Reflective blindness, depression and unpleasant experiences

Analysis 79 (4):684-693 (2019)
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This paper defends a desire-based understanding of pleasurable and unpleasant experiences. More specifically, the thesis is that what makes an experience pleasant/unpleasant is the subject having a certain kind of desire about that experience. I begin by introducing the ‘Desire Account’ in more detail, and then go on to explain and refute a prominent set of contemporary counter-examples, based on subjects who might have ‘Reflective Blindness’, looking particularly at the example of subjects with depression. I aim to make the Desire Account more persuasive, but also to clear up more widespread misunderstandings about depression in metaethics. For example, mistakes that are made by conflating two of depression’s most prominent symptoms: depressed mood and anhedonia.



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Elizabeth Ventham
University of Salzburg

Citations of this work

Depression as a Disorder of Consciousness.Cecily Whiteley - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.

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References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
The sources of normativity.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Onora O'Neill.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
The Sources of Normativity.Christine Korsgaard - 1999 - Philosophical Quarterly 49 (196):384-394.
Reasons and the Good.Roger Crisp - 2006 - Oxford, GB: Clarendon Press.

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