Desires, Their Objects, and the Things Leading to Pursuit

Duane Long
University at Buffalo
I offer a novel analysis of the relations between Aristotle’s three species of desire - appetite, temper, and wish - and the three things he says in EN 2.3 lead to pursuit - the pleasant, the beneficial, and the noble. It has long been tempting to think that these trios line up with one another in some way, ideally relating their members in one-to-one fashion. One account, by John Cooper, has gathered prominent adherents, but other authors, notably Giles Pearson, have argued we should give up on even trying to correlate the two trios. I attempt to show that the two trios do relate in interesting ways, but not in a way that correlates their members in a one-to-one fashion. Instead, I argue that both appetite and temper are ultimately for the pleasant, while all things that an agent takes as objects of wish are conceived of as either pleasant, beneficial, or noble. This account conflicts with a dominant understanding of the species of desire as differentiated by their objects. I reply defend the view by showing that there is a second criterion for differentiating the species of desire.
Keywords Species of Desire  Correlative Objects  Aristotle  Pursuit  Avoidance
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