Choosing Character: Responsibility for Virtue and Vice
Jacobs, J. A. Choosing Character: Responsibility for Virtue and Vice. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001.
Are there key respects in which
character and character defects are voluntary? Can agents with serious vices be
rational agents? Jonathan Jacobs answers in the affirmative. Moral character is
shaped through voluntary habits, including the ways we habituate ourselves,
Jacobs believes. Just as individuals can voluntarily lead unhappy lives without
making unhappiness an end, so can they degrade their ethical characters through
voluntary action that does not have establishment of vice as its end. Choosing
Character presents an account of ethical disability, expanding the domain of
responsibility and explicating the role of character in ethical cognition.
Jacobs contends that agents become
ethically disabled voluntarily when their habits impair their ability to
properly appreciate ethical considerations. Such agents are rational,
responsible individuals who are yet incapable of virtuous action. The view
develops and modifies Aristotelian claims concerning the fixity of character.
Jacobs' interpretation is developed in contrast to the overlooked work of
Maimonides, who also used Aristotelian resources but argued for the possibility
of character change. The notion of ethical disability has profound
ramifications for ethics and for current debates about blame and punishment.
Source: Google Books
(Something interesting I found)Posted: Monday, January 12, 2009