Isaiah Berlin Lecture HT12
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Seminars in Moral Philosophy Week 8 MT09

Event Name Seminars in Moral Philosophy Week 8 MT09
Start Date 30th Nov 2009 4:30pm
End Date 30th Nov 2009 6:30pm
Duration 2 hours

Christoph Fehige (Saarbrücken) 'The Structure of Benevolence' to be held in the Lecture Room, 10 Merton Street, Oxford - Seminars in Moral Philosophy webpage


Much has been written about the factual question how benevolent people are, and much about the normative questions how benevolent rationality or morality require them to be. Far less attention has been paid to what we may call the structural questions about benevolence: How is it composed? What is its form?

The talk presents an attempt to make some headway with those questions. The plan is to see how a personís benevolence (her benevolence considered as a whole) relates to her preferences concerning specific situations. I will sketch a theory and indicate what it implies for the strength of benevolence, for the relation of benevolence to sacrifices and to self-love, and for the distinction between partial and impartial benevolence.

While rooted in ethics, the talk looms into the philosophy of mind: it is an attempt to understand an attitude and its parts. Reflections like those on the dispositional character of benevolence and on the sense in which one person can be more benevolent than another should carry over to other attitudes.

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