Review: Which Passions Rule? [Book Review]

Simon Blackburn attempts to answer these questions in the early part of his wonderful new book Ruling Passions (Blackburn 1998). Unsurprisingly, despite my admiration for his book, I think he fails to identify a special feature of desires and aversions that makes them especially suitable for expression in normative claims. For all that he says the desires and aversions he picks out are much like the addict’s desire to take drugs. There are revisions Blackburn could make which would make his account more plausible. However, if he were to make these revisions, then he might just as well abandon his non-cognitivism in favor of a version of non-cognitivism’s close cognitivist cousin: subjectivism.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2002.tb00191.x
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Bernard Williams (1979). Internal and External Reasons. In Ross Harrison (ed.), Rational Action. Cambridge University Press 101-113.

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