PHL375 Lecture Notes GRIFFIN.doc

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6 Feb 2013

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Maximal well-being: the satisfaction of one's strongest informed desires pertaining to one's own
explain why things are desirable based on our desiring them → must one desire something in
order for it to be good for them? e.g. example of surprise inheritance (don't desire the
inheritance because ignorant of it's existence, but having it is obviously good for you)
Griffin interprets desire very broadly: involves actively going for something as well as not
avoiding it or simply being indifferent to it
Is desiring something sufficient for it to be good for us?
Desires are structured in hierarchical manner: Global → Higher Order → Local (highest to
Strength of desire depends somewhat on its hierarchical placement BUT obviously not all
global desires have the same strength; it comes down to preference
even when some of our strongest central desires are fulfilled we are no better, or even worse,
off; actual desires vs informed desires; we can be misinformed about what we desire
Cases where getting what you desire is not good for you...
-You're misinformed about the nature of the object (or its consequences)
-You're misinformed about own ultimate desires
-You're misinformed about possible alternative choices
-You fail to understand what a desire means; misinformed as to what a desire entails
Does achieving a misinformed desire count for anything? Does it contain well-being? Whether
you know of alternatives or not not relevant; that said achieving a misinformed desire does
count towards well-being, just not as much
To be informed is to understand how the satisfaction of our desires is going to affect the
satisfaction of our other desires
What I do, bring into my life, or what happens to me
For Griffin, satisfaction is a matter of the world being a certain way; what you desire actually
comes about
Autonomy: a good because is a global desire pertaining to one's own life
Moral Virtue:
Harming Others: e.g. sadism; harming of others not a very strong desire and will be outweighed
by other, stronger desires
-What if this is a global desire? If this is a fully informed global desire outweighing other global
desires then satisfying this is a good thing and maximizes well-being
Griffin eschews Experience Requirement as necessary for well-being; thinks tacking it on
would turn his theory into a mental state view. Is this the case? (unresolved)
Subjectivity: involves our personal desires
Objectivity: relates to accounts of the world, actual states of the world
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