Norms for pure desire

Victor M. Verdejo


According to a widespread, broadly Humean consensus, desires and other conative attitudes seem as such to be free from any normative constraints of rationality. However, rational subjects are also required to be attitude-coherent in ways that prima facie hold sway for desire. I here examine the plausibility of this idea by proposing several principlesfor coherent desire. These principles parallel principles for coherent belief and can be used to make a case for a kind of purely conative normativity. I consider several objections to a principle for consistent desiring and reply to them. I conclude that, if attitude-coherence is a mark of rationality, the broadly Humean consensus must be rejected.


desire, belief, rationality, coherence, Hume

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