Motivation by ideal : A reaction to J. David Velleman

Philosophical Explorations 7 (1):91 – 98 (2004)

Abstract

Moral ideals should not be seen as simple and purely personal, but as complex values with a social dimension that transcend attempts to formulate or realize them. Orientation towards ideals needs a realistic component: people should identify with the quest for an ideal, not with the ideal itself, and consider the possibility of negative consequences of their pursuit. Such realism about ideals includes acknowledging that ideals are not the only, nor the most important, motivating force of morality.

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