Idleness, Usefulness and Self-Constitution

Critical Horizons 14 (2):181-199 (2013)
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The core argument of the paper is that the modern philosophical notion of self-constitution is directed against the prospect of human beings dissolving into idleness. Arguments for self-constitution are marked by non-philosophical presuppositions about the value of usefulness. Those arguments also assume a particular conception of superior experience as conscious integration of a person’s actions within an identifiable set of chosen commitments. Exploring particular arguments by Hegel, Kant, Korsgaard and Frankfurt the paper claims that those arguments are problematic in the various ways in which they suppose usefulness and explicitly or implicitly take extra-philosophical views of idleness.
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