Caring and incapacity

Philosophical Studies 147 (2):301 - 322 (2010)
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This essay seeks to explain a morally important class of psychological incapacity—the class of what Bernard Williams has called “incapacities of character.” I argue for two main claims: (1) Caring is the underlying psychological disposition that gives rise to incapacities of character. (2) In competent, rational adults, caring is, in part, a cognitive and deliberative disposition. Caring is a mental state which disposes an agent to believe certain considerations to be good reasons for deliberation and action. And caring is a mental state which structures an agent’s practical deliberation, by establishing presumptive boundaries on the landscape of possibilities over which her deliberative imagination ranges. Incapacities of character are a consequence of the structure which these presumptive boundaries give to an agent’s deliberation.



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Jeffrey Seidman
Vassar College

Citations of this work

Valuing and caring.Jeffrey Seidman - 2009 - Theoria 75 (4):272-303.
The unity of caring and the rationality of emotion.Jeffrey Seidman - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2785-2801.
Normative Reasons for Love, Part I.Aaron Smuts - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (8):507-517.
Is it Better to Love Better Things?Aaron Smuts - 2015 - In Tony Milligan, Christian Maurer & Kamila Pacovská (eds.), Love and Its Objects.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by John Henry McDowell.
What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Groundwork for the metaphysics of morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Thomas E. Hill & Arnulf Zweig.
Intention, plans, and practical reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Ethics and the limits of philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1985 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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