Ambivalent desires and the problem with reduction

Philosophical Studies 150 (1):37-47 (2010)
Authors
Derek Baker
Lingnan University
Abstract
Ambivalence is most naturally characterized as a case of conflicting desires. In most cases, an agent’s intrinsic desires conflict contingently: there is some possible world in which both desires would be satisfied. This paper argues, though, that there are cases in which intrinsic desires necessarily conflict—i.e., the desires are not jointly satisfiable in any possible world. Desiring a challenge for its own sake is a paradigm case of such a desire. Ambivalence of this sort in an agent’s desires creates special problems for the project of reducing all facts about an agent’s desires to facts about his or her preferences over options. If this reductive project fails, there is reason to suspect that the Decision Theory cannot give us a complete theory of Humean rationality.
Keywords Ambivalence  Desires  Preferences  Practical Rationality  Decision Theory  Humeanism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-009-9396-4
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

On Conditionals.Dorothy Edgington - 1995 - Mind 104 (414):235-329.
Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685-700.
The Humean Theory of Motivation.Michael Smith - 1987 - Mind 96 (381):36-61.
Attitudes and Contents.Simon Blackburn - 1988 - Ethics 98 (3):501-517.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Horror and Hedonic Ambivalence.Matthew Strohl - 2012 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 70 (2):203-212.
The Openness of Attitudes and Action in Ambivalence.Hili Razinsky - 2015 - South African Journal of Philosophy 34 (1):79-92.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Problem of Defective Desires.Chris Heathwood - 2005 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (4):487 – 504.
Prudence and the Reasons of Rational Persons.Duncan MacIntosh - 2001 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (3):346 – 365.
A Puzzle About Desire.Chase Wrenn - 2010 - Erkenntnis 73 (2):185-209.
Are There Passive Desires?David Wall - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (2):133-155.
Desires, Reasons, and Causes. [REVIEW]Stephen Darwall - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2):436–443.
The Desires of Others.Berislav Marušić - 2010 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (3):385-400.
Desires as Additional Reasons? The Case of Tie-Breaking.Attila Tanyi - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 152 (2):209-227.
On Essentially Conflicting Desires.Patricia Marino - 2009 - Philosophical Quarterly 59 (235):274-291.
Humean Instrumentalism and the Motivational Capacity of Reason.Patrick Yarnell - 2002 - Journal of Philosophical Research 27:499-509.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-03-28

Total downloads
213 ( #25,029 of 2,296,138 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
14 ( #34,087 of 2,296,138 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature