Chapter

The Constitutional Model

Christine M. Korsgaard

in Self-Constitution

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199552795
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720550 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199552795.003.0007
 The Constitutional Model

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Agency requires psychic unity, but there are two models of how this may be achieved. According to the Combat Model, as described by Hume, unity is achieved when either reason or passion wins the battle for control of action. According to Plato's Constitutional Model, the relevant sort of unity is the kind that a political constitution imposes on a group of people, making it possible for them to function as a single unified agent. This chapter examines Plato's account of the virtues in terms of this model, and defends his claim that justice brings unity to the soul. Appealing both to his moral psychology and his account of the unity of the political state, the chapter argues that Kant also holds the constitutional model. Because Platonic justice and the categorical imperative bring unity to the soul, and unity is required for action, they are constitutive standards of action.

Keywords: agent; categorical imperative; combat; constitution; justice; Kant; Plato; unity; virtue

Chapter.  12112 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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