 (4):565-592.
    Granted that desire is always present in the genesis of human action, is it something on the presence of which the agent always reflects? I may act on a belief without coming to recognize that I have the belief. Can I act on a desire without recognizing that I have the desire? In particular, can the desire have a motivational presence in my decision making, figuring in the background, as it were, without appearing in the content of my deliberation, in (...)
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  42. Douglas W. Portmore (2007). Desire Fulfillment and Posthumous Harm. American Philosophical Quarterly 44 (1):27 - 38.
    This paper argues that the standard account of posthumous harm is untenable. The standard account presupposes the desire-fulfillment theory of welfare, but I argue that no plausible version of this theory can allow for the possibility of posthumous harm. I argue that there are, at least, two problems with the standard account from the perspective of a desire-fulfillment theorist. First, as most desire-fulfillment theorists acknowledge, the theory must be restricted in such a way that only those desires that pertain to (...)
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  43. Jason Raibley (2013). Health and Well-Being. Philosophical Studies 165 (2):469-489.
    Eudaimonistic theorists of welfare have recently attacked conative accounts of welfare. Such accounts, it is claimed, are unable to classify states normally associated with physical and emotional health as non-instrumentally good and states associated with physical and psychological damage as non-instrumentally bad. However, leading eudaimonistic theories such as the self-fulfillment theory and developmentalism have problems of their own. Furthermore, conative theorists can respond to this challenge by dispositionalizing their theories, i.e., by saying that it is not merely the realization of (...)
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  44. Jason R. Raibley (2012). Welfare Over Time and the Case for Holism. Philosophical Papers 41 (2):239 - 265.
    Abstract Theories of personal well-being are typically developed so that they render verdicts on (a) how well-off a person is at a moment, (b) how well-off a person is over an interval of time, and (c) how good a whole life is for the person who lives it. Conative theories of welfare posit welfare-atoms that consist, e.g., in episodes of desire-satisfaction, aim-achievement, or values-realisation. Most extant conative theories are additive: they compute well-being over time?up to and including the value of (...)
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  45. Peter Railton (1986). Moral Realism. Philosophical Review 95 (2):163-207.
    The question of moral realismwhether our ethical beliefs rest on some objective foundationis one that mattered as much to Aristotle as it does to us today, and his writings on this topic continue to provide inspiration for the contemporary debate. This volume of essays expands the fruitful conversation among scholars of ancient philosophy and contemporary ethical theorists on this question and related issues such as the virtues, justice, and Aristotles theory of tragedy.The distinguished contributors to this volume enrich and clarify (...)
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  46. Connie Rosati (2006). Preference-Formation and Personal Good. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 81 (59):33-.
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  47. Connie S. Rosati (2009). Self-Interest and Self-Sacrifice. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 109 (1pt3):311 - 325.
    Stephen Darwall has recently suggested (following work by Mark Overvold) that theories which identify a person’s good with her own ranking of concerns do not properly delimit the ‘scope’ of welfare, making self-sacrifice conceptually impossible. But whether a theory of welfare makes self-sacrifice impossible depends on what self-sacrifice is. I offer an alternative analysis to Overvold’s, explaining why self-interest and self-sacrifice need not be opposed, and so why the problems of delimiting the scope of welfare and of allowing for self-sacrifice (...)
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  48. Connie S. Rosati (1996). Internalism and the Good for a Person. Ethics 106 (2):297-326.
    Proponents of numerous recent theories of a person's good hold that a plausible account of the good for a person must satisfy existence internalism. Yet little direct defense has been given for this position. I argue that the principal intuition behind internalism supports a stronger version of the thesis than it might appear--one that effects a "double link" to motivation. I then identify and develop the main arguments that have been or might be given in support of internalism about a (...)
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  49. Connie S. Rosati (1995). Persons, Perspectives, and Full Information Accounts of the Good. Ethics 105 (2):296-325.
  50. Alexander Sarch (2013). Desire Satisfactionism and Time. Utilitas 25 (2):221-245.
    In this article, I aim to clarify how Actual Desire Satisfactionism should accommodate the ways in which desire and time are connected. In particular, I argue that Weak Concurrentism represents the most promising way for the Desire Satisfactionist to capture the temporal nature of desire. I consider the Desire Satisfactionist's other main options, but argue that none succeeds. This leaves Weak Concurrentism looking attractive. However, Weak Concurrentism might also be thought to have some implausible consequences of its own. Nonetheless, I (...)
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