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Time and Identity$
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Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke, and Harry S. Silverstein

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262014090

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014090.001.0001

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Ex Ante Desire and Post Hoc Satisfaction

Ex Ante Desire and Post Hoc Satisfaction

(p.249) 12 Ex Ante Desire and Post Hoc Satisfaction
Time and Identity

H. E. Baber

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses desire theory and how the temporal gap between desires and the states of affairs that satisfy them affects this theory. Satisfaction is not that important in desire theory because even if getting what we want fails to satisfy, we are better off for having got it. The rationale for rejecting hedonistic accounts of well-being in favor of desire theories is the intuition that states of affairs that are not “like” anything for us can harm and benefit us. Sumner, however, suggests that even if we grant the desire theorist’s fundamental assumption that they can make a difference to our well-being, the prospective character of desire, which opens a temporal gap between desires and the states of affairs that satisfy them, undermines the account.

Keywords:   desire theory, temporal gap, well-being, Sumner, satisfaction

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