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(in psychology), an experience characterized by a more or less conscious notion of intention to accomplish some act (action). The realization of this act is experienced as the satisfaction of the desire. The word “desire” is most often used to mean an emotionally colored attraction toward some object. In this sense there is the connection of desire with feelings, emotions, and affects. Ethics and social psychology regard desire primarily from the viewpoint of its conditioning by social norms and values—in this sense desire is understood as an intention, more correctly as an impulse to achieve some goal, ideal, or daydream.

Desire is one of the most important elements of those psychological states of the personality that anticipate its behavior and activity. It characterizes primarily the motivational and volitional aspect of these states. Therefore, desire is described in psychology not only as an attraction (the emotional aspect) or striving (the value aspect) toward the object of activity but also as the will and intention of carrying out the very process of this activity. Will is understood here as the manifestation of the personality—that is, its volition, while intention is understood as the conscious inducement to realizing the action, which includes consciousness of the need for it.

The development of desire is determined both by the object of desire and the means and conditions of its satisfaction and by the persistence, duration, and strength of the desire itself. Depending on these factors desire may be feasible, unreal, contradictory, reckless, or purposeful. Desires, along with interests and convictions, characterize the conscious attitude of man to his activity.


Blonskii, P. P. “Psikhologiia zhelaniia.” Voprosy psikhologii, 1965, no. 5.
Rubinshtein, S. L. Osnovy obshchei psikhologii, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1946.


References in classic literature ?
As the green and white lady took leave of the Princess she gave her a nut, desiring her only to open it in the most urgent need.
So saying, he leaped into a boat, desiring to be rowed on board the Pharaon, where M.
But for this purpose the first object is, not so much to establish an equality of fortune, as to prevent those who are of a good disposition from desiring more than their own, and those who are of a bad one from being able to acquire it; and this may be done if they are kept in an inferior station, and not exposed to injustice.
So he waited with Ruth and watched, desiring to speak his love but not daring.
SOCRATES: And if one man is not better than another in desiring good, he must be better in the power of attaining it?
But it might well be maintained that desiring is what is really most characteristic of mind.
Among the topics are driven by desire, the desiring brain, being in touch, looking forward to the birth of a child, the desire for contact with the divine, desiring things, the praxis of iconography, desire in Eastern Orthodox praxis, charm in ministry, and eros and the theologian.
Acting without desire, then, would be acting simply because an action is to be done--and desiring only the means (pp.
In other words, if the object of a person's desire occurs, it is not the occurrence of this object that is intrinsically good for the person; rather, it is the occurrence of the state of affairs that consists in his desiring it and its occurrence.
The title of Scott and Welton's book suggests, on the one hand, a reconsideration of philosophy as a way of desiring, and on the other, a claim of philosophy's superiority in relation to the various voices that contribute to the intermediacy of Plato's dialogue.