A puzzle for evaluation theories of desire

Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (2):90-98 (2021)
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How we evaluate things and what we desire are closely connected. In typical cases, the things we desire are things that we evaluate as good or desirable. According to evaluation theories of desire, this connection is a very tight one: desires are evaluations of their objects as good or as desirable. There are two main varieties of this view. According to Doxastic Evaluativism, to desire that p is to believe or judge that p is good. According to Perceptual Evaluativism, to desire that p is to perceive p as being good (or for p to seem good). The present paper poses a puzzle for such views. The puzzle should be familiar to theorists interested in the normativity and metaphysics of the emotions, but I am unaware of its application to desire. The aim of the present paper is to present the puzzle as it applies to desire, which should be of independent interest, but I also hope that by shining a light on the puzzle in this domain, we might put ourselves in a better position to offer a solution in all cases. At the end of the paper, I gesture towards a promising way ahead that departs from relying on contradictory contents.
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