Socrates and the Fool
In the preceeding chapter I argued that the Humean view has two major shortcomings. First, its account of the relation between inclinations and reasons for action is false. Reasons for action are not directly proportional to strength of inclination. Second, the Humean account allows an insufficient role for the rational agent in action. Kant recognised the importance of active agency for autonomy, but his account of activity is flawed for reasons given in Chapter 2. In this chapter we shall discuss a view which, in many respects, combines what is best in the Humean view with a more adequate account of rational agency. The view is derived from the celebrated English liberal John Stuart Mill. Mill’s famous essay On Liberty is one of the most powerful defences of the value of individual autonomy, even though ‘autonomy’ was not a term favoured by its author.
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