Making desires satisfied, making satisfied desires

Philosophical Studies 180 (3):979-999 (2023)
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In this paper, I explore a fundamental but under-appreciated distinction between two ways of understanding the desire-satisfaction theory of well-being. According to proactive desire satisfactionism, a person is benefited by the acquisition of new satisfied desires. According to reactive desire satisfactionism, a person can be benefited only by the satisfaction of their existing desires. I first offer an overview of this distinction. I then canvass several ways of developing a general formulation of desire satisfactionism that would capture the reactive view, and argue that all come with significant costs.

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Alexander Dietz
University of Southern California (PhD)


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