Abstract Six apparent features of Kant's conception of autonomy appear to differentiate it sharply from anything that we can find in an Aristotelian conception of will and practical reason. (1) Autonomy requires a role for practical reason independent of its instrumental role in relation to non-rational desires. (2) This role belongs to the rational will. (3) This role consists in the rational will's being guided by its own law. (4) This guidance by the law of the will itself requires acts (...) of legislation?the making of laws?for oneself. (5) These acts of legislation constitute the law as one's own law, as moral constructivists hold. (6) Kant marks this character of the rational will by using ?autonomy? and cognates. These six apparent features, however, do not mark any discontinuity between Kant and an Aristotelian conception. The first three apparent features are genuinely Kantian, but are not aspects of discontinuity, whereas the last three mark aspects of discontinuity, but are not genuinely Kantian. (shrink)
Eighteenth-century disputes in moral theory seem to offer an opportunity to scepticism about moral theory and about morality. Twentieth-century theorists have tried to forestall a sceptical argument from disagreement in moral theory to doubts about morality, by appeal to a division between first-order and second-order questions. This division, however, does not answer the sceptical argument. A better reply appears in Butler's treatment of disagreement through his strategies of consensus and comprehension. These strategies are illustrated by his discussion of utilitarianism and (...) of the relation between conscience and self-love. (shrink)
Augustine defends three claims about the passions: (1) The Stoic position differs only verbally from the Platonic-Aristotelian position. (2) The Stoic positionis wrong and the Platonic-Aristotelian position is right. (3) The will is engaged in the different passions; indeed the different passions are different expressionsof the will. The first two claims, properly understood, are defensible. But the most plausible versions of them give us good reason to doubt the third claim.
Augustine is notorious for his claim that the so-called virtues of pagans are not genuine virtues at all. Bayle refers to this claim when he describes the sort of virtue that one ought to be willing to attribute to atheists.
Focuses on the traditional view of Greek ethics. Response to articles by Julia Annas and Nicholas White about the interpretation of Greek ethics; Plato's concept of happiness based on his book `Republic'; Issues about prudential and moral reasoning.