CHAPTER FIVE
DESIRE

ARISTOTLE, Aquinas, Descartes, and Hume all included desire among the passions of the soul. No doubt they were thinking of feelings of yearning or longing rather than of the often quite unemotional contexts in which we say 'I want . . .' Desire in the sense of wanting, unlike ἐπιθυμία and desiderium, is hardly an emotion: nevertheless, an account of it is essential to any treatment of the emotions. For the connection between emotions and behaviour is made by desire: one emotion differs from another because of the different sort of things it makes one want to do. Fear involves wanting to avoid or avert what is feared; anger is connected with the desire to punish or take vengeance on its object. Love, of one kind, is linked with the desire to fondle and caress the loved one, and shame with the desire to conceal whatever it is that makes one ashamed. These connections are not contingent: a man who was unaware of them would not possess the concept of the emotions in question.

Desire, in its most general sense, is not an emotion because it is not sufficiently closely connected with feelings. None the less, it has analogies with emotion, and we find the same philosophical positions main-

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Action, Emotion and Will
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Chapter One The Passions of the Soul 1
  • Chapter Two The Experimental Examination Of the Emotions 29
  • Chapter Three Feelings 52
  • Chapter Four Motives 76
  • Chapter Five Desire 100
  • Chapter Six Pleasure 127
  • Chapter Seven Actions and Relations 151
  • Chapter Eight States, Performances, Activities 171
  • Chapter Nine Objects 187
  • Chapter Ten Judging and Willing 203
  • Chapter Eleven Sketch of a Theory of Volition 212
  • Bibliography 240
  • Index 243
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