top of page

Mon, 15 May


Room 243

Henry Schiller (Sheffield) The Meaning of 'Wants' in a Theory of Rational Planning

Time & Location

15 May 2023, 16:00 – 17:30

Room 243, Senate House, London WC1B, UK


I defend the view that desires get their contents from  stereotypical characterizations of the conditions under which they are  satisfied. I connect this view to a simple account of desire  satisfaction on which a desire is satisfied if it is brought to an end,  contending with an oft-quoted but misleading objection by Wittgenstein,  who claims that a desire is not satisfied merely by taking the desire  away. I compare my account with empirical work on reward learning, and  with theories of desire on which an agent wants p if that agent  constitutes p as a reward (e.g., Dretske 1988, Schroeder 2004). I also  show how this account unifies a set of disparate data about the mental  state picked out by the English verb 'wants', including the phenomenon  of desire underspecification (Lycan 2012, Graff Fara 2013),  non-propositional desire attributions (Montague 2007, Grzankowski 2014),  and advisory uses of 'wants' (Drucker 2019, Jerzak 2019).

Share this event

bottom of page