The Affective Face of Desire

15-16 mai 2014
UFR de Philosophie, Bâtiment 32B, salle 13 Université de Rennes 1, campus de Beaulieu, 263 avenue du général Leclerc - 35042 Rennes (France)

The view according to which desire on the one hand and pleasure and emotion on the other are deeply united is nowadays fiercely criticized by both neuroscientists and philosophers. For instance, Berridge and collaborators have shown that the motivation toward a stimulus can be dissociated from its being liked. One may also underline that the neurostransmitters that mediate motivation are distinct from those that regulate the experience of pleasure. One could finally point out that addiction on hard drugs maintains the desire to take the drug although the intake delivers no pleasure anymore. In philosophy, attempts to reduce pleasure to a state that one would be motivated to maintain raises more problem than it solves. Even the idea that pleasure and pain could be understood—or partially understood—in terms of motivations is under severe criticisms. In the opposite sense, many arguments have been raised against the view according to which desires are driven by the search of pleasure. After all, there is nothing problematic with the conception of a system that could aim at goals while having neither emotions nor experience of pleasure or pain. All these considerations show that motivation and affects (emotions, pleasure, pain, moods, sentiments...) are not reducible to one another. But even if one should acknowledge this independence, one should not neglect the multiple and intricate causal or conceptual links that may relate motivation to affects. The aim of the conference is to address these questions and related ones by confronting the works of neuroscientists, psychologists and philosophers empirically informed in order to improve our understanding of the relationship that links human motivation to affects. Among others, we would like to address the following questions: • To what extent human motivation depends on—or is independent from—affects? • To what extent motivation shares evaluative processes with affects? • What temporal organizations are there between affects and motivations? • What connexion is there between affective experience, evaluation and reward? • What is the specific impact of subjective affective experience on motivation? • Why evolution has added to our motivational system an ability to experience emotions, pleasure and pain? The conference is part of a project funded by the Maison des sciences de l'homme en Bretagne, and is also funded by the University of Rennes 1.
Discipline scientifique : Philosophie

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