The Nature of Desire

ISBN : 9780199370962

Julien Deonna; Federico Lauria
352 ページ
156 x 235 mm

Despite desire's universally understood significance, it has been largely omitted from recent philosophy of mind scholarship. This book's purpose is to redress the imbalance, and to bestow on desire the same level of inquiry as is frequently given to, for example, perception, belief, emotion, and intention. What are desires? According to 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 role in explaining action. According to a second influential approach, however, desire is first and foremost an evaluation: 'desiring' is representing something as good. Are desires motivational states, or are they evaluative states? The first section of the volume is devoted to these questions, and to the puzzle of desire's essence. The second part investigates some implications that the various conceptions of desire have on a number of fundamental issues. For example, why are inconsistent desires problematic? What is desire's role in practical deliberation? How do we know what we want? This volume will contribute to the emergence of a fruitful debate on a neglected, albeit crucial, dimension of the mind.


Julien Deonna & Federico Lauria, Introduction: Reconsidering some Dogmas about Desire

I. Conceptions of Desire
Evaluative Views: Desire and the Good
1. Graham Oddie, Desire and the Good: In Search of the Right Fit
2. Daniel Friedrich, Desire, Mental Force and Desirous Experience
Motivational Views: Desire and Action
3. Sabine A. Doring & Bahadir Eker, Desires without Guises: Why we Need Not Value what we Want
4. Maria Alvarez, Desires, Dispositions and the Explanation of Action
The Deontic Alternative: Desires, Norms and Reasons
5. Federico Lauria, The Guise of the Ought to Be. A Deontic View of the Intentionality of Desire
6. Olivier Massin, Desire, Values and Norms
7. Alex Gregory, Might Desires be Beliefs about Normative Reasons for Action?
Empirical Perspectives: Desire, the Reward System and Learning
8. Timothy Schroeder, Empirical Evidence against a Cognitivist Theory of Desire and Action
9. Peter Railton, Learning as an Inherent Dynamic of Belief and Desire

II. Desiderative Puzzles
10. David Wall, Desiderative Inconsistency, Moore's Paradox, and Norms of Desire
11. Fred Schueler, Deliberation and Desire
12. Lauren Ashwell, Introspection and the Nature of Desire


Julien A. Deonna is associate professor in philosophy at the University of Geneva and project leader at CISA, the Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences. His research interests are in the philosophy of mind, in particular the philosophy of emotions, moral emotions and moral psychology. In addition to many articles in the area, he is the co-author of In Defense of Shame (OUP, 2011) and The Emotions: a Philosophical Introduction (Routledge, 2012). He is the co-director of Thumos, the Genevan philosophy research group on emotions, values and norms.; Federico Lauria is a post-doctoral researcher at the Philosophy Department and Swiss Center for Affective Sciences of the University of Geneva and Visiting Scholar at New York University. He was recently Associate Researcher at Columbia University. His work is at the intersection of philosophy of mind, ethics, and aesthetics. More specifically, he is interested in issues in philosophy of desire and emotions, such as self-deception, musical emotions, and epistemic emotions, among others.