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Taking Ourselves Seriously and Getting It Right
Harry G. Frankfurt
Stanford University Press / Softcover / Nov 2006
9780804752985 (ISBN-10: 0804752982)
Philosophy
price: $25.95 (may be subject to change)
104 pages
Not in Stock, usually ships in 7-10 business days

Harry G. Frankfurt begins these lectures by asking, “what is it about human beings that makes it possible for us to take ourselves seriously?” Based on the Tanner Lectures in Moral Philosophy, Taking Ourselves Seriously and Getting It Right delves into this provocative and original question.
The author maintains that taking ourselves seriously presupposes an inward-directed, reflexive oversight that enables us to focus our attention directly upon ourselves, and “it means that we are not prepared to accept ourselves just as we come. We want our thoughts, our feelings, our choices, and our behavior to make sense. We are not satisfied to think that our ideas are formed haphazardly, or that our actions are driven by transient and opaque impulses or by mindless decisions. We need to direct ourselves—or at any rate to believe that we are directing ourselves—in thoughtful conformity to stable and appropriate norms. We want to get things right.”
The essays delineate two features that have a critical role to play in this: our rationality, and our ability to love. Frankfurt incisively explores the roles of reason and of love in our active lives, and considers the relation between these two motivating forces of our actions. The argument is that the authority of practical reason is less fundamental than the authority of love. Love, as the author defines it, is a volitional matter, that is, it consists in what we are actually committed to caring about. Frankfurt adds that “The object of love can be almost anything—a life, a quality of experience, a person, a group, a moral ideal, a tradition, whatever.” However, these objects and ideals are difficult to comprehend and often in conflict with each other. Moral principles play an important supporting role in this process as they help us develop and elucidate a vision that inspires our love.
--- from the publisher

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