Ideas of Harry G. Frankfurt, by Theme

[American, b.1929, At Yale University, then at Princeton University.]

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10. Modality / A. Necessity / 9. Normative Necessity
Love creates a necessity concerning what to care about
16. Persons / E. Self as Mind / 6. Self as Meta-awareness
Persons are distinguished by a capacity for second-order desires
A person essentially has second-order volitions, and not just second-order desires
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 1. Free Will / a. Nature of free will
Free will is the capacity to choose what sort of will you have
20. Action / C. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / a. Will to Act
The will is the effective desire which actually leads to an action
22. Metaethics / A. Ethical Ends / 1. Value / a. Nature of value
Our criteria for evaluating how to live offer an answer to the problem
22. Metaethics / A. Ethical Ends / 1. Value / b. Objective value
Ranking order of desires reveals nothing, because none of them may be considered important
What is worthwhile for its own sake alone may be worth very little
22. Metaethics / A. Ethical Ends / 1. Value / c. Subjective value
If you don't care about at least one thing, you can't find reasons to care about anything
Rather than loving things because we value them, I think we value things because we love them
It is by caring about things that we infuse the world with importance
22. Metaethics / A. Ethical Ends / 5. Happiness / d. Routes to happiness
We might not choose a very moral life, if the character or constitution was deficient
22. Metaethics / A. Ethical Ends / 6. Pleasure / a. Nature of pleasure
People want to fulfill their desires, but also for their desires to be sustained
22. Metaethics / A. Ethical Ends / 8. Love
Love can be cool, and it may not involving liking its object
The paradigm case of pure love is not romantic, but that between parents and infants
I value my children for their sake, but I also value my love for them for its own sake
22. Metaethics / B. Basis of Ethics / 5. Moral Responsibility
A 'wanton' is not a person, because they lack second-order volitions
A person may be morally responsible without free will
22. Metaethics / C. Sources of Ethics / 6. Ethics from Reason
Morality isn't based on reason; moral indignation is quite unlike disapproval of irrationality
23. Ethics / A. Egoism / 1. Ethical Egoism
Loving oneself is not a failing, but is essential to a successful life
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 4. Boredom
Boredom is serious, not just uncomfortable; it threatens our psychic survival
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 2. Social Freedom / e. Freedom of lifestyle
Freedom needs autonomy (rather than causal independence) - embracing our own desires and choices