Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Human Nature, Personhood, and Ethical Naturalism1

  • John Hacker-Wright (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

John McDowell has argued that for human needs to matter in practical deliberation, we must have already acquired the full range of character traits that are imparted by an ethical upbringing. Since our upbringings can diverge considerably, his argument makes trouble for any Aristotelian ethical naturalism that wants to support a single set of moral virtues. I argue here that there is a story to be told about the normal course of human life according to which it is no coincidence that there is agreement on the virtues. Because we are creatures who arrive at personhood only by learning from others in a relation of dependency, we cannot help but see ourselves as creatures for whom non-instrumental rationality is the norm. Those who train others in personhood must view the trainee's interests as having a value independent of their interests and must imbue the trainee with a sense of that value. Extending and preserving the sense of self-worth that we must acquire if we are to acquire personhood requires we see ourselves as creatures who need something like the virtues.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Human Nature, Personhood, and Ethical Naturalism1
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Human Nature, Personhood, and Ethical Naturalism1
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Human Nature, Personhood, and Ethical Naturalism1
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Paul Benson , ‘Free Agency and Self Worth,The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 91, No. 12. (Dec., 1994), 650668

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Philosophy
  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
  • URL: /core/journals/philosophy
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 32 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 147 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 25th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.