Foregrounding Desire: A Defense of Kant's Incorporation Thesis [Book Review]

Journal of Ethics 15 (3):147-167 (2011)
Abstract
In this paper I defend Kant’s Incorporation Thesis, which holds that we must “incorporate” our incentives into our maxims if we are to act on them. I see this as a thesis about what is necessary for a human being to make the transition from ‘having a desire’ to ‘acting on it’. As such, I consider the widely held view that ‘having a desire’ involves being focused on the world, and not on ourselves or on the desire. I try to show how this view is connected with a denial of any deep distinction between reason and inclination. I then argue for an alternative view of what ‘having a desire’ involves, one according to which it involves being focused both on the world and on ourselves. I show how this view fits naturally with the Kantian distinction between reason and inclination, accounts for independent intuitions about ‘having a desire’, and supports the Incorporation Thesis. I then make some further suggestions about how we might conceive of the object of incorporation.
Keywords Action  Agency  Animal agency  Desire  Inclination  Incorporation thesis  Kant  Kantian  Moral psychology
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References found in this work BETA
John M. Cooper (1984). Plato's Theory of Human Motivation. History of Philosophy Quarterly 1 (1):3 - 21.
John M. Cooper (1989). Some Remarks on Aristotle's Moral Psychology. Southern Journal of Philosophy 27 (S1):25-42.
Stephen L. Darwall (1992). Internalism and Agency. Philosophical Perspectives 6:155-174.

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