chapter  3
4 Pages

Anscombe and the shopping errand

Why then should anyone assume that it is a good thing for there to be a fit between desire and the world in any, let alone, in every instance of desire? We have already had a taste of the difficulties involved in establishing the parallel claim for belief, but there at least we were dealing with truth, which is often claimed to be of value, even if it is difficult to pin down in what way. Indeed, one writer (Zangwill, 1996: 175), who canvasses the idea that truth is a semantic norm, introduces it by stating that ‘the truth value of a belief really is its truth value’ (Zangwill’s italics). But no such play on the word ‘value’ is available with desires since we do not customarily speak of the ‘satisfaction value’ of a desire. Perhaps those who endorse, for whatever reason, the claim that it is a good thing for there to be a fit between beliefs and the world – for beliefs to be true – think that they can extrapolate from this to the conclusion that it is also a good thing for there to be a fit between desires and the world – for desires to be satisfied. But if their defence is that when a belief that e.g. p is true, and when the corresponding desire is satisfied, the same relation holds between the propositional content of the two attitudes and the world, then this as we have seen is highly dubious.