Weird Wants

Sunday, August 20, 2023

What Is It

Philosophers from Aquinas to Anscombe have claimed that wanting something means seeing the good in it. Even if what you want is bad overall, like procrastinating on important work, you can still desire it for its positive qualities. But don't we sometimes want things because of their badness, not in spite of it? Isn't there joy in doing something totally pointless, or even in breaking the rules? And is it really impossible, logically speaking, to want to be bad? Josh and Ray unravel our weird wants with Paul Bloom from the University of Toronto, author of The Sweet Spot: The Pleasures of Suffering and the Search for Meaning.



Josh Landy  
Have you ever done something just because it's bad?

Ray Briggs  
Is it irrational to do weird things?

Josh Landy  
Wouldn't life be boring if all your desires were sensible?

Comments (2)

Daniel's picture


Friday, June 30, 2023 -- 4:57 PM

There's something very

There's something very attractive about the view that one can not do evil voluntarily, and that knowledge of what is moral is a sufficient condition for choosing it. For if Plato was right about this, morality classes taught by ethicists and moral philosophers should be universally available and paid for by the state. How might that situation differ from theocratic attempts at evil-preclusion? Would knowledge of the good require incarceration or exile of theologians who claim that merely believing it is sufficient? Does knowledge of the good entail the badness of just believing what you think you know?

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adammaurer's picture


Friday, July 12, 2024 -- 6:55 AM

What possible distinctions

What possible distinctions would such circumstance have from theocratic efforts to exclude evil? Would theologians who say that believing something is enough be imprisoned or banished for knowing the good? tree service hamilton

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