Contemporary Solutions to the Paradox and Their Problems

John Davenport

in Will as Commitment and Resolve

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780823225750
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235896 | DOI:
Contemporary Solutions to the Paradox               and Their Problems

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Beginning with two commentaries on Aristotle, this chapter focuses on themes in neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics, including Alasdair MacIntyre's accounts of practices and common goods. The evaluation of these theories, which shows that they support the existential conception of striving will, is aimed at resolving the paradox of eudaimonism, including ideas proposed by MacIntyre, John Cooper, Paula Gottlieb, and Gary Watson, and argues that none avoids the need to postulate projective motivation. This helps explain why the revival of virtue ethics has been unable to show how the goals we ought to pursue and the virtues required to sustain pursuit of them are fully traceable to (or explainable from) the telos of human psychology or the nature of human agency. This chapter argues that the same paradox arises in neo-Aristotelian accounts of friendship and MacIntyre's account of practices; for projective motivation plays a key role in both these phenomena. The views of Nancy Sherman, Karl Marx, John Rawls, Rosalind Hursthouse, David Brink, and Baruch Spinoza are also considered.

Keywords: Aristotle; virtue ethics; Alasdair MacIntyre; goals; human agency; striving will; paradox of eudaimonism; projective motivation; friendship; Nancy Sherman

Chapter.  23348 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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