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Identification and Quasi-Desires

James Stacey Taylor


Although the standard objections to Harry Frankfurt’s early hierarchical analysis of identification and its variants are well known, more recent work on identification has yet to be subjected to the same degree of scrutiny. To remedy this I develop in this paper objections to Frankfurt’s most recent analysis of identification as satisfaction that he first outlined in his paper ‘The Faintest Passion’. With such objections in place I show that they demonstrate that Frankfurt’s analysis fails because it is based on the attitudes that the person whose identification with his desires is in question adopts towards them. I then develop a new (objective and cognitive) analysis that avoids the difficulties that Frankfurt’s subjective approach is prey to. I conclude by considering and rebutting some preliminary objections to this new analysis.