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Desire Utilitarianism

I’ve been reading about Desire Utilitarianism lately on the sites of Alonzo Fyfe (who has a blog as well as his main site) and Luke Muehlhauser. I’ve found the premise to be interesting. The idea behind it, as I understand it, is the development of an ethical theory which doesn’t depend on an intrinsic value. Since desires are something we know to be real (by intuition and neuroscience thanks to MRI), they can be a basis. Luke (aka lukeprog) summed it up as:

Desire Utilitarianism claims that a good desire tends to fulfill more and stronger desires than it thwarts. A right action is one that an agent with good desires would perform.

They’ve both said a lot on the subject, and it’s probably better to point you there for further info on it. Luke did an interview with Alonzo for his podcast and has some nice links on the subject, or you can just hit his FAQ on it.

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One Comment

  1. Luke wrote:

    Charles,

    Also, a starting point for thinking about morality as not involving categorical imperatives or intrinsic values is Philippa Foot’s classic article, “Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives.”

    Monday, June 29, 2009 at 2:15 am | Permalink

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