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Moral Writings$
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H. A. Prichard and Jim MacAdam

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199250196

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199250197.001.0001

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The Object of a Desire

The Object of a Desire

Chapter:
(p.253) 11. The Object of a Desire
Source:
Moral Writings
Author(s):

H. A. Prichard

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199250197.003.0011

Concerning the nature of desires that pertain to actions, considers the view that we cannot desire something unless we know or think, first, that it does not exist, and second, that it does not exist now. Finds a core of truth in this, but modifies the formula to claim that ‘we can only desire the existence of that of the existence of which in the past, present, or future, as the case may be, we are uncertain.’ Put more simply, a desire is not a desire for the existence of something, but rather a desire for something to be (or to have been, or to be going to be). It follows from this view that we cannot desire something to be the case when we think that, without a doubt, it will be the case.

Keywords:   action, desire, doubt, existence, future, past, present

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