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Gwen Bradford

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198714026

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198714026.001.0001

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(p.26) 2 Difficulty

Gwen Bradford

Oxford University Press

Difficulty is one of the essential elements of all achievements. But what is difficulty? One might think that it involves the complexity of an activity. But it turns out that complexity is not a necessary for difficulty. Rather, this chapter develops an account of difficulty according to which an action is difficult for an agent just in case it takes a certain amount of effort on the part of that agent, where the effort is above a certain degree of intensity. How much effort is relevant for difficulty is relative to the particular activity. Although you might think that, say, a virtuoso can do something difficult with no effort, this turns out to be not quite right. Rather, difficulty is relative to a class. What the virtuoso does is difficult for most people, but not for the virtuoso. This chapter presents a comprehensive analysis of the nature of difficulty in terms of effort.

Keywords:   achievement, difficulty, complexity, effort, will

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