Autonomy, Value, and Conditioned Desire

American Philosophical Quarterly 32 (1):57 - 69 (1995)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Conditioning can produce desires that seem to be outside of--or “alien” to--the agent. Desire-based theories of welfare claim that the satisfaction of desires creates prudential value. But the satisfaction of alien desires does not seem to create prudential value. To explain this fact, we need an account of alien desires that explains their moral status. In this paper I suggest that alien desires are desires that would be rational if the person believed something that in fact she believes is false. Such desires could be produced by mental representations--or “quasi-beliefs”--with contents that conflict with the contents of one’s beliefs. The postulation of quasi-beliefs is plausible, for they explain important empirical facts about our behavior--facts that are difficult if not impossible to explain otherwise. Alien desires, I argue, involve quasi-beliefs with contents that conflict with the contents of regular beliefs. This theory provides the distinction between alien and authentic desires that desire-based theories of welfare need.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2015-11-21
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Agency and Inner Freedom.Michael Garnett - 2017 - Noûs 51 (1):3-23.
Taking the Self Out of Self-Rule.Michael Garnett - 2011 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (1):21-33.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
272 ( #16,530 of 50,320 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
24 ( #25,123 of 50,320 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.