Alien desires and Frankfurt's problem of identification

Erasmus Mayr

in Understanding Human Agency

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199606214
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731631 | DOI:
Alien desires and Frankfurt's problem of identification

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The third chapter discusses a crucial problem for the standard model's account of the right bearers of agential control; on the standard model, these bearers are normally identified with desires or intentions, by whose causal role the agent's control is supposed to be realized. However, Harry Frankfurt's so-called problem of identification shows that the agent's desires do not always express the agent's standpoint, but can, on the contrary, be obstacles to what he really wants from which he is alienated. Some attempts of solving this problem within the framework of the standard-model, in particular Frankfurt's own hierarchical model of the will, as well as Gary Watson's and David Velleman's proposals, are discussed and rejected.

Keywords: identification; alienation; Frankfurt; higher-order desires; standard-model; Watson; Velleman

Chapter.  12505 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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