The Involuntary Nature of Moral Character

Paul Russell

in Freedom and Moral Sentiment

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195152906
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199869343 | DOI:
 The Involuntary Nature of Moral Character

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Hume claims that we are responsible for those qualities of mind or character that affect others and ourselves in pleasurable or painful ways. Insofar as our action and deportment express our character, to that extent we are accountable for it. This brings us to the question of the extent to which our traits of character are shaped and conditioned by our own choices and willings. Hume maintains that our ability to shape or control our moral character is very limited, and that in this respect we are all inescapably subjected to “moral luck.” My discussion of these issues also covers Hume's controversial view that we are morally accountable for our natural abilities.

Keywords: character; circumstantial luck; consequential luck; freedom; involuntary; moral development; moral luck; moral virtue; natural abilities; voluntary

Chapter.  7790 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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