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The Nature of Desire - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Nature of Desire

Julien A. Deonna and Federico Lauria


Desire plays a pivotal role in our lives. Yet in recent times, it has not been a central topic in the philosophy of mind. The aim of this book is to redress this imbalance. What are desires? According to a dogma, desire is a motivational state: desiring is being disposed to act. This conception aligns with the functionalist approach to desire and the standard account of desire’s direction of fit and of its role in explaining action. According to a second influential approach, however, desire is first and foremost an evaluation: desiring is representing something as good. This is in line with t ... More

Keywords: desire, motivational theory, evaluative theory, guise of the good, action explanation, deontic theory, reward system, inconsistent desires, deliberation, self-knowledge

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780199370962
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199370962.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Julien A. Deonna, editor
Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Geneva

Federico Lauria, editor
Postdoctoral Researcher, Philosophy Department, University of Geneva

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Federico Lauria and Julien A. Deonna

Part I Conceptions of Desire

Evaluative Views: Desire and the Good

Motivational Views: Desire and Action

Chapter 3 Desires without Guises

Sabine A. Döring and Bahadir Eker

The Deontic Alternative: Desires, Norms, and Reasons

Empirical Perspectives: Desire, the Reward System, and Learning

Part II Desiderative Puzzles

End Matter