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Desire as BeliefA Study of Desire, Motivation, and Rationality$
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Alex Gregory

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780198848172

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198848172.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 September 2021



(p.94) 5 Irrationality
Desire as Belief

Alex Gregory

Oxford University Press

This chapter replies to one common objection to desire-as-belief: that it makes poor sense of practical irrationality such as akrasia. This objection to desire-as-belief is closely related to two others: the worry that we sometimes desire to do things without believing we have reason to pursue them, and the worry that we sometimes believe we have reason to pursue things without desiring to do them. The chapter offers a series of complementary responses to these objections: that our beliefs can be irrational, that some of what we say about our desires is misleading, and that we might fail to be motivated by our desires. Between these factors, it is doubtful that such objections succeed. The chapter finishes with a brief aside on second-order desires, and concludes that they are of little relevance to the occurrence of akrasia.

Keywords:   irrationality, akrasia, weakness of will, second-order desires, motivation

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