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Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 151–171 | Cite as

Desire-satisfaction and Welfare as Temporal

  • Dale Dorsey
Article

Abstract

Welfare is at least occasionally a temporal phenomenon: welfare benefits befall me at certain times. But this fact seems to present a problem for a desire-satisfaction view. Assume that I desire, at 10am, January 12th, 2010, to climb Mount Everest sometime during 2012. Also assume, however, that during 2011, my desires undergo a shift: I no longer desire to climb Mount Everest during 2012. In fact, I develop an aversion to so doing. Imagine, however, that despite my aversion, I am forced to climb Mount Everest. Does climbing Mount Everest benefit me? If so, when? A natural answer seems to be that if in fact it does benefit me, it benefits me at no particular time, and hence the desire-satisfaction view cannot accommodate the phenomenon of temporal welfare. In this paper, I argue, first, that a desire-satisfaction view can accommodate the phenomenon of temporal welfare only by accepting what I call the “time-of-desire” view: that p benefits x at t only if x desires p at t. Second, I argue that this view can be defended from important objections.

Keywords

Welfare Desire-satisfaction Time 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I wish to thank Chris Heathwood, Jason Raibley, Ben Bradley, Rebecca Stangl, Alex Sarch, Uri Leibowitz, and audiences at the 2011 APA Pacific Division and the 2011 Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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