David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Dialectica 63 (2):133-155 (2009)
What is the relation between desire and action? According to a traditional, widespread and influential view I call 'The Motivational Necessity of Desire' (MN), having a desire that p entails being disposed to act in ways that you believe will bring about p . But what about desires like a desire that the committee chooses you without your needing to do anything, or a desire that your child passes her exams on her own? Such 'self-passive' desires are often given as a counter-example to MN. If MN is true then self-passive desires seem absurd: if someone has a self-passive desire she will be disposed to act, thereby preventing her from getting what she desires. But it seems that we can reasonably, and often do, have such desires. However, I argue that self-passive desires are not, in fact, counter-examples to MN: close consideration of the content of these desires, the contexts in which we ascribe them, and what is claimed by MN show that they are not a problem for that view. I also argue that strengthened versions of the examples are unsuccessful, and I offer a diagnosis of why these kinds of case are commonly thought to raise a challenge to MN.
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References found in this work BETA
Thomas Scanlon (1998). What We Owe to Each Other. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Michael Smith (1994). The Moral Problem. Blackwell.
Gilbert Ryle (1949). The Concept of Mind. Hutchinson and Co.
Allan Gibbard (1990). Wise Choices, Apt Feelings: A Theory of Normative Judgment. Harvard University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Sabine Döring & Bahadir Eker (forthcoming). Desires Without Guises: Why We Need Not Value What We Want. In Julien Deonna & Federico Lauria (eds.), The Nature of Desire. Oxford University Press
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