The Feeling‐Tone of Desire and Aversion

Henry Sidgwick

in Essays on Ethics and Method

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780198250234
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598432 | DOI:

Series: British Moral Philosophers

 The Feeling‐Tone of Desire and Aversion

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Taking as his target H. R. Marshall's view that the quality or ‘feeling‐tone’ of desire, aversion, and suspense is always painful, Sidgwick maintains that the feelings of desire and aversion are often either neutral or pleasurable. Desire, in particular is most often pleasurable, not painful. Sidgwick suggests that: (1) Marshall's definition of desire differs from the standard notion; (2) Owing to the resemblance between desire and pain, there is a tendency to confuse the two; (3) Opponents like Marshall are apt to consider only special cases of desire in which desire is very prominent and then, indeed, painful; and (4) The proposition that desire is painful is more true for some persons than for others given the differences in people's susceptibilities.

Keywords: aversion; desire; feeling; pain; pleasure; quality; Sidgwick

Chapter.  4352 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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