Posthumous Harm and Changing Desires

Utilitas 36 (2):115-129 (2024)
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Abstract

The desire-satisfactionist defense of the existence of posthumous harm faces the problem of changing desires. The problem is that, in some cases where desires change before the time of their objects, the principle underlying the desire-satisfactionist defense of posthumous harm yields implausible results. In his prominent desire-satisfactionist defense of posthumous harm, David Boonin proposes a solution to this problem. First, I argue that there are two relevantly different versions of the problem of changing desires, and that Boonin's proposed solution addresses only one of them. Second, I argue that modifying the underlying principle is a better approach to overcoming the problem of changing desires since it addresses both versions of the problem. I defend this approach against objections by showing that the problems raised are problems for the principle as a general theory of harm, not for the principle as part of the desire-satisfactionist defense of posthumous harm.

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Andrea S. Asker
Stockholm University

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References found in this work

Desire satisfactionism and hedonism.Chris Heathwood - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 128 (3):539-563.
The problem of defective desires.Chris Heathwood - 2005 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (4):487 – 504.
The Misfortunes of the Dead.George Pitcher - 1984 - American Philosophical Quarterly 21 (2):183 - 188.
Desires.Kris McDaniel & Ben Bradley - 2008 - Mind 117 (466):267-302.

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