The Abductive Case for Humeanism over Quasi-Perceptual Theories of Desire

Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 8 (2):1-29 (2014)
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Abstract

A number of philosophers have offered quasi-perceptual theories of desire, according to which to desire something is roughly to “see” it as having value or providing reasons. These are offered as alternatives to the more traditional Humean Theory of Motivation, which denies that desires have a representational aspect. This paper examines the various considerations offered by advocates to motivate quasi-perceptualism. It argues that Humeanism is in fact able to explain the same data that the quasi-perceptualist can explain, and in one case the Humean explanation is superior. Quasi-perceptual accounts of desire, the paper concludes, are for the most part unmotivated.

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Derek Baker
Lingnan University

Citations of this work

Intelligibility and the Guise of the Good.Paul Boswell - 2018 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 13 (1):1-31.
How to keep up good appearances: Desire, imagination, and the good.Uku Tooming - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy 30 (3):1147-1160.
How Verbal Reports of Desire May Mislead.Alex Gregory - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (4):241-249.
Desires without Guises: Why We Need Not Value What We Want.Sabine Döring & Bahadir Eker - forthcoming - In Julien Deonna & Federico Lauria (eds.), The Nature of Desire. Oxford University Press.

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What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Slaves of the passions.Mark Andrew Schroeder - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The moral problem.Michael Smith - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.
Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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