Difference between revisions of "New Years Resolutions"

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Latest revision as of 03:11, 15 January 2020

We make resolutions at the new year in large part because we wish to change our character, to open up new possibilities for our lives than we might currently enjoy. Not being particularly adept at piano, we commit ourselves to practicing. We create ideal versions of ourselves, ideals that provide continuity and coherency to our plans and projects and that help us undergo the strain and stress required to actualize them. The ideal provides content for our choices; it guides and directs us, determining (we hope) the path our life takes. For some moral theorists, reflecting on the excellencies of a character—on the virtues—provides substantive moral guidance for us in a way that, say, abstract considerations about what is just or good or right to do in a particular situation might. In other words, reflecting on courage, or humility, or temperance, helps us know what sorts of possibilities we could actualize in a way that considerations of moral rules or other norms does not. As Kent Dunnington puts it, “one of the contributions of virtue theory to moral philosophy has been the insistence that our moral possibilities are more tightly linked to our characters—including our sense of who we ideally are—than to the application of a decision procedure to our moral options.”

- Matthew Lee Anderson, Character and Moral Possibilities