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Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Volume 8$
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Mark C. Timmons

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198828310

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198828310.001.0001

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The Good Will Be First

The Good Will Be First

(p.78) 4 The Good Will Be First
Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Volume 8

Patricio A. Fernandez

Oxford University Press

Good-willed or morally worthy action is one that is morally right non-accidentally: as she performs it the agent is, in some way, responsive to its rightness. Several recent accounts have analyzed good-willed action in terms of a composition of right action plus some requirements on the agent’s psychological condition, but tend to leave unexamined the direction of conceptual dependence between right action and good-willed action. This chapter argues that significant difficulties arise when right action is taken as primary and intelligible independently of good-willed action, often relying on the standard causalist picture of agency. Inspired by Aristotle’s notion of virtuous action and Kant’s treatment of action from duty, the chapter sketches an alternative view in which the idea of mere rightness is conceptually dependent on that of a good-willed self-conscious action done for reasons.

Keywords:   good-willed action, moral worth, right action, duty, virtue, Aristotle, Kant

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