Accession Number : ADA309217

Title :   Self-Determination and Moral Character: Elements of a Theory of Identification.

Descriptive Note : Master's thesis,

Corporate Author : AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH

Personal Author(s) : Rhodes, William H.

PDF Url : ADA309217

Report Date : 1996

Pagination or Media Count : 212

Abstract : Fostering the self-determination of good moral character is a practical problem in need of theoretical insight. The notion of psychic identification, developed in the work of Harry Frankfurt and Gerald Dworkin, holds promise for improving our understanding of self-determination, but the notion has so far been characterized only thinly. I offer some elements of a theory of identification and some practical recommendations for fostering the self-determination of good moral character in that theoretical light. I critically review Frankfurt's philosophical anthropology and propose some enhancements to it. I discuss Dworkin's notion of procedural independence, and recommend an alternative understanding of the privileged nature of the self that identifies. I conceive of the identifying self, at the phenomenological level, as a psychic referee which enjoys an epistemologically privileged position, not an ontologically privileged one. I offer a partial analysis of identification under such a conception as the authoritative, purposive commitment of the self to a particular way of being. Though many views of identification seem to presuppose that it is an explicit process, I maintain that it is often implicit, though it is nevertheless a sort of psychic activity. Identification is shown to ground self-regarding moral emotions. After examining a model of moral education inspired by Daniel Callahan, I suggest that such an approach should be supplemented with experimental learning because such experimental learning can foster morally worthy identification.

Descriptors :   *ATTITUDES(PSYCHOLOGY), *ETHICS, PERFORMANCE(HUMAN), COGNITION, STRESS(PSYCHOLOGY), REASONING, MORALE, THESES, PROBLEM SOLVING, PERSONALITY TESTS, MOTIVATION, JUDGEMENT(PSYCHOLOGY), PSYCHOMETRICS, PERCEPTION(PSYCHOLOGY), PERSONALITY, INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS, INTELLIGENCE(HUMANS), REACTION(PSYCHOLOGY), ROLES(BEHAVIOR), DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, EMOTIONS.

Subject Categories : Psychology

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE