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.
- Do You Mind Violating My Will? Revisiting and Asserting Autonomy
In this paper, I discuss a subset of preferences in which a person wants the violation of desire they chose to make effective. I argue that such cases provides us with a unique insight into personal autonomy from a proceduralist standpoint. Proceduralists, such as Frankfurt and Dworkin, defend a liberal and content-neutral approach, in which autonomy entails the agent's endorsement of the desires that move her actions. In the first part of my argument, I analyze some examples in light of Frankfurt's endorsement theory and argue that even while we cannot endorse a practical decision we want to be violated, we nonetheless regard those cases (under certain conditions) as blatantly autonomous. Therefore, autonomy does not necessarily require endorsement. Instead, I propose that the nature of the relevant highest-order volition dictates what procedure should be established in one’s desire structure for its fulfillment. In the second part, I discuss how the agent may effectively consent to the violation of their decision by another person. Because ordinary consent refers to actions but fails to communicate one's higher-order desires or commitments, I propose a practical tool that accomplishes this by signaling shifts in the normative context agents interact.
Work in Progress
- 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.