Visiting Speakers

Prof. Neil Sinhababu, National University of Singapore

Friday, Dec. 2, 2011, 3:30 p.m. Location: Copland Hall room 246.

Desire, Action, and Pleasure

I offer an account of desire on which it has two essential properties (1) motivating action when combined with a means-end belief and (2) generating experiences of pleasure and displeasure when we vividly imagine the presence or absence of what we desire, or discover that it is more or less likely to come about. Desire does several other things, like directing our attention and becoming more violent when we are faced with vivid images of what we desire, but these are psychological laws about it rather than essential properties of desire. I consider and argue against Tim Schroeder's view that desire is a natural-kind term whose hidden essence is constituted by the reward system.