Philosophers' Imprint 22 (2022)
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In this paper, we present two puzzles involving desire reports concerning series of events. What does a person want to happen in the first event ā€“ is it the event with the highest expected return, or the event that is the initial part of the best series? We show that existing approaches fail to resolve the puzzles around this question and develop a novel account of our own. Our semantics is built around three ideas. First, we propose that desire ascriptions are evaluated relative to a contextually supplied set of propositions, or alternatives. The semantic value of an ascription ā€˜S wants pā€™ is determined by S's preference ordering over these alternatives. Second, we propose that desire reports carry a requirement to the effect that the prejacent of the ascription must be suitably related to the background set of alternatives. Finally, we suggest that desire reports carry a dominance condition concerning the subject's ranking of the alternatives. Overall, we argue that our theory provides us with an elegant resolution of our puzzles, and yields a promising approach to desire.

Author Profiles

Kyle H. Blumberg
Australian Catholic University
John Hawthorne
Australian Catholic University


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