Efforts and their feelings

Philosophy Compass 18 (1):e12894 (2022)
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Effort and the feeling of effort play important roles in many theoretical discussions, from perception to self-control and free will, from the nature of ownership to the nature of desert and achievement. A crucial, overlooked distinction within the philosophical and scientific literatures is the distinction between theories that seek to explain effort and theories that seek to explain the feeling of effort. Lacking a clear distinction between these two phenomena makes the literature hard to navigate. To advance in the unification and development of this area, this article provides an overview of the main theories of the nature of effort and the nature of the feeling of effort, and then discusses how efforts and their feelings are related. Two key takeaways emerge. First, there is widespread agreement that efforts are goal-directed actions. Second, one of the main philosophical issues to be decided is whether feelings of effort should be defined by reference to efforts (effort-first approach), or whether efforts are defined by reference to the feeling of effort (feeling-first approach).

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Author Profiles

Juan Pablo Bermúdez
Universidad Externado De Colombia
Olivier Massin
Université de Neuchâtel

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