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Manifest ActivityThomas Reid's Theory of Action$
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Gideon Yaffe

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199268559

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2004

DOI: 10.1093/019926855X.001.0001

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From End-Directedness to Power

From End-Directedness to Power

(p.76) 4 From End-Directedness to Power
Manifest Activity

Gideon Yaffe (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

As emerges in ch. 3, Reid holds not only that every event that flows from power is end‐directed but also that every end‐directed event necessarily flows from power. This chapter examines this second claim as it emerges in Reid's ‘third argument for moral liberty’ in which Reid asserts that the fact that we engage in planned, end‐directed conduct indicates that we are endowed with active power. The chapter argues that the claim is intertwined with Reid's conception of character traits; he holds that end‐directed events necessarily exhibit the virtue of wisdom, and he holds that a creature can have a character trait such as wisdom only if it is endowed with active power. What emerges is that Reid's conception of character plays a role in his conception of the moral agent exactly parallel to the role played in his metaphysics by the features of the world, whatever they are, that assure that nature will be sufficiently regular for us to rely on our inductive inferences.

Keywords:   character, event, liberty, metaphysics, nature, power, Reid, virtue, wisdom

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