MIT24_120s09_lec19 - MIT OpenCourseWare http:/ocw.mit.edu...

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MIT OpenCourseWare http://ocw.mit.edu 24.120 Moral Psychology Spring 2009 For information about citing these materials or our Terms of Use, visit: http://ocw.mit.edu/terms .
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24.120 MORAL PSYCHOLOGY RICHARD HOLTON XIX Identification FRANKFURT Frankfurt starts ‘Identification and Wholeheartedness’ with a discussion of consciousness. He contends that an essential feature of consciousness is self-consciousness. (Is this a sufficient condition or merely a necessary condition?) More important though is the discussion of the desires with which we identify . Identification here should be understood as acceptance, not as essentially linked either to endorsement or what one cares about. (One can identify with a desire without endorsing or approving of it; and one can identify with a desire that one takes to be trivial; see Frankfurt’s ‘Reply to Watson’ in Contours of Agency .) In his earlier work Frankfurt had understood this in terms of higher order desires. But it was unclear why a higher order desire would be one with which one specially identified. Later he comes to understand identification in terms of decisions . Actually there seem to be two distinct phenomena that he discusses. The first concerns the case of checking a sum over and over. At some point one might arrive at a decisive identification with a certain answer (p. 169). It ‘resounds endlessly’. Is it that there is a judgement that no further conflict will be found? Not necessarily. Rather the idea is that we decide that no further checking is warranted; and this
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