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Desires as Functional Roles and Dispositions

Desires as Functional Roles and Dispositions - doesn’t...

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Desires as Functional Roles and Dispositions For Smith here, a functional role just is a bunch of dispositions: dispositions to act in certain ways given certain beliefs. Dispositions are clearly related to counterfactuals (statements about what I would do if …) but probably shouldn’t be identified with them. The dispositions all have a distinctive, mind-world direction of fit. Pro-Attitudes Smith is explicit (p.55) that distinguishing other states with a mind-world direction of fit from desires is not a deep objection (he considers hopes and wishes). His response is just to introduce the term ‘pro-attitude’ (from Davidson) and rephrase the Humean theory in terms of that. But he needs to be careful here. For if the claim is just that anything that gets one to act counts as a desire, then of course whenever we act there will be a desire. In fact Smith is surely not saying that. (Witness his response to the claim that there might be states with both directions of fit: he
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Unformatted text preview: doesn’t just conclude that such states would be desires. So he must think that desires have features that distinguish them from such states.) So we are left with the thought that desires have certain features (that makes the Humean theory non-trivial); and then we can ask whether every action is motivated by states that have those features. Smith assumes that they are, but that is far from obvious. One putative class of counter-examples that we have already mentioned is addictive and compulsive behavior. Perhaps Smith will say that this is not intentional behavior (that is controversial). Another class of putative counterexamples that we shall go on to consider at length is the class of intentions. Intentions have features that plausibly distinguish them from desires (for instance they are under our control in a way that desires are not, they have a different phenomenology); and yet they are plausibly motivating....
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