Self-Constitution Agency, Identity, and Integrity

ISBN-10: 0199552800

ISBN-13: 9780199552801

Edition: 2009

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Description:

Christine M. Korsgaard presents an account of the foundation of practical reason and moral obligation. Moral philosophy aspires to understand the fact that human actions, unlike the actions of the other animals, can be morally good or bad, right or wrong. Few moral philosophers, however, have exploited the idea that actions might be morally good or bad in virtue of being good or bad of their kind - good or bad as actions. Just as we need to know that it is the function of theheart to pump blood to know that a good heart is one that pumps blood successfully, so we need to know what the function of an action is in order to know what counts as a good or bad action. Drawing on the work of Plato, Aristotle, and Kant, Korsgaard proposes that the function of an action is toconstitute the agency and therefore the identity of the person who does it. As rational beings, we are aware of, and therefore in control of, the principles that govern our actions. A good action is one that constitutes its agent as the autonomous and efficacious cause of her own movements. These properties correspond, respectively, to Kant's two imperatives of practical reason. Conformity to the categorical imperative renders us autonomous, and conformity to the hypothetical imperativerenders us efficacious. And in determining what effects we will have in the world, we are at the same time determining our own identities. Korsgaard develops a theory of action and of interaction, and of the form interaction must take if we are to have the integrity that, she argues, is essential foragency. On the basis of that theory, she argues that only morally good action can serve the function of action, which is self-constitution.
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Book details

Copyright year: 2009
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 3/26/2009
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 248
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.792
Language: English

Abbreviations for Frequently Cited Works
Preface
Agency and Identity
Necessitation
Acts and Actions
Aristotle and Kant
Agency and Practical Identity
The Metaphysics of Normativity
Constitutive Standards
The Constitution of Life
In Defense of Teleology
The Paradox of Self-Constitution
Formal and Substantive Principles of Reason
Formal versus Substantive
Testing versus Weighing
Maximizing and Prudence
Practical Reason and the Unity of the Will
The Empiricist Account of Normativity
The Rationalist Account of Normativity
Kant on the Hypothetical Imperative
Against Particularistic Willing
Deciding and Predicting
Autonomy and Efficacy
The Function of Action
The Possibility of Agency
Non-Rational Action
Action
Attribution
The Psychology of Action
Expulsion from the Garden: The Transition to Humanity
Instinct, Emotion, Intelligence, and Reason
The Parts of the Soul
Inside or Outside?
Pull Yourself Together
The Constitutional Model
Two Models of the Soul
The City and the Soul
Platonic Virtues
Justice: Substantive, Procedural, and Platonic
Kant and the Constitutional Model
Defective Action
The Problem of Bad Action
Being Governed by the Wrong Law
Four or Five Bad Constitutions
Conceptions of Evil
Degrees of Action
Integrity and Interaction
Deciding to be Bad
The Ordinary Cases
Dealing with the Disunified
Kant's Theory of Interaction
My Reasons
Deciding to Treat Someone as an End in Himself
Interacting with Yourself
How to be a Person
What's Left of Me?
Conclusion
Bibliography
Index
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