Under Review (Drafts are available upon request)
Work in Progress
- Desires, Salience, and Motivational Impact
In this paper, I challenge Sebastian Watzl’s claim that psychological salience behaves like desires, having a necessary motivational impact. Watzl argues that salience is characterized by a felt pull of attention (which can eventually lead to mental conflicts), and practical (action-directed) dispositons. Inspired by the intriguing case of Leontius in Book IV of Plato’s Republic, I argue that the kind of pull salience may cause is not sustaintable in a way that justifies mental conflicts and that the practical disposition present in many cases of salience is not a product of salience itself but of the encounter of a salient object with one’s desires, plans, or ends.
- The Practical Role of Kant’s Dynamical Sublime Revisited
In this paper, I discuss Kant's view of the immortality of the soul, which he considers to be a necessary postulate for moral pursuit. I argue that Kant's demand to postulate immortality at will is unreasonable, as it lacks the minimal grounds for rational belief. Then, I suggest a solution to this puzzle through his aesthetics, arguing that we can find a perspective that allows humans to gain access to an experience that provides those grounds. This experience is embodied in Kant's unusual discussion of the dynamical sublime.
- Perfection and Pleasure in Malebranche’s Theory of Love
In this paper, I address a problem within Malebranche's moral psychology regarding the determining grounds of our love of God, as he is not entirely clear about what ultimately motivates this feeling, and we may believe that it has two distinct and independent motives: God's perfection, which makes him worthy of our love, and the pleasure embodied in His love. This ambiguity presents a significant challenge for Malebranche because moral principles may not be rational if this is the case. I contend that for Malebranche, pleasure is a necessary component of God's love. However, it is only a necessary consequence of this love and, according to Malebranche's love structure, it can never play a role in love.
Work in Progress
- Violating One's Own Desires: Revisiting and Asserting Autonomy
I attempt to make sense of personal autonomy in cases in which a person freely wants to have their own desires violated - like fulfilling a rape fantasy, exercising willpower in the face of temptations, and so forth. In the first part of this paper, I analyze some examples in light of Harry Frankfurt's endorsement theory and argue that even while we cannot endorse a first-order desire we want to be violated, we nonetheless regard those cases (in certain conditions) as blatantly autonomous. Therefore, the value of autonomy does not necessarily require the endorsement of lower-order desires. Instead, it is the nature of the relevant highest order desire and the relation it requires for its fulfillment that establishes one’s autonomy. I assume consent to be closely tied to the value of autonomy, and so I explore ,in the second part of this paper, how it can be granted for another person to violate our desires. I argue that for autonomy to be preserved, a person must always be able to assert it and reclaim their agency. Doing so is particularly challenging in a context where a person asked for their speech to be neglected, and therefore, I suggest a system of safe words as a means of signaling a shift in the normative context.