chapter  7
19 Pages

Practical Reason, Goal Pursuit, and Acting Well

In thinking about the state of character that is going to be most effective in reliably and predictably enabling us to act well, strength of character becomes an important consideration. We want to know what kind of character can help us overcome notorious obstacles to acting well. How can we avoid falling victim to the temptations of self-deception? How can we become strong enough that we are the ones to pick up the phones and call the police while our neighbors stand by idle? How can we avoid being so preoccupied with our day-to-day lives that we end up allowing meaningless commitments to overshadow our basic obligation to help another human being? We do so by developing strong, good, moral characters. An essential component of so doing is committing to goals that refl ect our beliefs about how it is that we ought to treat and interact with others. The nature and degree of our goal commitments, we will see, typically has a strong impact on how it is that our beliefs interact with our dispositions and on whether we end up acting well.