The Significance of Desire
David O. Brink
University of California, San Diego; University of San Diego School of Law
Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Vol. 3, 2007
San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 07-70
This article examines the role of desire in conceptions of practical reason and the human good. After reconstructing various historically influential rationales for assigning desire an important role in conceptions of practical reason and value, I argue that desire cannot play a genuinely foundational role in such conceptions. Instead, I articulate an alternative perfectionist conception of practical reason and the human good that appeals to our nature as agents and assigns significance not to desire per se, but to reflectively endorsed desire, choice, or will. I conclude by exploring different perfectionist models for weighing the significance of the fact of choice against the content of choice.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 58
Keywords: desire, good, instrumentalism, internalism, normativity, perfectionism, personal good, pluralism, practical reason, value, welfare, well-being
JEL Classification: 700, K1, K10Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 8, 2006
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