Ideas from 'Intro to 'Creating the Kingdom of Ends'' by Christine M. Korsgaard [1996], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Creating the Kingdom of Ends' by Korsgaard,Christine M. [CUP 1996,0-521-49962-3]].

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16. Persons / A. Concept of a Person / 4. Persons as Agents
A person viewed as an agent makes no sense without its own future
                        Full Idea: In forming a particular plan of life, you need to identify with your future in order to be what you are even now. When the person is viewed as an agent, no clear content can be given to the idea of a merely present self.
                        From: Christine M. Korsgaard (Intro to 'Creating the Kingdom of Ends' [1996], §2)
                        A reaction: I certainly like the notion that we should treat persons primarily as agents, since I take personhood to be more like a process than an existent entity. If a large brick is about to hit you, you actually have no future, though you think you have.
To make sense of personal identity, focus on agency rather than experience
                        Full Idea: A focus on agency makes more sense of personal identity than a focus on experience.
                        From: Christine M. Korsgaard (Intro to 'Creating the Kingdom of Ends' [1996], §2)
                        A reaction: This strikes me as eminently sensible advice for the beginning of any discussion of personal identity. Her personal bęte noir is Parfit, who focuses on what we are conscious of.
20. Action / A. Definition of Action / 1. Action Theory
Theory of action focuses on explanation and prediction; practical action on justification and choice
                        Full Idea: When we look at our actions from the theoretical standpoint our concern is with their explanation and prediction. When we view them from the practical standpoint our concern is with their justification and choice.
                        From: Christine M. Korsgaard (Intro to 'Creating the Kingdom of Ends' [1996], §4)
                        A reaction: A nice distinction, which invites us to further subdivide action theory into two branches, with entirely different concerns.
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / h. Self interest
Self-concern may be a source of pain, or a lack of self-respect, or a failure of responsibility
                        Full Idea: For utilitarians, self-concern causes needless pain; for Kantians, it evinces a lack of respect for one's own humanity; for the religious moralist, it is a failure of responsibility for what has been placed in one's special care.
                        From: Christine M. Korsgaard (Intro to 'Creating the Kingdom of Ends' [1996], §5)
                        A reaction: Worryingly, given my heathenish views, I find the third one the most congenial. If we don't take responsibility for our own selves (e.g. for having a great talent), then no one (even parents) will take responsibility for anything.
23. Ethics / A. Egoism / 1. Ethical Egoism
Personal concern for one's own self widens out into concern for the impersonal
                        Full Idea: The personal concern which begins with one's life in a particular body finds its place in ever-widening spheres of agency and enterprise, developing finally into a personal concern for the impersonal.
                        From: Christine M. Korsgaard (Intro to 'Creating the Kingdom of Ends' [1996], §5)
                        A reaction: I am very struck by this nice thought, which comes from a very committed Kantian. It seems to me to capture the modern orthodoxy in ethical thinking - that concern for one's self, rather than altruism, is central, but altruism should follow from it.