Irfan and I have had a bit of a reading project going.  We have been reading through Nomy Arpaly and Tim Schroeder’s IN PRAISE OF DESIRE (affectionately, “IPOD”).  I’m going to post some chapter or section summary/commentary here that is meant to more or less stand on its own (this helps me condense the material into clear essentials).  It is also meant as an invitation to read the book, or sections of it, and “get into the weeds” with us.  So here is (selective) summary/commentary for the IPOD Introduction (which, unlike many introductions, is substantive).


  1. The “modest goal” of the book is to present a moral psychology according to which acting for the right (moral) reasons (ARR) is nothing more than acting on the right (moral) intrinsic desires (ID).  Intuitively, the right desires are something like the desires for what is in fact good and right (and not, or not simply, desires for the good and the right that get it wrong about what the good and the right are).  What is in fact good or right is provided by the correct normative moral theory.  The book remains neutral on what this is (assuming, if only for the sake of running cases, that things like intrinsically desiring not to break promises will be among the right desires).
  2. The relevant underlying capacity to ARR is what it is to have a “good will.”  This is simply having the right ID.  It will sometimes be useful to talk about having a good will rather than ARR.
  3. By way of contrast, one might hold that being “oriented toward the right ends” (a plausible formal characterization of what it is to have a good will) is a matter of making correct judgments about the good and the right, where making such judgments does not constitute having the right intrinsic desires.
  4. They call their view “Spare Conativism” (SC).  This reflects not only a contrast with theories according to which evaluative or normative judgments (perhaps guided by our capacities for explicit reasoning) orient us toward the right ends, but also a contrast with theories according to which it is having desires (with the right content) that have various sorts of rational or reflective pedigrees (fitting in with second-order desires, being endorsed by judgments based on good reasoning) that makes for having a good will and acting on the right (moral) reasons.  Plain old ordinary ID does all of the work on the SC theory.
  5. Part of what will be defended is the idea that a part of acting for a reason (whether a good reason or a bad reason) – AR – is acting on or from one or more ID.  If AR is acting on one or more ID then it makes sense that ARR is simply acting on the right sorts of ID.
  6. This view of AR is closely related to the traditional Humean view that only desires move us to act – there is nothing else that plays the role that desires do, nothing else that, along with instrumental information, is the “springboard” of action.  In defending AR, Arpaly and Schroeder endorse a version of this view.
  7. Finally, the “less modest” goal of the book is to defend the desire-based view of moral psychology as a whole.  This goal is a little less clear to me, but I think the idea is simply that a broad range of puzzles and phenomena in moral psychology can be solved or explained on the basis of SC.  In the latter part of the book, they tackle such puzzles and phenomena.
  8. Comment1:  It is consistent with SC that evaluative and normative (moral) judgment plays some role in motivating action.  However, in accordance with their view of AR, such judgments could not be purely cognitive.  Moreover, since SC is simple conativism, I don’t think that the presence of such judgments in one’s psychology (or their rational genesis, if any) could be essential to having a good will or ARR.  I’m curious, though, what A&S have to say about moral judgment, reasoning to accurate moral judgment, and the place this has (or can have) in having a good will and ARR.  If it is not essential, what role is it capable of playing?
  9. Comment2:  One of the key things to be explained by a theory of AR is how what we think of as our “desires” (like the desire to stay in bed) can conflict with what we think of as our “judgment” about what is right or what is the best thing to do (get out of bed and go to work).  In principle, this could simply be a conflict between desires (on some broad sense of ‘desire’) but this would need to be elucidated.  But I take it that the theory of AR (and ARR) that they adopt has to buy into a view like this.

Please do give me feedback on whether this kind of summary/commentary is helpful/unhelpful, readable/not-very-readable, etc.  I want to try to post something that is useful (and that folks can ask brief and clear questions about) without necessarily reading along.  Though it is great if folks can do some reading along if they desire and have time.

8 thoughts on “IPOD “INTRODUCTION” (PP. 1-16)

  1. Michael,

    I want to quote this long passage from Terence Irwin’s Aristotle’s First Principles on “reason and desire” because I think it nicely captures the difficulty I have with Arpaly-Schroeder’s view, especially now that I’ve read the chapters of the book on what desire is and isn’t. Though there are some differences, the Humean view Irwin describes maps onto Arpaly-Schroeder’s, and the Aristotelian view that Irwin describes is a plausible rival, one that I don’t think A-S take seriously enough in the book.

    We might easily identify Aristotle’s view with the apparently similar claims of Hume, who also believes desire is necessary for motivation. Hume also believes that the faculty of desire is non-trivially unified; he does not define a desire or passion as whatever moves us to action, but argues that whatever moves us to action must satisfy the conditions that we antecedently know to be satisfied by desire and passion. Hume makes his claim non-trivial by insisting that every desire ultimately depends on a passion; a passion is, among other things, a tendency to pursue a certain type of object irrespective of any reasoning about it. This is part of what he means in calling a passion an “original existence,” and insisting that reason is and ought to be the slave of passion. He means to exclude the possibility that practical reason could move us to pursue some end for which we do not have some desire that is independent of any reasoning; and to this extent he severely restricts the scope of reasoning in motivation and action. [FN 12: At Treatise II.3.3, 415f, Hume makes clear the purely technical character of reason, by denying that reason can be an “original influence”; it is far less clear that Aristotle denies this. …]

    Aristotle also wants to restrict the scope of reason, but not in the same way. He insists that reason moves us only when it reasons for the sake of some end that is desired (De Anima, 433a22-25; Nic Ethics 1139a35-b4); but he refrains from the crucial Humean claim that the desire for this end must be a passion that is independent of reason. Unlike Hume, he can readily agree that motives originate in reason no less than in desire; but he requires them to be appropriate parts of a teleological explanation, and therefore to be suitably connected to the agent’s good. This connexion with the agent’s good implies the connexion with desire.[13] States that lack this sort of connexion are not appropriate parts of the formal account that describes the soul [=human psyche]. These claims about the unity of desire rest ultimately on Aristotle’s teleological conception of mental states; and to this extent the argument of the De Anima is both coherent and cumulative (pp. 333-334 in the first edition).

    [Footnote 13: In Hume’s view, we know whether or not we have passions, and what passions we have, directly, by introspection; and no limits can be assumed for their contents or objects or mutual relations. See Treatise II.1.2, 277.]

    One difference between Arpaly-Schroeder and Irwin’s Hume is that Arpaly-Schroeder (seem to) want to deny that “whatever moves us to action must satisfy the conditions that we antecedently know to be satisfied by desire and passion.” More precisely, they deny something like it: that whatever moves us to action is desired. But this is a detail. In general, the similarities between Arpaly-Schroeder and Irwin’s Hume are fairly clear and obvious.

    A basic problem with their view arises in the Introduction and then becomes much clearer in the chapters on the nature of desire. They open the book telling us, explicitly, that they want to defend a “conative” view by contrast with the sort of cognitivist view found in Plato and Aristotle (Plato and Aristotle are their examples, pp. 2-6). “Thus In Praise of Desire takes the side of Appetite in the long-standing philosophical dispute between Reason and Appetite [or Passion: see p. 2 n.7]” (p. 2).

    What I’m calling the “basic problem” has two related aspects.

    1. They don’t seem to appreciate the subtleties of an Aristotelian-type view. They’re right to say that Aristotle is paradigmatically a cognitivist, and I think Irwin is right to describe Aristotle’s cognitivism as he does. But Arpaly-Schroeder don’t deal at all with an Aristotelian-type cognitivism. Perhaps this is because there are no adequate defenses of such a view in the recent literature, but even if that were true, they owe us some engagement with the view, or some recognition that such a view is possible. I don’t see that they do.

    2. When they get to their positive account of desire in chapter 6, it becomes hard to see how the view they end up defending comports with the original intention of the book–to defend a conative view as against a cognitive one. To defend a distinctively cognitivist view, they’d have to characterize intrinsic desires in a way that makes clear that no intrinsic desire originates in reasoning, i.e., that it is an “original existence” in Hume’s sense, and that reason is not an “original influence” in Hume’s sense.

    Though I’m ignorant of much of the neuroscience they cite, I don’t see that they do this, and some of what they say is a bit confusing, since intrinsic desires end up being part of a brain-based “reward-punishment system,” and the role that “signals” play in this system is neither clearly cognitive nor conative.

    What determines whether a positive, neutral, or negative learning signal will be released in a creature capable of reward-and-punishment-based learning? There are two main parts to the answer. The first part is that the signal from the reward learning system is influenced by how the organism perceptually and cognitively represents the world to be…The second part of the explanation…involves a calculation (pp. 130, 133).

    Ultimately, I think this passage can probably be read in a way that ends up being indistinguishable from Irwin’s Hume above: the intrinsic desire is an “original existence” that gets triggered by perceptual-cognitive representations of the world, but is not itself constituted by or dependent on reasoning. But then, I’m back at issue (1).


  2. Irfan –

    Thanks for your response. I think it is a really good idea to articulate how an “Aristotelian” contrast view of (broadly practical) rationalization (and motivation) can go.

    I don’t fully understand what Aristotelian cognitivism is, but part of it seems to be that (intrinsic) desires can be produced by rational response (and explicit reasoning, even if, as A&S do, we construe explicit reasoning as an action and therefore as something done to satisfy desires). Such a rational process would be properly evaluated by whatever standards are inherent in that sort of rational response. A&S deny that intrinsic desires are rationalized (rather, we get new intrinsic desires through a process that is merely associational).

    But suppose they are wrong. One way this might go is by our having rational responses to sets of intrinsic desires constituted by having further intrinsic desires (perhaps intrinsically rather than instrumentally desiring that P better or more effectively realizes already-intrinsically-desired that Q – and the further-intrinsic-desires-producing rational mechanism I am speculating about is keyed to this result). So perhaps the relevant sort of rational response in effect measures (potential) new intrinsic desires by reference to antecedent intrinsic desires (and relevant instrumental information). That is a Humean-style normative theory of what to intrinsically desire (or of rationalizing intrinsic desire).

    However, I take it that a fully Aristotelian view would be a bit different. It would evaluate intrinsic desire in the relation to something like the teleologically-constituted good of the agent. Presumably, something other than intrinsic desire would “set” this as an end for an intrinsic-desire-forming element of human rational response. It would be natural, I think, for this to be set by our nature and not require any cognitive reasoning (or resulting judgment or other cognitive representation)… Perhaps, though, the cognition comes in as an input: it is because we cognitively grasp that this or that is the human good that we tend to get the objectively-correct output-intrinsic-desires for this sort of process. Color me skeptical on this third difference (that would be the heart of Aristotelian cognitivism about practical reasoning), but there it is.

    I agree that there are these three differences between A&S’s Humeanism and the Aristotelian view. And I agree that the Aristotelian view is not much dealt with in A&S’s book. It seems right that the formation of (additional) intrinsic desire has a function – it probably is not a random sort of “associational” process. Whether or not this process is rational (more like instrumentally rational action than like our heart beating) is another question. But we should not rule out the idea that a mental process “geared toward” relevant functional ends (whether this end is the more-efficient promotion of antecedent intrinsic desire or some functional end that constitutes human well-functioning or some aspect of it) is a teleological process that counts as rational. (I’m more skeptical of the specifically cognitive aspect of the Aristotelian view – presumably, involving some cognitive representation like “this is part of the human good” as an input and an intrinsic desire for the item thus judged as the output.)

    These are deep waters and I would welcome well-worked-out versions of any of these three aspects of an Aristotelian view.


    • There are two potentially important points about the Aristotelian view, at least as I understand it, that might affect both how we understand its relation to Hume / Arpaly-Schroeder and how we assess it overall.

      The first is that Aristotle does not deny that desires can be formed and lead us to act independently of reason. On his view, I can just get hungry, and desire to eat, and then grab the food in front of me without reason playing any role whatsoever — even an instrumental role (perception and imagination are enough to enable us to find means to these sorts of ends, on his view). In this respect, he seems to differ from some later Aristotelians, such as Aquinas, who thinks that while certain passions and appetites can and do arise in us independently of reason, none of them can lead us to act without some additional activity of reason, minimally the endorsement of the thought that the object of the appetite is really good and that pursuing it now is really good. So unlike Aquinas, Aristotle is not rejecting the Humean picture of desire, he is simply insisting that it is radically incomplete. Hence it will not do to object to the Aristotelian view by pointing to cases in which the Humean view seems to offer a satisfactory account; what the Humean has to do is to show not that desire is sometimes like Hume says it is, but that it is always like Hume says it is.

      The second point, which is, I think, more controversial on an interpretive level, is that Aristotle seems not to think that practical reason can get going and yield cognitively-based rational desires without there first being some non-rational desires and appearances of the good for reason to reflect on. Certainly his view of human development is that we all start out with non-rational desires of various sorts, shaped in various ways by our nature and our upbringing, and that none of us ever begins to reason from a motivationally empty point of view. The texts aren’t clear enough, but he may in fact think not simply that non-rational motivation necessarily precedes rational motivation in human development, but that rational motivation could not get off the ground without some antecedent non-rational motivation. This is one reason why some scholars even today maintain that his theory of practical reason is much closer to Hume’s than views like Irwin’s would allow (see esp. Jessica Moss’ recent book Aristotle on the Apparent Good). But even if we suppose that, for Aristotle, reasoning can’t generate any rational desires without beginning from what appears desirable to us on the basis of perception, imagination, and appetite, his view need not collapse into a Humean sort of view, and this for two reasons.

      First, because holding that reason is dependent on non-rational desire in this way does not entail that the role of reason is limited to working out the means, whether merely instrumental or constitutive, to our antecedent desires; even if I can only begin to reason about what is good for me on the basis of what appears desirable to me on a non-rational basis, it simply doesn’t follow that I cannot judge that, say, people who develop their understanding of geometry are doing something that cultivates the part of themselves that makes them who they are and are thereby better off in that respect, and that since I am like them in the relevant respect, it would be good for me to develop my understanding of geometry. On Aristotle’s view, there is simply no need to explain this judgment in terms of my finding something about geometry or intellectual cultivation that satisfies some antecedent and independent desire I have, and one of the most straightforward arguments against the Humean view is that it denies that I can form this kind of judgment in this way or be motivated by it if geometry or intellectual cultivation don’t somehow satisfy some desire that I already have; not only does this seem contrary to the phenomenology of reason and motivation, it also seems to require us to attribute desires to people that we have no other obvious reason to think that they have, so that the Humean view is less theoretically parsimonious than the Aristotelian view and posits the existence of things that we seem to have no sufficient reason to posit. That is, of course, hardly a knock-down argument against views in the Humean family, but it is, I think, a large part of what motivates the Aristotelian view (the other central phenomenon taken to support the Aristotelian view is the apparent reality of conflicts between reason and desire that cannot be plausibly construed as contingent conflicts between non-rational desires — essentially, Aristotle endorses the argument of Republic IV for the division of the soul into rational and non-rational elements; but this raises a more complicated set of issues).

      The second reason for thinking that Aristotle’s view doesn’t collapse into a Humean style theory is that he seems to already think of at least some non-rational desires as more cognitively rich than Hume does. Though the interpretive stuff is again problematic, he sometimes seems to think that pleasurable perception and imagination should be understood as the perception or imagination of something as good. In other words, even in the case of non-rational desires, Aristotle might hold that we want what we want because we find it good, where finding-good is a genuinely cognitive matter but not one that necessarily involves reason (this is one of the claims at the root of Moss’ book, though I think one can accept it without endorsing her other controversial theses). If this is right, then my earlier claim that Aristotle doesn’t so much reject Hume’s view as consider it radically incomplete might be mistaken. Though it remains true on this sort of interpretation that Aristotle distinguishes between rational and non-rational desires, the rational and the cognitive are not co-extensive. I’m not sure what to think about this view as an interpretation of Aristotle, but its distinction of the cognitive from the rational seems philosophically right on to my mind; there is at this point abundant empirical evidence that non-rational animals of many kinds are cognitively sophisticated, but that same evidence does not tell so clearly in favor of the idea that those animals engage in reasoning — that depends on what reasoning is, and it is at the very least plausible to think that animals can learn about their environments and devise clever means to their ends without engaging in any abstract conceptual reasoning. But the reason I think this point might have some bearing on the discussion here is that, whether or not we should endorse a strong distinction between the cognitive and the rational, failing to consider the distinction might lead to various sorts of unintended equivocation or confusion.

      Irwin, for what it’s worth, does not so clearly distinguish between the rational and the cognitive; in fact, he seems to think that for Aristotle all non-rational desire is non-cognitive, though it’s not clear whether he bases that conclusion solely on the non-rational character of those desires.

      A final suggestion: Aristotle might think that rational agents just as such have a basic rational desire to live well, where this is understood not in terms of some substantive conception of what living well is, but as a desire to live a life that is, as he puts it, “choiceworthy and lacking in nothing,” i.e., that contains enough of what is genuinely desirable to preclude the judgment that our lives are missing something crucial, and where all of one’s ends are organized in an orderly, harmonious way. It doesn’t seem crazy to think that a desire for one’s life as a whole to be satisfyingly harmonious and complete is a desire that stems from reason in the narrow sense of abstract conceptual thought, or that this desire cannot be reduced to non-rational desires to which it is an instrumental or constitutive means. Again, even if this rational desire could not yield any determinate content in the absence of all non-rational desires whatsoever, this wouldn’t collapse into a Humean sort of view. I don’t think it’s very plausible to suppose that reason can’t generate any desires with substantive content, but even if it didn’t, Aristotle’s thought that reason leads us to want order, harmony, and completeness in our lives would seem to give reason a role that couldn’t be straightforwardly reduced to finding the means to satisfy non-rational desires.


      • I don’t have a strong disagreement with anything you say (I’d have to think about it more), but logically, I think there’s a problem with this:

        So unlike Aquinas, Aristotle is not rejecting the Humean picture of desire, he is simply insisting that it is radically incomplete.

        But insisting that the Humean account is radically incomplete is rejecting it if Humeans are insisting that the Humean account is exhaustive. And they are. By “they” I mean both Arpaly-Schroeder and Hume himself.

        On Arpaly-Schroeder’s view, as far as I can see, there is no conceptual room for something like Aristotelian boulesis, even on the least controversial interpretation of what boulesis is supposed to be, i.e., the least common denominator of all reasonable interpretations. I am not entirely sure that boulesis can be cleanly translated into English, but boulesis and “besire” are close cousins, and there are no besires in the Arpaly-Schroeder ontology. A boulesis is an inherently rationalized desire. Forget the interpretive worries for a second, and just consider a generic Aristotelian view. On such a view, “non-rational desire” is more cognitively rich than Hume allows, and there is a species of desire that is inherently rationalized. But then, if the Humean insists that boulesis doesn’t exist, that there are no besires, and that non-rational desire is cognitively (not just rationally) impoverished, the two views are incompatible. Perhaps you can’t get this out of Aristotle, but it’s a recognizably Aristotelian view.

        A separate point, unrelated to the preceding: Arpaly-Schroeder insist that pure wishes (e.g., for impossibilities or things outside of our control) ought to be regarded as desires despite the impossibility of their figuring in any deliberation. So my “desire” for world peace or my “desire” that the planet exist forever are “desires” on par with my desire to eat lunch or desire to publish a paper some day in Mind. (I’m assuming that the latter is not impossible.) I’m inclined to think that it’s a mistake to put pure wishes in the same conceptual category as desires of the sort that motivate action toward achievable goals that play a role in deliberation. I’m curious what you (djr) think. (I already know what Michael thinks.)

        Incidentally: worth reading.


        • I don’t think there’s any logical problem with it, at least assuming that Aristotle’s account of (some) non-rational desires maps onto Hume’s. Sure, it might be misleading to say “he doesn’t reject the Humean account,” but notice that I don’t say that; I say that “he doesn’t reject the Humean account, he insists that it’s radically incomplete.” So I don’t think it’s unclear in the slightest what I’m saying here: he accepts (on one reading, anyway) that some desires are rightly understood in roughly the way Hume understands desire; what he insists is that not all desires are like that. Nothing you say is logically incompatible with that, and if it’s true that A.’s view of some non-rational desires (the appetites or epithumiai) is like Hume’s account of desire generally, then there is an important point to be made in saying that Aristotle doesn’t simply reject the Humean sort of account outright. The contrast with Aquinas shows that this is non-trivial.

          As for wishes and desire, I can’t defend any claims here, but Aristotle himself counts wishes for things that are beyond your control — even for things that are impossible — as bouleseis. He does, however, recognize that boulesis differs in this way from prohairesis, which often gets translated as “choice” or “decision” but which Aristotle himself describes as “deliberative desire” (bouleutikē orexis — roughly, I think, a desire that is the product of deliberation). This seems right to me; it seems more or less obvious that I can desire things that I know are beyond my control or impossible; granted that so long as I know that, I won’t be motivated to do anything to bring those things about, the undeniable affective power of such wishes strikes me as pretty strong reason to regard them as desires, and the frequency with which paradigmatic appetites are beyond our reach seems to be another. Think about sports fans; they want their teams to win, and some of the strongest emotions many people experience outside of traumatic events are connected with their teams winning or losing. So too, there is nothing odd about desiring that, say, some particular attractive person find you attractive and fall in love with you even when you know that you’re hideous and she is only into super athletic men. I don’t see any reason whatsoever to deny that these are desires. I would, however, agree that they are different in important ways from the motivations we acquire as a result of deliberation and that lead us to act so as to achieve them. In that sense, I’d agree that it’s a mistake to put pure wishes into the same conceptual category as desires of the sort that motivate action toward achievable goals; I just don’t think it’s the least bit mistaken to put them into the category of desire.


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  4. That definitely helps fill in my understanding of what an Aristotelian theory of desire and practical reason might look like.

    A couple of points…

    (1) I don’t think it is essential to SC that desires cannot be rationalized (though A&S do hold this). The ‘conativism’ part of SC would be violated if any of the intrinsic desires that go into making a good will depended on reason producing them via the (cognitive, doxastic) rationalization of some judgment of a form like ‘I ought to desire that P’ or ‘P is desirable’. For then reason would be “setting the ends” of action (via desires). Are the rational desires of the Aristotelian rationalized in this way? If so, in addition to clashing with SC, this goes against the Humean dictum that reason cannot “set ends” for action. (We should, I think, take “reason” here to include both explicit step-wise reasoning and responses that count as rational or “responding to reasons.”)

    (2) On any sensible view, some desires will depend on prior acts of (cognitive or doxastic) rationality insofar as the content of the desire (the concepts that make it up, how they are put together) depend on (cognitive or doxastic) rationality. But this is not reason “setting ends” for action.

    (3) Big point (proposal of sorts – speculative). I am sympathetic to the idea that intrinsic desires cannot be rationalized. We seem to lack the basic rational machinery for “concluding” a rational process by coming to have an intrinsic desire (say, on the basis of intrinsically desiring that P and doxastically-encoded information about how specifically intrinsically desiring that Q – not merely instrumentally desiring that Q – makes it more likely that P comes to pass). But there are some cases in which intrinsically desiring that Q makes it more likely that intrinsically-desired P will come to pass. I’m thinking of the kind of attitude-demands that society can make on one and one’s intrinsic desire for social approval, especially social approval that seems reasonable in light of achieving general social conditions of value to all – but there may be other cases of this general sort. In such cases, we might judge that Q is desirable or valuable (or, what comes to the same thing, that Q is an appropriate object of intrinsic desire) – and be constituted such that we tend to come to intrinsically desire that Q (I would think of this in terms of the belief causing the desire, not in terms of “besires”). Or we might simply become habituated or socialized into intrinsically desiring that Q with the judgment that Q is desirable or valuable playing no role. In either case, we are constituted in such a way as to form intrinsic desires from antecedent intrinsic desires in such a way that the output intrinsic desires tend to be valuable in light of antecedent intrinsic desires (and our psychological functional architecture and relevant circumstances). In doing so, we instantiate broad patterns of mental change that tend to achieve relevant aims (individually, a certain mature profile of intrinsic desires; socially, via enough others having the same or closely-related desires, general social conditions of benefit to all).

    (4) Smaller point (semantics?). We can certainly call such intrinsic desires appropriate (and their objects desirable or valuable). But we might call them rational too because we can, and often do, grasp the broadly instrumental connections in virtue of which they are appropriate and in light of which we do well to come to have them. It is worth noting that actions, despite not being the direct result of rationalization (efforts or intentions are the direct result), are characterized as rational or irrational. In the sorts of cases of interest to me here, the causal gap between the target property of the agent/thinker (intrinsically desiring that Q) and the directly rationalized result is bigger, so maybe this makes a difference. However, the choice of description here (valuable intrinsic desire, rational intrinsic desire) may be optional or determined by context.

    (5) Smaller point (non-Humean-style desirability). The same broad sort of picture works on a non-Humean view of desirability or value (including a proper-functional, Aristotelian one). And, whatever your view of desirability or value, if one or more of the desires that constitute having a good will depends on prior doxastic rationalization and judgment (regarding what is desirable or valuable), then SC is false – at least in spirit. A&S might keep the spirit of SC alive by arguing that desire still does all of the work in making for a good will, but if, realistically, some of the desires can be had only through proper rationalization and correct judgment, then the claim that “desire is doing all of the work” rings rather hollow. Also, as far as our intuitions go, it is not clear that a person with normally-indirectly-rationalized right intrinsic desires “implanted” in them (say, by super-advanced alien scientists) might not count as having a fully good will.


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