Saturday, November 5, 2011

Derek Parfit --- Objective Theories and unfree desires

Parfit provides an unilluminating distinction between subjective and objective theories:
On many subjective theories, the strength of the these reasons depends on the strength of these desires or on our preferences.  On objective theories, the strength of these reasons depends instead on how good, or worth achieving, the fulfilment of these desires would be. Many of us often have stronger desires for what would be less worth achieving."(pg. 95)
Is this guy my Sunday School teacher?

He then reiterates the tired formula that we do not choose what we desire etc....; this was known in the 19th century as the "law of motivation", at least is was for Schopenhauer.   He say "we can choose which desires to adopt as aims, and try to fulfil."  What makes him think this??

The book reads like he's writing right off the top of his head, which is not a good thing in this case.

"Our desires are rational, I have claimed, when we want events whose features give us reasons to want them.  Our desires are not rational, and are in the old phrase contrary to reason, when we want some event that we have reasons not to want..."(pg. 105)

Page after page of stuff I could get from my mennnonite friends -- and they are my good friends.

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