In Alexandra Perry & Chris Herrera (eds.), The Moral Philosophy of Bernard Williams. Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 40-53 (2013)

Authors
Roman Altshuler
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
Abstract
Deliberation issues in decision, and so might be taken as a paradigmatic volitional activity. Character, on the other hand, may appear pre-volitional: the dispositions that constitute it provide the background against which decisions are made. Bernard Williams offers an intriguing picture of how the two may be connected via the concept of practical necessities, which are at once constitutive of character and deliverances of deliberation. Necessities are thus the glue binding character and the will, allowing us to take responsibility for our characters. Intriguing though the picture may be, it did not receive a thorough elaboration in Williams’s work. My aim here is to work out and defend what I take to be the most valuable aspect of Williams’s view of agency: its model of the way character and the will can jointly determine agency through mutual constitution. However, I argue that Williams’s attempt to use this model to ground his attack on Kantian morality does not succeed, because the primacy Williams accords to character over the will cannot yield the appropriate kind of normative authority, even from the perspective of the agent. I urge that we retain Williams’s model of the interaction between character and the will, modified to allow the will an authority that is not derived from the necessity of character.
Keywords Bernard Williams  character  agency  practical necessity
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on Amazon.com
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

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

Utilitarianism: For and Against.J. J. C. Smart & Bernard Williams - 1973 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Immortality, Identity, and Desirability.Roman Altshuler - 2015 - In Michael Cholbi (ed.), Immortality and the Philosophy of Death. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 191-203.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Caring and Incapacity.Jeffrey Seidman - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 147 (2):301 - 322.
Does Hume Have an Ethics of Virtue?Marcia L. Homiak - 2000 - The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 7:191-200.
Immortal Curiosity.Attila Tanyi & Karl Karlander - 2013 - Philosophical Forum 44 (3):255-273.
Character.Joel J. Kupperman - 1991 - Oxford University Press.
The Elements of Character.Richard Bondi - 1984 - Journal of Religious Ethics 12 (2):201 - 218.
Persons, Character, and Morality.Bernard Williams - 1976 - In James Rachels (ed.), Moral Luck: Philosophical Papers 1973–1980. Cambridge University Press.
Practical Necessity.Bernard Williams - 1982 - In Donald MacKenzie MacKinnon, Brian Hebblethwaite & Stewart R. Sutherland (eds.), The Philosophical Frontiers of Christian Theology: Essays Presented to D.M. Mackinnon. Cambridge University Press.
Nomic Necessity and Empiricism.John F. Halpin - 1999 - Noûs 33 (4):630-643.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-08-06

Total views
1,118 ( #4,539 of 2,454,704 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
75 ( #9,197 of 2,454,704 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes