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Desire Satisfaction Theories and the Problem of Depression

Andrew Spaid, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation argues that the desire satisfaction theory, arguably the dominant theory of well-being at present, fails to explain why depression is bad for a person. People with clinical depression desire almost nothing, but the few desires they do have are almost all satisfied. So it appears the theory must say these people are relatively well-off. A number of possible responses on behalf of the theory are considered, and I argue that each response either fails outright, or requires modifications to the desire satisfaction theory which make the theory unattractive for other reasons.

Subject Area

Philosophy|Clinical psychology|Mental health

Recommended Citation

Spaid, Andrew, "Desire Satisfaction Theories and the Problem of Depression" (2020). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI27956776.