The problem of defective desires

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (4):487 – 504 (2005)
The desire-satisfaction theory of welfare says, roughly, that one's life goes well to the extent that one's desires are satisfied. On standard 'actualist' versions of the theory, it doesn't matter what you desire. So long as you are getting what you actually want – whatever it is – things are going well for you. There is widespread agreement that these standard versions are incorrect, because we can desire things that are bad for us -– in other words, because there are 'defective desires'. The aim of this paper is to defend the actualist desire-satisfaction theory against the problem of defective desires. I aim to show how the theory can accommodate the obvious fact that we can desire things that are bad for us. Admittedly, there are kinds of allegedly defective desire the theory cannot accommodate, but these desires, I argue, turn out not to be defective in the relevant way.
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DOI 10.1080/00048400500338690
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References found in this work BETA
John Rawls (2009). A Theory of Justice. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Philosophy and Rhetoric. Oxford University Press. pp. 133-135.

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Eden Lin (2014). Pluralism About Well‐Being. Philosophical Perspectives 28 (1):127-154.
Dale Dorsey (2013). Desire-Satisfaction and Welfare as Temporal. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (1):151-171.
Eden Lin (2016). The Subjective List Theory of Well-Being. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (1):99-114.

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