Download Agent-Centered Morality: An Aristotelian Alternative to by George W. Harris PDF

By George W. Harris

What types of individuals can we aspire to be, and the way do our aspirations healthy with our principles of rationality? In Agent-Centered Morality, George Harris argues that the majority people aspire to a definite kind of integrity: we want to be respectful of and sympathetic to others, and to be loving mom and dad, pals, and participants of our groups. opposed to a winning Kantian consensus, Harris deals an Aristotelian view of the issues awarded via useful cause, difficulties of integrating all our matters right into a coherent, significant existence in a fashion that preserves our integrity. the duty of fixing those difficulties is "the integration test."Systematically addressing the paintings of significant Kantian thinkers, Harris indicates that even the main complicated modern types of the Kantian view fail to combine the entire values that correspond to what we name an ethical existence. via demonstrating how the which means of existence and functional cause are internally similar, he constructs from Aristotle's inspiration a conceptual scheme that effectively integrates the entire features that make a existence significant, with no jeopardizing where of any. Harris's elucidation of this procedure is a huge contribution to debates on human company, functional cause, and morality.

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Extra resources for Agent-Centered Morality: An Aristotelian Alternative to Kantian Internalism

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This defines practical reason in terms of a content, assuming that the CI procedure generates content, and a function, namely, an integrative function. But what about the second premise? We must understand this premise in a way that its meaning leaves open the possibility that the CI procedure can have psychological pull. This is to say that one way of understanding the meaning of (2) is in terms of what might make (2) true, and we understand this in terms of a certain content practical reason might have, that provided by the CI procedure, and the function it is to serve.

And it should be noted that this model for rationality is squarely within the Aristotelian/Humean tradition. Thus to assert that the Kantian constructivist view of the CI procedure is rational is to assert that it and it alone can serve a certain psychological function, the one discovered in the discussion of Herman. Therefore, if we are to accept constructivism as a method that bases morality on practical reason, as Kantian internalism does, then either the notion of reflective equilibrium will have to include the integration test or the integration test should be understood as the arbiter of whether our deepest moral sentiments are rational.

And it is a contingent fact whether any particular model achieves this result, a fact that rests on the contingencies of our psychology. What we must understand through reflective equilibrium is what moral rationality comes to for humanity or some subsection thereof. There is no a priori argument that only the CI procedure will result in the desired reflective equilibrium. Understood in this way, constructivists are committed to the empirical tradition: Moral rationality serves the moral values most deeply embedded in our psychology.

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