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Desire Satisfaction Theory

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By pjcali
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Accomplishing Desires leads to Happiness In this paper I will argue that the desire satisfaction theory is the correct view on what a good life is and it is also a correct approach to measure what makes you happy. According to the desire satisfaction theory, your life goes well for you if you achieve your desires. It also states that something is good for you if it only helps you achieve those desires and nothing else. In order to prove my thesis, I will discuss an important episode in my life that will certainly aid my argument. Next, I will explain why this particular theory is attractive, followed by a possible objection that considers the desire satisfaction theory to be incorrect and counter the objection. To start, about a year ago in my freshman year in college, I was enrolled in English 101. We had a very important essay due soon and it had to be over six pages. I had very little time and did not know what to do. I also wanted to make a good grade to start out strong in the class. However, since it was one of the first essays in the semester, the professor did not require us to use safe assign, which basically checks papers for plagiarism. I really thought about going online a copying someone else’s work. Then of course I knew that eventually the papers would have to be submitted electronically because we had to make a portfolio for the final in that class. Eventually I decided to write the essay myself and put my best effort into it. In the end, I made an A on that paper as well as the final portfolio. The desire satisfaction theory goes hand in hand with the decision that I had made. As stated previously, the theory suggests that whatever helps one achieve his/her desires, is good and one should definitely do it. If it does not help one achieve his or her desires, then it is not considered good. Therefore, the desire satisfaction theory deduces that one’s life will be good if one gets what they want. After reading my predicament, most readers would have suggested that I had cheated/plagiarized my essay because It would have been easy and I would have a received a good grade. For the situation that I was in, it was not necessarily a bad choice to cheat. In reality though, cheating on this essay would not have brought me happiness. In the long run, the professor would have found out that I had cheated which would essentially cause me to fail the class, bringing me a great amount of unhappiness. Thus, for me to achieve true happiness, I had to put in my best effort and create something original which would lead to good grades on both the first paper and eventually, the final. Once again, something is only good if it helps one achieve their desires, by creating an original essay, I achieved my desires of receiving a good grade and passing the class. Just as all other theories, some people have objections towards the desire satisfaction theory in that it does not accurately decide what makes a person happy. Julia Annas believes in “happiness as achievement” rather than desire satisfaction. She uses a few examples to explain how achieving desires does not lead to happiness. One example is addiction, she states, “Some desires are unresponsive to the agent’s reasoning powers because of the force of addiction or obsession” (Annas, Happiness as Achievement, 46). Another example that Annas provides is that some desires can be produced by flawed information and reasoning. Finally, Annas provides an example that portrays a story of woman who was working for corrupt bosses. The woman had to make a choice between staying and continuing working for corrupt people, or follow what she believed was right and report the corruption to authorities (Annas, Happiness as Achievement, 49). Annas claims that the woman’s desire, which was to turn in her corrupt bosses, did not lead to happiness because of the fact that she lost her job. Provided these examples, I do not believe that she has given sufficient information that would discredit the desire satisfaction theory. People with addictions only have desires because they are addicted to that desire, no one can argue with that, however, happiness is still achieved when they fulfill their certain addiction. All addictions start somewhere and the first step is trying whatever a person is addicted to. Second, a person must try it again and again which then makes it an addiction. It is obvious that if a person does something one time, and comes back to it and does it multiple times, that person receives some sort of pleasure out of it. Addictions are basically created by a person getting pleasure from something that they desire. There are some cases where an addiction is repeated so many times that the person doesn’t really get pleasure from the addiction anymore. Instead, the pleasure is simply gained from just fulfilling and addiction. Her next major objection which claimed that the woman that lost her job by telling on her bosses also is unsuccessful in discrediting the desire satisfaction theory. Losing a job is believed to be a bad thing and Annas is correct. The woman did however receive pleasure in the senses that she followed her morals and did the right thing in the end. The story only talks about her being fired and that’s it, we are not told about her life after the firing. For all we know, her getting fired could have been a good thing in the long run. Perhaps if the woman had kept the corruption a secret and the authorities still managed to find out, the woman would be in a load of trouble and would have faced consequences for failing to report a crime. Instead, since she reported the corruption, she was offered a better job with much greater pay. This leads the woman receiving pleasure in that she did the right thing and was ultimately rewarded for it bringing a great amount happiness in her life.
Throughout this paper, I have argued in favor of the desire satisfaction theory and that it is a correct view how it will provide you a happy and good life. Essentially, achieving your desires will bring you a feeling which will lead to a life of happiness. However, people believe that the theory is flawed in a way that some desires can lead to pain and misery or are only a result of addiction and obsessions. Other believe that good desires can also lead to unhappiness like in the example of the woman who was fired. People need to understand that everything in life will have a good outcome or bad outcome, in other words, one will feel pleasure or feel pain. In the end, if you achieve those desires, happiness will always follow no matter what the case may be. Given all of the examples and information I think the desire satisfaction theory is the correct view.…...

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