The Myth of Objectively Alien Desires

  • James Stacey Taylor
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 110)

abstract

Since Harry Frankfurt’s seminal 1971 paper ‘Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person,’ philosophers of mind and action have been concerned to distinguish those desires that a person identifies with from those that are alien to her. Frankfurt’s original attempt to distinguish desires that a person identified with from those that were alien to her was a purely attitudinal account of identification. This first attempt by Frankfurt has been heavily criticized, with the most pressing criticism being the Regress-cum-Incompleteness objection. Owing to the force of this criticism, those concerned with providing an account of identification turned to developing structurally-based accounts of identification that focus on the structural relationships that such desires hold to other elements of her mental economy. In this paper, I will argue that this move is mistaken. However, my aim in this paper is not merely the negative one of seeking to show that structural analyses of identification are likely to fail. If I am right that none of the most prominent objective criteria succeeds in distinguishing those desires that a person identifies with from those that she is alienated from, then an adequate analysis of identification must be attitudinally based. I sketch what one such account will look like at the close of this paper.

Keywords

Alien Autonomy Decision Desire Identification 

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Stacey Taylor

There are no affiliations available

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