Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

Are there passive desires?

Wall, D. (2009) Are there passive desires? Dialectica. 63(2), pp. 133-155. 0012-2017.

Item Type: Article
Abstract: What is the relation between desire and action? According to a traditional, widespread and influential view I call ‘The Motivational Necessity of Desire’ (MN) having a desire that p entails being disposed to act in ways you believe will bring about p. But what about desires like a desire that the committee chooses you without your needing to do anything, or a desire that your child passes her exams on her own? Such ‘self-passive’ desires are often given as a counter example to MN. If MN is true then self-passive desires seem absurd: if someone has a self-passive desire she will be disposed to act, thereby preventing her from getting what she desires. But it seems we can reasonably, and often do, have such desires. However, I argue that self-passive desires are not, in fact, counter-examples to MN: close consideration of the content of these desires, the contexts in which we ascribe them, and what is claimed by MN shows that they are not a problem for that view. I also argue that strengthened versions of the examples are unsuccessful, and I offer a diagnosis of why these kinds of case are commonly thought to raise a challenge to MN.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BD Speculative Philosophy > BD418.3 Philosophy of mind
Creators: Wall, David
Publisher: Blackwell
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > School of Social Sciences (to 2016)
Date: 2009
Date Type: Publication
Page Range: pp. 133-155
Journal or Publication Title: Dialectica
Volume: 63
Number: 2
Language: English
ISSN: 0012-2017
Status: Published / Disseminated
Refereed: Yes
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