Values and Intentions: A Study in Value-Theory and Philosophy of Mind

By J. N. Findlay | Go to book overview
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We have, in the previous chapter, sketched the main varieties of welfare (or its opposite), the features in which human activity and experience must yield satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) to all who seek to surmount the contingencies of personal position and direction, and who, in this particular segment of their life, consider only that to be desired (or not desired) whose attraction (or the reverse) is reinforced by a translation into anyone's and everyone's shoes. That there is a content dictated by this purely formal aspiration has disclosed itself in our treatment: to disinterest oneself in what may be called the particularity of human desire, its direction to radios, girl friends, race meetings, etc., is also, by a non-rigorous but still logically guided step, to become interested in the interesting as such and in interest in general, and in the power to achieve whatever happens to interest 'one', i.e. in all satisfactory and unsatisfactory things qua satisfactory or unsatisfactory, and in the satisfactions, dissatisfactions, powers and impotences and freedoms connected with such things. It is also to interest oneself especially in such interests and objects of interest as emerge out of just such a withdrawal from exclusive absorption in self, and just such a determined projection of self into anyone's or everyone's personal standpoint. It is to interest oneself in matters aesthetic, qua aesthetic, in matters scientific, qua scientific, and in matters communal and social, in so far as such. In all these cases we have watched the normative growing out of the actual, not descending unintelligibly from a machine. Impersonal desire, which judges and reshapes what we personally desire, is itself the inevitable conscious development of personal desire, and derives its lure and impetus from the latter, while the higher assessments which endorse and criticize our original judgements and criticisms are merely more careful, self- revisionary exercises of the same impersonality, and hence ultimately of personal desire. Mill was not wrong in connecting


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Values and Intentions: A Study in Value-Theory and Philosophy of Mind


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