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Summary The central question about desire and reason concerns the extent to which our reasons to act depend on our desires. According to ‘desire-based’ or ‘Humean’ theories of reasons, all of our reasons to act depend on our desires. On a simple version of such a theory, we have reason to do only what would serve one of our present desires. Many philosophers have found such theories attractive, insofar as they connect our reasons with our motivations, or insofar as they seem to make metaphysical and epistemological questions about reasons more tractable. But many other philosophers have found such theories unattractive, often on the grounds that they seem to threaten the rational authority of morality.
Key works A great deal of the recent literature has focused on Bernard Williams’ defence of his ‘internal reasons’ theory, a version of the desire-based theory, in his Williams 1979. Some central contributions to the literature on Williams’ view are Korsgaard 1986McDowell 1995, and Parfit 1997. There is also a lot of recent literature arguing against desire-based theories of reasons. See, for instance, Darwall 1983, Korsgaard 1997, Nagel 1970Scanlon 1998Parfit 2011. For a recent defence of a desire-based theory, see Schroeder 2007.
Introductions Finlay & Schroeder 2008Wiland 2012: ch.2
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274 found
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1 — 50 / 274
  1. added 2020-06-24
    Reasons From Within. [REVIEW]Graham Oddie - 2012 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 9 (3):473-476.
  2. added 2020-06-17
    Reasons Internalism, Cooperation, and Law.Olof Leffler - forthcoming - In Miguel Garcia-Godinez, Rachael Mellin & Raimo Tuomela (eds.), Social Ontology, Normativity and Law. Berlin: pp. 115-132.
    Argues that reasons internalism, suitably understood, explains categorical reasons for us to cooperate with each other. The norms we then cooperate to satisfy can lie at the heart of legal systems, yielding unexpected implications in the philosophy of law.
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  3. added 2020-06-09
    Rationalized Passion and Passionate Rationality: Thomas Aquinas on the Relation Between Reason and the Passions.Elisabeth Uffenheimer-Lippens - 2003 - Review of Metaphysics 56 (3):525-558.
    Thomas Aquinas wrote for the first time in the history of philosophy a systematic treatise on the human passions that considered them from an anthropological as well as from a moral point of view. His theory of the passions belongs to this third or what we could call “Aristotelian” approach. The aim of this article is to bring out the richness of Aquinas’s insights by analyzing his theory within the broader framework of his anthropology.
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  4. added 2020-06-02
    Wahrheit ohne Tugend? oder: Setzt eine adäquate Wahrnehmung der Wirklichkeit Tugend voraus?Andreas Trampota - 2003 - Zur Debatte 33 (7):38f..
  5. added 2020-04-16
    Belief, Faith, and Hope: On the Rationality of Long-Term Commitment.Elizabeth Jackson - forthcoming - Mind.
    I examine three attitudes: belief, faith, and hope. I argue that all three attitudes play the same role in rationalizing action. First, I explain two models of rational action—the decision-theory model and the belief-desire model. Both models entail there are two components of rational action: an epistemic component and a conative component. Then, using this framework, I show how belief, faith, and hope that p can all make it rational to accept, or act as if, p. I conclude by showing (...)
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  6. added 2020-03-13
    Future Desires, the Agony Argument, and Subjectivism About Reasons.Eden Lin - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (1):95-130.
    Extant discussions of subjectivism about reasons for action have concentrated on presentist versions of the theory, on which reasons for present actions are grounded in present desires. In this article, I motivate and investigate the prospects of futurist subjectivism, on which reasons for present actions are grounded in present or future desires. Futurist subjectivism promises to answer Parfit's Agony Argument, and it is motivated by natural extensions of some of the considerations that support subjectivism in general. However, it faces a (...)
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  7. added 2020-03-02
    The Evolutionary Explanation: The Limits of the Desire Theories of Unpleasantness,.Abraham Sapien - 2018 - Contrastes. Revista Internacional de Filosofia 23 (3):121-140.
    Several theorists have defended that unpleasantness can be explained by appealing to (intrinsic, simultaneous, de re) desires for certain experiences not to be occurring. In a nutshell, experiences are unpleasant because we do not want them, and not vice versa. A common criticism for this approach takes the form of a Euthyphro dilemma. Even if there is a solution for this criticism, I argue that this type of approach is limited in two important ways. It cannot provide an explanation for: (...)
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  8. added 2020-03-02
    The Unpleasantness of Pain.Abraham Sapien - 2018 - Dissertation,
    In this thesis I provide an account of the unpleasantness of pain. In doing this, I shed light on the nature of pain and unpleasantness. I propose to understand the unpleasantness of pain based on the determinable-determinate distinction. Unpleasantness is a determinable phenomenal property of mental states that entails badness. I propose that an unpleasant pain experience has two phenomenal properties: i) the phenomenal property of being a pain, and ii) a phenomenal determinate property (u1, u2, u3, etc.) of the (...)
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  9. added 2020-02-14
    Appearances of the Good: An Essay on the Nature of Practical Reason.Sergio Tenenbaum - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
    'We desire all and only those things we conceive to be good; we avoid what we conceive to be bad.' This slogan was once the standard view of the relationship between desire or motivation and rational evaluation. Many critics have rejected this scholastic formula as either trivial or wrong. It appears to be trivial if we just define the good as 'what we want', and wrong if we consider apparent conflicts between what we seem to want and what we seem (...)
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  10. added 2020-01-31
    The Logic of Desire: Aquinas on Emotion, by Nicholas E. Lombardo Op.Peter Hampson - 2012 - New Blackfriars 93 (1045):373-375.
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  11. added 2020-01-31
    ''œI'''ll Be Glad I Did It'' Reasoning and the Significance of Future Desires.Elizabeth Harman - 2009 - Philosophical Perspectives 23 (1):177-199.
    We use “I’ll be glad I did it” reasoning all the time. For example, last night I was trying to decide whether to work on this paper or go out to a movie. I realized that if I worked on the paper, then today I would be glad I did it. Whereas, if I went out to the movie, today I would regret it. This enabled me to see that I should work on the paper rather than going out to (...)
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  12. added 2020-01-24
    Law and Authority Under the Guise of the Good, by Veronica Rodriguez-Blanco.Ori J. Herstein - 2016 - Mind 125 (500):1213-1222.
    Law and Authority Under the Guise of the Good, by Rodriguez-BlancoVeronica. Oxford : Hart Publishing, 2014. Pp. 215.
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  13. added 2020-01-24
    Objectivism, Subjectivism, and Relativism in Ethics: Volume 25, Part 1.Ellen Frankel Paul, Miller Jr & Jeffrey Paul (eds.) - 2008 - Cambridge University Press.
    Do we desire things because they are good, or are they good because we desire them? Objectivists answer that we desire things because they are good; subjectivists answer that things are good because we desire them. Further, does it make sense to account for moral disagreement by claiming, as the moral relativist does, that something might be good for one person but not for another? Some essays in this book consider whether objective moral truths can be grounded in an understanding (...)
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  14. added 2019-11-28
    The Self-Determination of Force: Desire and Practical Self-Consciousness in Kant and Hegel.Thomas Khurana - 2018 - In Sally Sedgwick & Dina Emundts (eds.), Begehren / Desire. Berlin/New York: De Gruyter. pp. 179-204.
    In a broadly Kantian context, it is often assumed that practical self-consciousness and rational self-determination can only be understood in opposition to pleasure and desire. I argue instead that, already for Kant, rational self-determination is itself a determination of our faculty of desire. Drawing on resources from Kant and Hegel, the paper shows that sensible desire can be understood as a self-determination of our vital forces which is connected to a sensible awareness of our practical existence. In order to constitute (...)
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  15. added 2019-11-14
    Ruly and Unruly Passions: Early Modern Perspectives.Elizabeth S. Radcliffe - 2019 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 85:21-38.
    A survey of theories on the passions and action in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Britain and western Europe reveals that few, if any, of the major writers held the view that reason in any of its functions executes action without a passion. Even rationalists, like Cambridge Platonist Ralph Cudworth and English clergyman Samuel Clarke, recognized the necessity of passion to action. On the other hand, many of these intellectuals also agreed with French philosophers Jean-François Senault, René Descartes, and Nicolas Malebranche that, (...)
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  16. added 2019-11-14
    Mind and Morality: An Examination of Hume’s Moral Philosophy. [REVIEW]Andrew Cunningham - 1997 - Review of Metaphysics 51 (1):140-140.
    The main line of argument in Bricke’s stimulating and well-written interpretation of Hume’s moral theory runs roughly as follows: Hume holds that, in practical reasoning, beliefs are subordinate to desires, and is therefore a “conativist” ; we must attribute to Hume the view that both desires and beliefs have representational content, so that they are essentially distinguished by their opposite “directions of fit”—otherwise we cannot forestall the cognitivist from simply insisting that intrinsically motivating beliefs are possible; moral sentiments are motivating (...)
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  17. added 2019-09-09
    Active Desire.Uku Tooming - 2019 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (6):945-968.
    Desire is commonly understood as a mental state in relation to which we are passive. Since it seems to arise in us spontaneously, without antecedent deliberation, it also seems to constitute a paradigmatic type of mental state which is not up to us. In this paper, I will contest this idea. I will defend a view according to which we can actively shape our desires by controlling the way in which we imagine their contents. This view is supported both by (...)
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  18. added 2019-08-29
    Do We Love For Reasons?Yongming Han - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Do we love for reasons? It can seem as if we do, since most cases of non‐familial love seem *selective*: coming to love a non‐family‐member often begins with our being drawn to them for what they are like. I argue, however, that we can vindicate love's selectivity, even if we maintain that there are no reasons for love; indeed, that gives us a simpler, and hence better, explanation of love's selectivity. We don't, in short, come to love *for* reasons. That (...)
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  19. added 2019-06-06
    All for the Good.David S. Oderberg - unknown
    The Guise of the Good thesis has received much attention since Anscombe's brief defence in her book Intention. I approach it here from a less common perspective - indirectly, via a theory explaining how it is that moral behaviour is even possible. After setting out how morality requires the employment of a fundamental test, I argue that moral behaviour involves orientation toward the good. Immoral behaviour cannot, however, involve orientation to evil as such, given the theory of evil as privation. (...)
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  20. added 2019-06-06
    Slaves of the Passions. [REVIEW]Melissa Barry - 2010 - Hume Studies 36 (2):225-228.
    In Slaves of the Passions, Mark Schroeder provides a systematic, rigorously argued defense of a Humean theory of reasons for action, taking pains to respond to influential objections to the view. While inspired by Hume, Schroeder makes it clear that he aims to develop a Humean theory, not necessarily one that Hume himself embraced, and for this reason little is said about Hume in the book. One respect in which Schroeder takes himself to be departing from Hume is in developing (...)
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  21. added 2019-06-06
    Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality. [REVIEW]Christian Miller - 2004 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 1 (2):242-245.
    This volume is a collection of papers, all but one of which were presented at a conference on the same topic at the University of Montreal in 2001. The editors have also added a brief introduction, half of which is devoted to a very quick overview of some of the relevant background literature on weakness of will and practical irrationality, while the other half summarizes the main claims of each of the papers in the volume.
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  22. added 2019-06-06
    Davidson's Conceptual Argument for Rational Cognition: Wayne A. Davis.Wayne A. Davis - 1997 - Legal Theory 3 (2):205-210.
    According to Jules Coleman, Rational Choice Theory holds that human action is both intentional and rational. “The rationality of intentional action is evaluated along the two dimensions corresponding to the two elements of the belief-desire model.” On the belief-dimension, RC Theory assumes that people are “able to draw appropriate inferences from the information they possess.”.
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  23. added 2019-06-05
    Book ReviewsSergio Tenenbaum,. Appearances of the Good: An Essay on the Nature of Practical Reason.New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Pp. 315. $80.00. [REVIEW]Peter Brian Barry - 2007 - Ethics 118 (1):181-184.
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  24. added 2019-04-23
    Why Do Desires Rationalize Actions?Alex Gregory - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5.
    I begin the paper by outlining one classic argument for the guise of the good: that we must think that desires represent their objects favourably in order to explain why they can make actions rational (Quinn 1995; Stampe 1987). But what exactly is the conclusion of this argument? Many have recently formulated the guise of the good as the view that desires are akin to perceptual appearances of the good (Oddie 2005; Stampe 1987; Tenenbaum 2007). But I argue that this (...)
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  25. added 2019-04-21
    Exercícios Filosóficos em Epicteto.Diogo Luz - 2018 - Intuitio 11 (2):17-33.
    O presente artigo trata do pensamento de Epicteto pelo viés do exercício (áskēsis), ou seja, por meio de práticas que conduzem ao aperfeiçoamento de quem elege para si o ofício de filósofo. Para tal, inicialmente esclarecemos o que significam os exercícios na filosofia antiga, tendo como subsídio as teses de Pierre Hadot. Logo depois, exploramos seis exercícios que consideramos centrais para o filósofo de Nicópolis, contextualizando com os ensinamentos que estão envolvidos e descrevendo as principais características de seu método. Por (...)
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  26. added 2019-03-29
    Wanting is Believing: A Theory of Human Behaviour and its Rationality.Alex Gregory - manuscript
    Under contract with Oxford University Press. -/- The book defends desire-as-belief, according to which the word “desire” just picks out a special subset of our beliefs: beliefs about reasons. On this view, wanting to do something is just the same thing as believing that there is reason to do it. This view allows us to see how human behaviour should be explained: by appeal to our desires, which is to say, our beliefs about reasons. This view also allows us to (...)
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  27. added 2019-03-26
    The Guise of the Good and the Problem of Partiality.Allan Hazlett - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (6):851-872.
    According to the guise of the good thesis, we desire things under the ‘guise of the good.’ Here I sympathetically articulate a generic formulation of the guise of the good thesis, and addre...
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  28. added 2019-03-11
    Are All Normative Judgments Desire-Like?Alex Gregory - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 12 (1):29-55.
    In this paper I first argue against one attractive formulation of the motivation argument, and against one attractive formulation of noncognitivism. I do so by example: I suggest that other-regarding normative judgments do not seem to have motivational powers and do not seem to be desires. After defending these two claims, I argue that other views can accommodate the motivational role of normative judgment without facing this objection. For example, desire-as-belief theories do so, since such theories only say that some (...)
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  29. added 2018-10-16
    La lingua del fuori senso. [REVIEW]Fabio Vergine - 2015 - Il Lavoro Culturale 1.
    Discussione sul testo "Legge, desiderio, capitalismo. L'anti-Edipo tra Lacan e Deleuze" per "Il Lavoro culturale/ISSN 2384-9274".
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  30. added 2018-09-17
    Humean Nature: How Desire Explains Action, Thought, and Feeling, by Neil Sinhababu.Karl Schafer - 2018 - Mind 127 (507):919-928.
    Humean Nature: How Desire Explains Action, Thought, and Feeling, by Neil Sinhababu. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. ix + 224.
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  31. added 2018-08-26
    How Do You Like Me Now?Gerald Hull - manuscript
    These reflections are an attempt to get to the heart of the "reason is the slave of the passions" debate. The whole point of deliberation is to arrive at a choice. What factors persons find to be choice-relevant is a purely empirical matter. This has significant consequences for the views of Hume, Williams, Nagel, Parfit and Korsgaard regarding practical reason.
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  32. added 2018-08-02
    Moralische Motivation. Kant Und Die Alternativen.Heiner F. Klemme, Manfred Kuehn & Dieter Schönecker (eds.) - 2006 - Meiner Verlag.
    Kant und die Alternativen Heiner F. Klemme Manfred Kühn, Dieter Schönecker. H . Klemme / M. Kühn / D. Schönecker (Hg.) Moralische Motivation Kant und die Alternativen Meiner KANT-FORSCHUNGEN Begründet von Reinhard Brandt und ...
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  33. added 2018-08-01
    Practical Reason, Sympathy and Reactive Attitudes.Max Khan Hayward - 2017 - Noûs:51-75.
    This paper has three aims. First, I defend, in its most radical form, Hume's scepticism about practical reason, as it applies to purely self-regarding matters. It's not always irrational to discount the future, to be inconstant in one's preferences, to have incompatible desires, to not pursue the means to one's ends, or to fail to maximize one's own good. Second, I explain how our response to the “irrational” agent should be understood as an expression of frustrated sympathy, in Adam Smith's (...)
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  34. added 2018-07-30
    Towards an Ecumenical Theory of Normative Reasons.Caj Sixten Strandberg - 2018 - Dialectica 72 (1):69-100.
    A theory of normative reasons for action faces the fundamental challenge of accounting for the dual nature of reasons. On the one hand, some reasons appear to depend on, and vary with, desires. On the other hand, some reasons appear categorical in the sense of being desire‐independent. However, it has turned out to be difficult to provide a theory that accommodates both these aspects. Internalism is able to account for the former aspect, but has difficulties to account for the latter, (...)
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  35. added 2018-05-15
    Hume, Passion, and Action.Elizabeth S. Radcliffe - 2018 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    David Hume’s theory of action is well known for several provocative theses, including that passion and reason cannot be opposed over the direction of action. In Hume, Passion, and Action, the author defends an original interpretation of Hume’s views on passion, reason and motivation that is consistent with other theses in Hume’s philosophy, loyal to his texts, and historically situated. This book challenges the now orthodox interpretation of Hume on motivation, presenting an alternative that situates Hume closer to “Humeans” than (...)
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  36. added 2018-05-08
    Affective Experience, Desire, and Reasons for Action.Declan Smithies & Jeremy Weiss - 2019 - Analytic Philosophy 60 (1):27-54.
    What is the role of affective experience in explaining how our desires provide us with reasons for action? When we desire that p, we are thereby disposed to feel attracted to the prospect that p, or to feel averse to the prospect that not-p. In this paper, we argue that affective experiences – including feelings of attraction and aversion – provide us with reasons for action in virtue of their phenomenal character. Moreover, we argue that desires provide us with reasons (...)
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  37. added 2018-02-18
    Désir (Avancé).Federico Lauria - 2017 - Encyclopédie Philosophique.
    Les désirs sont centraux pour agir et être heureux. Qu’est-ce qu’un désir ? En quoi les désirs sont-ils importants ? Dans cette entrée, nous tenterons de mettre les mots sur cette expérience si familière et pourtant négligée par la philosophie contemporaine. (1) En guise de préliminaires, nous délimiterons notre objet d’étude à la lumière des principales distinctions entre les désirs et d’autres états mentaux tels que les croyances et intentions, ainsi qu’à l’aide des distinctions classiques parmi les désirs. (2) Notre (...)
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  38. added 2018-02-17
    Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 2.Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.) - 2007 - Oxford University Press UK.
  39. added 2018-02-17
    Hume, Reason and Morality: A Legacy of Contradiction.Sophie Botros - 2005 - Routledge.
    Covering an important theme in Humean studies, this book focuses on Hume's hugely influential attempt in book three of his _Treatise of Human Nature _to derive the conclusion that morality is a matter of feeling, not reason, from its link with action. Claiming that Hume's argument contains a fundamental contradiction that has gone unnoticed in modern debate, this fascinating volume contains a refreshing combination of historical-scholarly work and contemporary analysis that seeks to expose this contradiction and therefore provide a significant (...)
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  40. added 2018-02-17
    Desires, Whims and Values.Donald C. Hubin - 2003 - The Journal of Ethics 7 (3):315-335.
    Neo-Humean instrumentalists hold that an agent's reasons for acting are grounded in the agent's desires. Numerous objections have been leveled against this view, but the most compelling concerns the problem of "alien desires" - desires with which the agent does not identify. The standard version of neo-Humeanism holds that these desires, like any others, generate reasons for acting. A variant of neo-Humeanism that grounds an agent's reasons on her values, rather than all of her desires, avoids this implication, but at (...)
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  41. added 2018-01-24
    Review of Elijah Milgram Practical Induction. [REVIEW]Sarah Buss - 1999 - Philosophical Review 108 (4):571.
    I wish more books of philosophy were like this one. It is elegantly written. It is filled with provocative claims and ingenious arguments. It is a really good read, even while it forces us to rethink many of our assumptions about practical reason and practical reasoning, morality and agency.
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  42. added 2018-01-12
    Eliminating Prudential Reasons.Alex Worsnip - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics 8:236-257.
    I argue, contrary to the consensus of most contemporary work in ethics, that there are no (fundamentally, distinctively) prudential reasons for action. That is to say: there is no class of reasons for action that is distinctively and fundamentally about the promotion of the agent’s own well-being. Considerations to do with the agent’s well-being can supply the agent with reasons only in virtue of her well-being mattering morally or in virtue of her caring about her own well-being. In both of (...)
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  43. added 2018-01-11
    Promotion as Contrastive Increase in Expected Fit.Nathaniel Sharadin & Finnur Dellsén - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (5):1263-1290.
    What is required for an action to promote the satisfaction of a desire? We reject extant answers and propose an alternative. Our account differs from competing answers in two ways: first, it is contrastive, in that actions promote the satisfaction of desires only as contrasted with other possible actions. Second, it employs a notion of expected fit between desire and world, defined as the weighted sum of the fit between the desire and the world in all possible outcomes, where each (...)
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  44. added 2017-11-08
    Intentions and Intentionality.Matteo Bianchin - 2015 - Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche:43-54.
    Michael Thompson recently advanced a “naïve action theory” as an alternative to the “sophisticated” accounts of action displayed by ordinary folk psychology. In what follows I defend the plausibility of intentional psychology and folk psychological explanations. I do this in two ways. First I question that naïve explanations are more naïve than the ones provided by folk psychology and suggest that the latter are phenomenologically prior to the former. Second, I focus on the role of intentionality in deliberation and action (...)
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  45. added 2017-11-07
    A New Theory of Humean Reasons? A Critical Note on Schroeder's Hypotheticalism.Matthew Bedke - 2007 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (3):1-5.
  46. added 2017-11-03
    Under the Guise of the Good: Kant and a Tenet of Moral Rationalism.Stefano Bacin - 2018 - In Violetta L. Waibel, Margit Ruffing & David Wagner (eds.), Natur und Freiheit: Akten des XII. Internationalen Kant-Kongresses. de Gruyter. pp. 1705-1714.
    Both in historical debates and in recent discussions, the Guise of the Good Thesis represents a genuine dogma of rationalism in moral philosophy. Many influential commentators have maintained that Kant belongs in that camp, even that he “explicitly endorses” the Thesis. Attributing the Thesis to Kant, however, faces scarce textual support and amounts to a dubious understanding of the relationship of Kant’s moral philosophy to previous rationalist views. I suggest that, in Kant’s view, the Thesis only applies to the determination (...)
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  47. added 2017-11-03
    The Verdictive Organization of Desire.Derek Baker - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (5):589-612.
    Deliberation often begins with the question ‘What do I want to do?’ rather than the question of what one ought to do. This paper takes that question at face value, as a question about which of one’s desires is strongest, which sometimes guides action. The paper aims to explain which properties of a desire make that desire strong, in the sense of ‘strength’ relevant to this deliberative question. Both motivational force and phenomenological intensity seem relevant to a desire’s strength; however, (...)
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  48. added 2017-10-31
    The Scope of Motivation and the Basis of Practical Reason.Robert Audi - 1999 - Philosophic Exchange 29 (1).
    This paper explores the relationship between motivation, desire, pleasure and value. I argue that the motivational grounds of action are the kinds of desires that tend, in rational persons, to be produced both by experience of the good, and by beliefs that something one can do would be good.
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  49. added 2017-10-30
    The Thief of Time: Philosophical Essays on Procrastination.Chrisoula Andreou & Mark D. White (eds.) - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
  50. added 2017-10-08
    Intelligibility and the Guise of the Good.Paul Boswell - 2018 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 13 (1):1-31.
    According to the Guise of the Good, an agent only does for a reason what she sees as good. One of the main motivations for the view is its apparent ability to explain why action for a reason must be intelligible to its agent, for on this view, an action is intelligible just in case it seems good. This motivation has come under criticism in recent years. Most notably, Kieran Setiya has argued that merely seeing one’s action as good does (...)
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