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Desire and Practical Rationality

Shaw, Ashley; (2019) Desire and Practical Rationality. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Many of our desires spontaneously arise within us without prior decision or deliberation. Their presence exerts an in uence on us, shaping our perspective and informing our decisions about what to do. This thesis starts by bringing a problem into view, one concerning how to explain the rational significance of such desires and the role they play in guiding rational action. It is often taken for granted that such desires can contribute to what it is rational for one to do. Yet predominant philosophical accounts of desire fail to provide a satisfying explanation of how such desires matter to practical rationality. Existing accounts of desire have centralised aspects of desire that might be enlisted to explain the rational significance of desire. These include their connection to motivation, affect and evaluation. These existing accounts, I argue, either fail to capture the contribution that such desires can make to rational agency, or threaten to leave us with a distorted and overly intellectualised account of desire. I develop an account of such desires as serving to attune us to our reasons for action. I motivate the view that our conative system is part of our overall competence to recognise and respond to normative reasons for action in virtue of their biological function. The result will be an account on which desires are part of our capacity to respond rationally to our normative reasons for action.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Desire and Practical Rationality
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10086811
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