Attraction, Aversion, and Asymmetrical Desires


*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


I argue that, insofar as we endorse the general idea that desires play an important role in well-being, we ought to believe that their significance for well-being is derived from a pair of more fundamental attitudes: attraction and aversion. Attraction has wholly positive significance for well-being, and aversion has wholly negative significance for well-being. Desire satisfaction and frustration have significance for wellbeing insofar as the relevant desires involve some combination of attraction and aversion. I defend these claims by illustrating how our desires can be asymmetrical. They can have greater positive than negative significance for well-being, or vice versa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)598-620
Number of pages23
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Many thanks to the many people who provided very helpful feedback on various versions of this article. In particular, I thank Mark Schroeder, Ralph Wedgwood, Janet Levin,John Hawthorne, Uriah Kriegel, Jennifer Foster, Alexander Dietz, two anonymous reviewers, and two associate editors at Ethics.


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