In Federico Lauria & Julien Deonna (eds.), The Nature of Desire
. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 352 (2017
How are we to understand the intentionality of desire? According to the two classical views, desire is either a positive evaluation or a disposition to act. This essay examines these conceptions of desire and argues for a deontic alternative, namely the view that desiring is representing a state of affairs as what ought to be. Three lines of criticism of the classical pictures of desire are provided. The first concerns desire’s direction of fit, i.e. the intuition that the world should conform to our desires. The second concerns the “death of desire” principle, i.e. the intuition that one cannot desire what one represents as actual. The last pertains to desire’s role in psychological explanations, i.e. the intuition that desires can explain motivations and be explained by evaluations. Following these criticisms, three positive arguments in favor of the deontic conception are sketched.