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Naturalizing the content of desire


Schulte, Peter (2019). Naturalizing the content of desire. Philosophical Studies, 176(1):161-174.

Abstract

Desires, or directive representations, are central components of human and animal minds. Nevertheless, desires are largely neglected in current debates about the naturalization of representational content. Most naturalists seem to assume that some version of the standard teleological approach, which identifies the content of a desire with a specific kind of effect that the desire has the function of producing, will turn out to be correct. In this paper I argue, first, that this common assumption is unjustified, since the standard approach is in fact deeply problematic. Secondly, I propose an alternative account of the content of (basic) desires which, while generating plausible and determinate content ascriptions, avoids the main problem that plagues the standard approach, and is also preferable on other grounds.

Abstract

Desires, or directive representations, are central components of human and animal minds. Nevertheless, desires are largely neglected in current debates about the naturalization of representational content. Most naturalists seem to assume that some version of the standard teleological approach, which identifies the content of a desire with a specific kind of effect that the desire has the function of producing, will turn out to be correct. In this paper I argue, first, that this common assumption is unjustified, since the standard approach is in fact deeply problematic. Secondly, I propose an alternative account of the content of (basic) desires which, while generating plausible and determinate content ascriptions, avoids the main problem that plagues the standard approach, and is also preferable on other grounds.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Philosophy
Uncontrolled Keywords:Philosophy
Language:English
Date:1 January 2019
Deposited On:23 Oct 2019 13:15
Last Modified:21 Apr 2024 01:51
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0031-8116
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-017-1010-6