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Title: Desire and practical rationality
Author: Shaw, Ashley
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Many of our desires spontaneously arise within us without prior decision or deliberation. Their presence exerts an in uence on us, shaping our perspective and informing our decisions about what to do. This thesis starts by bringing a problem into view, one concerning how to explain the rational significance of such desires and the role they play in guiding rational action. It is often taken for granted that such desires can contribute to what it is rational for one to do. Yet predominant philosophical accounts of desire fail to provide a satisfying explanation of how such desires matter to practical rationality. Existing accounts of desire have centralised aspects of desire that might be enlisted to explain the rational significance of desire. These include their connection to motivation, affect and evaluation. These existing accounts, I argue, either fail to capture the contribution that such desires can make to rational agency, or threaten to leave us with a distorted and overly intellectualised account of desire. I develop an account of such desires as serving to attune us to our reasons for action. I motivate the view that our conative system is part of our overall competence to recognise and respond to normative reasons for action in virtue of their biological function. The result will be an account on which desires are part of our capacity to respond rationally to our normative reasons for action.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available