David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In N. Athanassoulis & S. Vice (eds.), Morality and the Good Life. Palgrave MacMillan (2008)
The aim of this paper to analyse the central argument of Cottingham’s (1998) Philosophy and the Good Life, and to strengthen and develop it against misinterpretation and objection. Cottingham’s argument is an objection to ‘ratiocentrism’, the view that the good life can be understood in terms of and attained by reason and strength of will. The objection begins from a proper understanding of akrasia, or weakness of will, but its focus, and the focus of this paper, is the relation between reason and the passions in the good life. Akrasia serves to illustrate ratiocentrism’s misunderstanding of this relation and of the nature of the passions themselves. In § I, I outline and clarify the objection. In § II, I present and provisionally elaborate on Cottingham’s diagnosis of what a corrected understanding of the passions makes necessary for the good life, viz. the rediscovery and reclamation of the source of our passions, our childhood past. In § III, I discuss whether ratiocentrism could accept and absorb the critique as developed so far. Cottingham (1998: 162) is aware that his claim, with its emphasis on self-knowledge, could be reinterpreted by ratiocentrism as no more than the need for reason to work with a different source of information regarding the passions in order to master them. I briefly present three further objections to show why this is a mistake. In § IV, I argue that Cottingham’s diagnosis is not quite right, and I seek to emphasise aspects of self-discovery that I believe Cottingham overlooks or underplays. What is needed is a set of interrelated dispositions, viz. acceptance, vulnerability, courage, and compassion; these can be inculcated and sustained by the journey Cottingham defends, but it is the dispositions, rather than the journey, that are properly considered a necessary part of the good life.
|Keywords||Emotion Akrasia Psychoanalysis|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
John Cottingham (1998). Philosophy and the Good Life: Reason and the Passions in Greek, Cartesian, and Psychoanalytic Ethics. Cambridge University Press.
Christine Tappolet (2002). Review: Philosophy and the Good Life: Reason and the Passions in Greek, Cartesian and Psychoanalytic Ethics. [REVIEW] Mind 111 (441):92-95.
Raymond Guess (1999). Philosophy and the Good Life: Reason and the Passions in Greek, Cartesian and Psychoanalytic Ethics by John Cottingham. Cambridge University Press, 1998, US$54.95 £37.50 Hb, US$17.95 £13.95 Pb. [REVIEW] Philosophy 74 (2):282-295.
David McPherson & John Cottingham (2012). Philosophy, Spirituality, and the Good Life: An Interview with John Cottingham. Philosophy and Theology 24 (1):85-111.
John Cottingham, Nafsika Athanassoulis & Samantha Vice (eds.) (2008). The Moral Life: Essays in Honour of John Cottingham. Palgrave Macmillan.
Reviewed by John Marshall (2000). John Cottingham, Philosophy and the Good Life: Reason and the Passions in Greek, Cartesian and Psychoanalytic Ethics. Ethics 110 (2).
John Marshall (2000). John Cottingham, Philosophy and the Good Life: Reason and the Passions in Greek, Cartesian and Psychoanalytic Ethics:Philosophy and the Good Life: Reason and the Passions in Greek, Cartesian and Psychoanalytic Ethics. Ethics 110 (2):410-414.
Thaddeus Metz (2008). God, Morality and the Meaning of Life. In Samantha Vice & Nafsika Athanassoulis (eds.), The Moral Life. Palgrave Macmillan 201--227.
John Cottingham (2011). Sceptical Detachment or Loving Submission to the Good? Reason, Faith, and the Passions in Descartes. Faith and Philosophy 28 (1):44-53.
Martin Lin (2006). Spinoza's Account of Akrasia. Journal of the History of Philosophy 44 (3):395-414.
Robert C. Solomon (1976). The Passions. University of Notre Dame Press.
Sergio Tenenbaum (1999). The Judgment of a Weak Will. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (4):875-911.
Thomas Cook, Adequate Understanding of Inadequate Ideas: Power and Paradox in Spinoza's Cognitive Therapy.
Elizabeth S. Radcliffe (1999). Hume on the Generation of Motives: Why Beliefs Alone Never Motivate. Hume Studies 25 (1-2):101-122.
John Cottingham (ed.) (1998). Descartes. Oxford University Press.
Added to index2011-07-18
Total downloads98 ( #41,640 of 1,907,910 )
Recent downloads (6 months)14 ( #44,522 of 1,907,910 )
How can I increase my downloads?