Chapter

Emotions, Desires, and Reasons

Alan H. Goldman

in Reasons from Within

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199576906
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722288 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199576906.003.0003
Emotions, Desires, and Reasons

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Desires, like emotions and attitudes, are analyzed as cluster concepts. Prototypical desires consist in behavioral dispositions, pleasant thoughts, evaluative judgments, yearning sensations, and directions of attention. None of these is necessary or sufficient, but the absence of any renders a state less than prototypical as a desire. Emotions can make one act arationally or irrationally, in failing to act on one's reasons. If the emotion of depression removes motivation to act on one's reasons, this seems to be a problem for internalism, which holds that reasons depend on motivations. The cluster concept analysis helps to solve this puzzle by allowing that evaluative judgments, which remain despite depression, are proper parts of motivational states or desires. It also helps to show which desires generate reasons: those containing evaluative judgments reflective of deeper concerns, and coherent with other desires that such concerns generate.

Keywords: desires; emotions; attitudes; cluster concepts; evaluative judgments; depression

Chapter.  16244 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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