Desire and the Good: in search of the right fit

In Deonna J. & Lauria F. (eds.), The Nature of Desire. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)

Authors
Graham Oddie
University of Colorado, Boulder
Abstract
I argue for an evaluative theory of desire—specifically, that to desire something is for it to appear, in some way or other, good. If a desire is a non-doxastic appearance of value then it is no mystery how it can rationalize as well as cause action. The theory is metaphysically neutral—it is compatible with value idealism (that value reduces to desire), with value realism (that it is not so reducible), and with value nihilism (all appearances of value are illusory). Despite this metaphysical neutrality the thesis opens up an epistemological gold mine. Non-doxastic value appearances can provide defeasible reasons for value judgements, in roughly the same way that perceptual appearances provide defeasible reasons for perceptual judgements. The paper presents a new line of argument for the evaluative theory—drawing on recent work on fitting attitudes—and rebuts some of the most pressing criticisms.
Keywords Desire  Value  Fitting attitudes
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