Robert Stern
University of Sheffield
This paper deals with the issue of self-determination and agency in moral action. On the one hand, it seems that where possible, the moral agent should use their practical reason to identify what it is right for them to do, and act accordingly; on the other hand, this seems to leave little room for the agent to decide for themselves how to act, where this is often said to be a marker of freedom and how the will is exercised. In response to this difficulty, Ruth Chang has argued recently that at least some reasons themselves need to be seen as being created through an act of will. Looking at the work of Iris Murdoch, it is argued that this response is problematic. At the same time, it is also argued that Murdoch can provide a fruitful way of dealing with this problem through her account of the imagination. This gives a role to the will of the agent, not in creating reasons, but in attuning us to those reasons, thereby locating the will within practical reasoning itself and showing how the authority of the good can be made compatible with human freedom.
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DOI 10.1093/arisoc/aoab013
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References found in this work BETA

Mind, Value, and Reality.John McDowell - 1998 - Harvard University Press.
Grounding Practical Normativity: Going Hybrid.Ruth Chang - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (1):163-187.
Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals.Iris Murdoch - 1992 - Allen Lane, Penguin Press.
Knowledge Through Imagination.Amy Kind & Peter Kung (eds.) - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.

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