Desire, Practical Reason, and the Good

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Sergio Tenenbaum
Oxford University Press, 2010 - Philosophy - 251 pages
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Most philosophers working in moral psychology and practical reason think that either the notion of "good" or the notion of "desire" have central roles to play in our understanding of intentional explanations and practical reasoning. However, philosophers disagree sharply over how we are supposed to understand the notions of "desire" and "good," how these notions relate, and whether both play a significant and independent role in practical reason. In particular, the "Guise of the Good" thesis -- the view that desire (or perhaps intention, or intentional action) always aims at the good - has received renewed attention in the last twenty years. Can one have desire for things that the desirer does not perceive to be good in any, or form intentions to act in way that one does not deem to be good? Does the notion of good play any essential role in an account of deliberation or practical reason? Moreover, philosophers also disagree about the relevant notion of good. Is it a purely formal notion, or does it involve a substantive conception of the good? Is the primary notion, the notion of the good for a particular agent, or the notion of good simpliciter? Does the relevant notion of good make essential appeal to human nature, or would it in principle extend to all rational beings? While these questions are central in contemporary work in ethics, practical reason, and philosophy of action, they are not new; similar issues were discussed in the ancient period. This volume of essays aims to bring together "systematic" and more historically-oriented work on these issues.

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1 Introduction
2 A Partisans Guide to Socratic Intellectualism
3 Plato on the Desire for the Good
4 Aristotles NonTrivial NonInsane View that Everyone Always Desires Things under the Guise of the Good
5 Sympathy for the Devil
6 On the Guise of the Good
7 The Form of the Will
8 Goodness and Desire
9 Good and Good For
10 Aspects Guises Species and Knowing Something to Be Good

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About the author (2010)

Sergio Tenenbaum is Professor of Philosophy at University of Toronto.

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