Persons, Character and Morality
Williams (Bernard)
Source: Rorty (Amelie) - The Identities of Persons, 1976
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. In this paper I take up, I fear in an obscure, promissory and allusive manner, two aspects of this large subject. They both involve the idea that an individual person has a set of desires, concerns or, as I shall often call them, projects, which help to constitute a character.
  2. The first issue concerns the connection between that fact and the man's having a reason for living at all. I approach this through a discussion of some recent work by Derek Parfit1; though I touch on a variety of points in this, my overriding aim is to emphasize the basic importance for our thought of the ordinary idea of a self or person which undergoes changes of character, as opposed to an approach which, even if only metaphorically, would dissolve the person, under changes of character, into a series of 'selves'. In this section I am concerned just with the point that each person has a character, not with the point that different people have different characters.
  3. That latter point comes more to the fore on the second issue, which I take up in part III, and which concerns personal relations. Both issues suggest that the Kantian view contains an important misrepresentation.

Comment:

Also in "Williams (Bernard) - Moral Luck"

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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