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The Moral Skeptic$
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Anita M. Superson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195376623

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195376623.001.0001

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Deformed Desires

Deformed Desires

(p.63) 4 Deformed Desires
The Moral Skeptic

Anita M. Superson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that since the formal version of expected utility theory does not exclude desires deformed by patriarchy as irrational, the traditional picture of the skeptic who adopts this theory runs the risk of recapitulating women's oppression in the emergent moral code, and threatens a satisfactory defeat of skepticism. The chapter examines some traditional informed desire tests, and argues that they ultimately fail to exclude deformed desires as irrational. It proposes an additional condition of rationality, according to which the agent recognizes herself as having intrinsic worth. Narrowing the skeptic's position by excluding deformed desires from any theory of rational choice the skeptic is assumed to adopt helps to achieve a satisfactory defeat of action skepticism.

Keywords:   condition of rationality, deformed desires, expected utility, informed desire tests, intrinsic worth, oppression, skepticism

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