Emotions, Desire, and Motivations to Act

CFS lecture by John Drummond, Department of Philosophy, Fordham University, New York, USA


This lecture considers the question of whether emotions inherently motivate, or incline one to motivate, one to act. It argues that action-tendency and action-motivation are not inherent to emotions and that the relation between emotion and action is mediated by desire. The emotion, or, more specifically, the affective does not include a conative moment. I suggest, furthermore, that the motivated actions differ in kind, a fact that entails that their conative aspect also differs and, therefore, that the notion of desire is complex. I conclude with a distinction between appetitive and rational desire.