The Moral, The Personal, and the Importance of What We Care About
Benbaji (Yitzhak)
Source: Philosophy - 78, Issue 03, Jul 2003, pp 321-336
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

    This paper challenges what I call ‘Frankfurt's Care-Importance Principle’ (or ‘the CIP’), according to which, ‘If there is something that a person does care about, then it follows that it is important to him.’ Indeed, caring may generate genuine importance. I claim, however, that the agent's caring may have blinding effects too, it may blind him to what is really important to him. In this kind of case, caring does not generate genuine importance; rather, it reinforces the agent's false belief that what he cares about is really important to him. In the second part of the paper, I try to explain the philosophical urgency in correcting the CIP. I claim that Frankfurt's adherence to the CIP casts doubt upon the adequacy of his conceptual framework to deal with a special kind of conflict, namely, the conflict between the moral and the personal.
Philosophers Index Abstract
    In this paper I argue, first, that under the most plausible interpretation of it, this claim (henceforth, 'Frankfurt's Care-Importance Principle', or 'the CIP') is false. We are generally able to make unimportant things important to ourselves; occasionally, however, we fail to do so. The philosophical significance of correcting the CIP will become clear in the second part of this paper. There, I shall argue that Frankfurt's adherence to the CIP casts doubt upon the adequacy of his conceptual framework to deal with a special king of conflict, namely, the conflict between the moral and the personal. (edited)

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