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University of Toronto St. George
C Repp

Today’s Agenda 1. Frankfurt and Marino on Ambivalence 2. Exam Review Ambivalence A conflict between attitudes/desires that are (a) second-order and (b) necessarily inconsistent First-order: passive (ex. addiction to smoking cigarettes). Happens spontaneously to us. Second-order desires: More reflective. These are people’s true desires Examples: - Valuing generosity and frugality (giving money and gifts to other people and being conservative with your money) - Wanting your friendly rival to win an award and wanting to win it yourself - Caring about monogamy with Person A and sex with Person B - Wanting to be a stay-at-home mom and have a successful career Is Ambivalence Especially Problematic? Frankfurt: Yes. Ambivalence poses a threat to (1) agency, (2) rationality, (3) autonomy, and (4) happiness. it is a “disease of the will.” Marino: No. There’s “nothing much wrong” with ambivalence. in particular, it doesn’t threaten agency, rationality, autonomy, or happiness. Problems between first-order desires are not that serious because it doesn’t have to do with our internal beings. An ambivalent agent can’t make up his mind as to what he wants... He can’t decide what to do so he is unable to act at all. It leads to a type of practical. Actions are gonna be self-defeating (e.g. a stay at home mom that wants to join the workforce, her actions will undo what she just did If you’re ambivalent, your actions are not gonna be autonomous. They should reflect your true self and true desires. Whether a persons acts on A or acts on B, the person will always be unsatisfied A person’s autonomous so long as they do what they want. Whatever you act on, it will not fully express your desires. What act
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