1st-order desires, such as a preference for sushi or ambition to become a race-car driver are subjective and arbitrary.

2nd-order desires, such as to be a certain kind of person or to cultivate a virtue or some great-making character trait, are not, contrary to R&D, objective. They are still subjective, but unlike 1st-order desires, also not arbitrary. To say that temperance is a virtue is to propound a true and useful idea. But the choice to practice temperance is still entirely one’s own, to be balanced with all other concerns including 1st-order desires, unlike the injunction “you shall not kill” which one is commanded to obey by the indeed objective moral law.


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