Belief, Desire, and Giving and Asking for Reasons

Belief, Desire, and Giving and Asking for Reasons We adjudicate a recent dispute concerning the desire theory of well-being. Stock counterexamples to the desire theory include “quirky” desires that seem irrelevant to well-being, such as the desire to count blades of grass. Bruckner (2016) claims that such desires are relevant to well-being, provided that the desirer can characterize the object in such a way that makes it clear to others what attracts the desirer to it. Lin (2016) claims that merely being attracted to the object of one’s desire should be sufficient for it to be relevant to one’s well-being. The capacity to characterize the desire as Bruckner requires does no work in the explanation of the welfare-relevance of the desire, Lin claims, especially since Lin’s account and Bruckner’s account are extensionally equivalent. In response, we provide a conceptual analysis of desire based on conceptual role semantics. Our analysis shows the plausibility of and motivation for Bruckner’s account. As well, it shows that the extensional equivalence of the accounts is no accident, but due to what it is to have a desire. Lin has not succeeded in providing an alternative to Bruckner’s account, but merely reformulated it, though in an illuminating way that supports Bruckner’s original case. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophia Springer Journals

Belief, Desire, and Giving and Asking for Reasons

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Philosophy; Philosophy, general; Epistemology; Ethics; Philosophy of Language; Philosophy of Mind; Philosophy of Science
ISSN
0048-3893
eISSN
1574-9274
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11406-017-9922-0
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

We adjudicate a recent dispute concerning the desire theory of well-being. Stock counterexamples to the desire theory include “quirky” desires that seem irrelevant to well-being, such as the desire to count blades of grass. Bruckner (2016) claims that such desires are relevant to well-being, provided that the desirer can characterize the object in such a way that makes it clear to others what attracts the desirer to it. Lin (2016) claims that merely being attracted to the object of one’s desire should be sufficient for it to be relevant to one’s well-being. The capacity to characterize the desire as Bruckner requires does no work in the explanation of the welfare-relevance of the desire, Lin claims, especially since Lin’s account and Bruckner’s account are extensionally equivalent. In response, we provide a conceptual analysis of desire based on conceptual role semantics. Our analysis shows the plausibility of and motivation for Bruckner’s account. As well, it shows that the extensional equivalence of the accounts is no accident, but due to what it is to have a desire. Lin has not succeeded in providing an alternative to Bruckner’s account, but merely reformulated it, though in an illuminating way that supports Bruckner’s original case.

Journal

PhilosophiaSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 31, 2017

References

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