We speak not strictly and philosophically when we talk of the combat of passion and of reason

On Desire: Why we want what we want P.115

Philosopher David Hume was outspoken in his rejection of the rationality of desire. In the eighteenth century, he wrote, ‘We speak not strictly and philosophically when we talk of the combat of passion and of reason. Reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.’ According to Hume, reason is capable of telling us that if we do X, Y will result. It is incapable of telling us, however, whether Y is worth obtaining, and therefore whether we ought to do X. It is only when reason is coupled with a value system — without a feeling that something is worth having — that reason can motivate behavior.”

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