Three Faces Of Desire

Hardcover | July 28, 2004

byTimothy Schroeder

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To desire something is a condition familiar to everyone. It is uncontroversial that desiring has something to do with motivation, something to do with pleasure, and something to do with reward. Call these "the three faces of desire." The standard philosophical theory at present holds that themotivational face of desire presents its unique essence--to desire a state of affairs is to be disposed to act so as to bring it about. A familiar but less standard account holds the hedonic face of desire to reveal to true nature of desire. In this view, to desire something is to tend to pleasureif it seems that the desired state of affairs has been achieved, or displeasure if it seems otherwise, thus tying desire to feelings instead of actions. In Three Faces of Desire, Schroeder goes beyond actions and feelings to advance a novel and controversial theory of desire that puts the focus on desire's neglected face, reward. Informed by contemporary science as much as by the philosophical tradition, Three Faces of Desire discusses recentscientific discoveries that tell us much about the way that actions and feelings are produced in the brain. In particular, recent experiments reveal that a distinctive system is responsible for promoting action, on the one hand, and causing feelings of pleasure and displeasure, on the other. Thissystem, the brain's reward system, is the causal origin of both action and feeling, and is the key to understanding the nature of desire.

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From the Publisher

To desire something is a condition familiar to everyone. It is uncontroversial that desiring has something to do with motivation, something to do with pleasure, and something to do with reward. Call these "the three faces of desire." The standard philosophical theory at present holds that themotivational face of desire presents its uni...

Timothy Schroeder grew up on the Canadian prairies, an environment that afforded him plenty of time for philosophical speculation. He received his B.A. from the University of Lethbridge and his Ph.D. from Stanford University, and is now Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Manitoba.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 6.3 × 9.29 × 0.91 inPublished:July 28, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019517237X

ISBN - 13:9780195172379

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"The central claim of this book, which identifies desire as essentially grounded in the reward function, rather than in terms of its more obvious links with motivation and pleasure, is a major contribution to philosophy. In addition, we get a persuasive representational theory of pleasure.Both theses are original, philosophically subtle and scientifically informed, and Schroeder defends them with spectacular virtuosity. Schroeder's writing is energetic, pithy and direct, and as easy to follow as the subject allows. This is a splendid book, which should attract wideattention."--Ronald de Sousa, University of Toronto