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Sidgwick, Concern, and the Good

  • Stephen Darwall (a1)
Abstract

Sidgwick maintains, plausibly, that the concept of a person's good is a normative one and takes for granted that it is normative for the agent's own choice and action. I argue that the normativity of a person's good must be understood in relation to concern for someone for that person's own sake. A person's good, I suggest, is what one should (rationally) want for that person in so far as one cares about him, or what one should want for him for his sake. I examine Sidgwick's defence of the axioms of rational prudence and argue that it is powerless to convince anyone who lacks self-concern or thinks he has no reason to care for himself. To the extent that Sidgwick is persuasive, I argue, it is because he insinuates an assumption of self-concern. Similarly, Sidgwick's defence of the axiom of rational benevolence tacitly assumes, not just impersonality, but equal concern.

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Human Flourishing, ed. Ellen F. Paul , Cambridge, 1999

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Utilitas
  • ISSN: 0953-8208
  • EISSN: 1741-6183
  • URL: /core/journals/utilitas
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