Varieties of Moral Personality: Ethics and Psychological Realism

Varieties of Moral Personality: Ethics and Psychological Realism

Owen Flanagan

Language: English

Pages: 0


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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experience, I am worrying about something that, if it happens, will happen to this subject of experience and not to some other, and that it will happen in my future and not simply in some impersonal future. The commonsense view seems grounded in more than mere socially constructed intuitions. Between the idea of a person as a human life lived according to an explicitly worked-out blueprint and the view of a person as a bundle of desires or a series of such bundles lies the view that persons

07 sometimes obscured by the hasty inference from the observation that the communitarians reject the standard sort of philosophical psychology advanced within the liberal tradition to the conclusion that they are some sort of normative or metaphysical holists (Sher, 1989). The inference is invalid because rejection of a picture of persons with the motivational structure of game theorists is perfectly compatible with the assumption that ethical theory takes individual persons as its proper object

supreme in certain spheres of life. Where we locate justice in the moral order of the individual or society, and the importance we assign to it, is rightly a contextual matter. Justice is more needed in some social circumstances, in some spheres of life (Walzer, 1983), and in some individual lives (and not merely from the inside) than in others. Hume pointed out that benevolence, spread widely and deeply enough, can render justice relatively unnecessary even in the worst of times. Relatedly Rawls

love and friendship. But it might seem that Rawls's formulation of AP leaves open the possibility that a particular life plan could be filled out without such goods. One way of arriving at this conclusion is by arguing that even though "personal affection and friendship" are cited by Rawls as among the goods persons enjoy for their own sake, the list they are on must be read as a list of the kinds of goods that are defensible and basic for the type person without necessarily being goods which are

examined so far. Indeed, the very same ideas about interlocking are themes in liberal political theory. The interlocking theme has centrality of place in the liberal ideal of social union. Furthermore, as I have just said, if one expects diversity, and if one has been equipped with hermeneutic strategies for perceiving other persons in their own terms, then one will be a good detector of where the opportunities for interlocking lie and in what they consist. An additional argument, call it the

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