On essentially conflicting desires

Philosophical Quarterly 59 (235):274-291 (2009)
Abstract
It is sometimes argued that having inconsistent desires is irrational or otherwise bad for an agent. If so, if agents seem to want a and not-a, then either their attitudes are being misdescribed – what they really want is some aspect x of a and some aspect y of not-a – or those desires are somehow 'inconsistent' and thus inappropriate. I argue first that the proper characterization of inconsistency here does not involve logical form, that is, whether the desires involved have the form 'a and not-a', but rather the possibility of fulfilling all one's desires; and secondly, that the 'essential' conflicts involved in such inconsistencies are quite common and no worse for an agent than contingent conflicts. I draw implications concerning moral epistemology, moral realism and the logic of attitudes.
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References found in this work BETA
David O. Brink (1994). Moral Conflict and its Structure. Philosophical Review 103 (2):215-247.
Cheshire Calhoun (1995). Standing for Something. Journal of Philosophy 92 (5):235-260.
Philippa Foot (1983). Moral Realism and Moral Dilemma. Journal of Philosophy 80 (7):379-398.
Harry Frankfurt (1992). The Faintest Passion. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 66 (3):5-16.

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Citations of this work BETA
Logi Gunnarsson (2014). In Defense of Ambivalence and Alienation. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (1):13-26.
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