Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Publication
    Shaftesbury on Persons, Personal Identity and Character Development
    (Wiley, 2018-01)
    Shaftesbury's major work Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times was one of the most influential English works in the eighteenth century. This paper focuses on his contributions to debates about persons and personal identity and shows that Shaftesbury regards metaphysical questions of personal identity as closely connected with normative questions of character development. I argue that he is willing to accept that persons are substances and that he takes their continued existence for granted. He sees the need to supplement metaphysical debates of personal identity and believes that we have to turn to the character that is realized by a substance if we want to understand who we are. For Shaftesbury, persons have a particular character, can act and govern themselves. I propose that Shaftesbury's approach to persons has a developmental dimension, which is meant to encourage personal development and improvement of character. The developmental dimension can be understood as an intellectual journey that invites us to search for our true self, to develop our character and to seek happiness, which ultimately involves understanding our place as persons in the order of the universe. I show that my developmental interpretation is preferable to other existing interpretations.
      269Scopus© Citations 4
  • Publication
    Locke and Hume on Personal Identity: Moral and Religious Differences
    (Hume Society, 2015-11)
    Hume's theory of personal identity is developed in response to Locke's account of personal identity. Yet it is striking that Hume does not emphasize Locke's distinction between persons and human beings. It seems even more striking that Hume's account of self in Books 2 and 3 of the Treatise has less scope for distinguishing persons from human beings than his account in Book 1. This is puzzling, because Locke originally introduced the distinction in order to answer questions of moral accountability, and Hume's discussion of self in Book 2 provides the foundation of his moral theory in Book 3. In response to the puzzle, I show that Locke and Hume hold different moral and religious views and these differences are important to explain why their theories of personal identity differ.
      245Scopus© Citations 6
  • Publication
    Shaftesbury on Liberty and Self-Mastery
    (Taylor & Francis, 2019-10-14)
    The aim of this paper is to show that Shaftesbury’s thinking about liberty is best understood in terms of self-mastery. To examine his understanding of liberty, I turn to a painting that he commissioned on the ancient theme of the choice of Hercules and the notes that he prepared for the artist. Questions of human choice are also present in the so-called story of an amour, which addresses the difficulties of controlling human passions. Jaffro distinguishes three notions of self-control that are present in the story of an amour. Although I agree with many aspects of Jaffro’s interpretation, I question his conclusion that self-control in the Stoic sense is best reserved for ‘moral heroes.’ I propose an alternative developmental interpretation, according to which all human beings are on an intellectual journey aimed at personal and moral improvement. My interpretation takes seriously that for Shaftesbury philosophy is meant to be practical and help improve our lives. I end by arguing that rather than trying to situate Shaftesbury’s concept of liberty within debates among compatibilists and incompatibilists it is more promising to understand it in terms of self-mastery and thus regard it as a version of positive liberty.
      299Scopus© Citations 5