Paradoxical Desires

Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 119 (3):335-355 (2019)
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I present a paradoxical combination of desires. I show why it's paradoxical, and consider ways of responding. The paradox saddles us with an unappealing trilemma: either we reject the possibility of the case by placing surprising restrictions on what we can desire, or we deny plausibly constitutive principles linking desires to the conditions under which they are satisfied, or we revise some bit of classical logic. I argue that denying the possibility of the case is unmotivated on any reasonable way of thinking about mental content, and rejecting those desire-satisfaction principles leads to revenge paradoxes. So the best response is a non-classical one, according to which certain desires are neither determinately satisfied nor determinately not satisfied. Thus, theorizing about paradoxical propositional attitudes helps constrain the space of possibilities for adequate solutions to semantic paradoxes more generally.

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Ethan Jerzak
National University of Singapore


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