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By Javier Echeñique

Aristotle's Ethics develops a fancy concept of the traits which make for an outstanding individual and for numerous a long time there was extreme dialogue approximately no matter if Aristotle's thought of voluntariness, defined within the Ethics, really delineates what sleek thinkers may realize as a concept of ethical accountability.

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In a substantive sense that does not merely translate ‘ˆethikos’? How can a merely causal sense of ‘retrospective’ praise and blame entail a normative, non-tautological ‘moral’ sense of ‘retrospective’ praise and blame? It is clear that it cannot. 35 Sauv´e Meyer 1993: 51 (emphasis added). e. ) makes it reasonable to think that what she finds objectionable about prospective attitudes is (just as it is for Strawson) their purely instrumentalist character. It is then reasonable to assume that, on her view, retrospective attitudes are exclusively moral in virtue of the following criterion: (A) If (Aristotelian) praise and blame are retrospective then they are the sort of attitudes that acknowledge their recipient as a moral agent in his own right, or as an end in itself, as opposed to regarding him as a mere means or instrument (to use a Kantian dichotomy), as instrumentalist attitudes do.

Because voluntary actions thus reflect the variable and changeable aspects of souls, it is appropriate to praise and blame them. These are the sorts of actions that, in principle, one can be trained or become habituated or be educated to do or not do. 32 30 31 32 For quite different reasons, the term ‘forward-looking’ (coined by Stevenson) is misleading, in that it wrongly suggests that it is a distinctive mark of prospective praise and blame that at least part of the aim of their being uttered is to prompt some sort of future response from the agent targeted.

Now, I suspect that the Strawsonian interpreter may retort as follows: ‘I grant you that I have misrepresented the peculiar, non-instrumental nature of educational attitudes. ’ From this we are expected to conclude that children are not moral agents and our attitudes to them are not moral. Nevertheless, if we have indeed educational attitudes to children that can be plausibly characterised as ‘moral’, then the Strawsonian reasoning above can be shown to be question-begging. Part of what is essential about educational attitudes is that the sort of blame exemplified by the father’s scolding of his child has to belong in some way to the same category as the sort of blame that the child himself is meant to bestow upon the same type of actions – and ultimately upon their agents – when these become of his concern once the child has acquired full membership of the moral community.

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