Defective Action

Christine M. Korsgaard

in Self-Constitution

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199552795
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720550 | DOI:
 Defective Action

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If moral standards are constitutive standards of action, standards action must meet in virtue of its functional nature, how is bad or defective action possible? The Constitutional Model provides the answer: a soul may be governed by a constitution, but it may be the wrong one: one that does not fully unify its parts. This chapter examines Kant's and Plato's accounts of the different kinds of souls with bad constitutions — the timocrat, the oligarch, the egoist, the democrat, and the tyrant — and defends the claim that evil involves a lack of unity. It also examines the distinction between positive and privative accounts of evil, and confronts the problem of Plato's tyrant, who appears to be both genuinely unified and bad.

Keywords: defective; democrat; egoist; evil; Kant; oligarch; Plato; timocrat; tyrant; unity

Chapter.  8297 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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