John Stuart Mill's deliberative landscape: an essay in moral by Candace A. Vogler

By Candace A. Vogler

This e-book charts the destiny of philosophical conception. Drawing at the anti-instrumentalist strands of Millian inspiration, Vogler constructs a strong objection to instrumentalism approximately sensible rationality.

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You don't thereby alter agents' basic desires. What you do is make it less likely that some actions will continue to appear to be means to satisfying basic desires. Basic desires, primary ends, remain fixed by pleasure in prospect and the avoidance of pain. But, under appropriately directed educational and legislative measures, the world shifts so that some actions no longer serve as good means to those ends. The position belies an underlying commitment to the view that reason in action is strictlj, calculative.

Ultimately, reason cannot tell us what to want. Vogler can d o is advise us how to g e t or d o tlie things we find ourselves stuck witli wanting. Taken to an extreme, the view would depend upon a strict separation of thought and desire, intellect and feeling, belief and desire. Look for the source of a man's goals and you will find his desires. Ask after why lie desires what he desires and, unless he desires i t as a means to or part of satisfying some filrtlier desire, you will find raw, unreasoned motivational power, tlie sort of thing Leslie Stephen may have had in m i n d in adverting t o the "force of human passions" and the "emotions which stir men t o their depths"-elemental urges, drives, or some such which, when sufficiently stirred, produce beasts within men that cannot be directed or controlled by instilling a few reasoned maxims in tlie properly virile human agent.

It's not that Reason recommends pleasure-seeking as the best mode of life. "~~) Such is our lot. And to whatever extent all that we d o is shaped by Nature, all that we d o bottoms out in the arbitrary facts of human motivational architecture. By Bentham's lights, our ultimate end (happiness) is dictated by facts of sub-rational Nature, and our proximate determinate primary ends are shaped by the causal hisl"'John Stuart Mill and the Ends of Life," Robert Waley Cohen Memorial Lecture, J , John London, 2 December 1959, reprinted in J .

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