In Defence of Mixed Feelings

Swiss Philosophical Preprints (2008)
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Mixed feelings occur when a same subject experience both pleasure and displeasure at the same time. I argued that mixed feelings are not only possible, but that they constitute a widespread phenomenon. In the first part, I answer to three objections against the possibility of mixed feelings, the most important one being that mixed feelings contradict the view that pleasure and displeasure are contraries. In the second part, I argue that pleasure in effort, the pleasure we take in doing things, is a widespread phenomenon that constitutes a case of mixed feeling of a special sort: a case where the displeasure grounds or explains the pleasure. I argue that none of the usual strategies of the enemies of mixed feelings for dealing with putative cases of mixed feelings (oscillation between pleasure and displeasure, rejection of one of the two feelings) achieves to deal with pleasure in effort.
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