What is the attitude of desire?

Philosophical Psychology (forthcoming)
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I defend a view of the attitude of desire against a close rival. Both views are versions of “the guise of the good” thesis. The guise of the good says that a desire for P involves P appearing good in some respect. I defend a content-based account of value appearances against an attitude-based account. On the content view, a desire for P represents P as good while the attitude of that desire presents P’s value as true. In other words, a desire for P presents it as true that P is good. The attitude view says that a desire represents P non-evaluatively while the attitude of that desire presents P as good. In other words, a desire for P presents P as good. The attitude view struggles to explain the relationship between the qualitative character of desires and appearances of value. It must either implausibly deny that there is a close relationship between the two, or explain the relationship by introducing a poorly motivated, revisionist mental ontology. In the present state of the debate between the two views, this problem tips the scales in favor of the content view.



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Kael McCormack
University of Antwerp

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The authority of affect.Mark Johnston - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (1):181-214.

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