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Kinds of ReasonsAn Essay in the Philosophy of Action$
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Maria Alvarez

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199550005

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199550005.001.0001

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Desires and Motivating Reasons

Desires and Motivating Reasons

Chapter:
(p.90) 4 Desires and Motivating Reasons
Source:
Kinds of Reasons
Author(s):

Maria Alvarez (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199550005.003.0005

This chapter examines and rejects the idea that desires are motivating reasons, whether we focus on bodily appetites or on rational desires, and whether we think of a desire as what is desired, or as our desiring something. It is argued that what is desired is a goal or purpose for the sake of which someone acts, which can also be the intention in acting, and the starting point in practical reasoning. Thus, what is desired can motivate us to act—but it motivates as a goal rather than as a reason. On the other hand, it is further argued, someone's desiring something is not what motivates that person to act—rather, desiring something is being motivated to act. If this is right, then the question remains what our reasons for acting are, which is answered in the following chapter.

Keywords:   desires, Anscombe, reasons, goals, practical reasoning, motivation, mental states, explanation

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