Freedom as Sensitive to Reasons, Habits, and Character

In: Habits in Mind

This chapter gives an account of the relationship between an agent’s reasons, her moral character, and the exercise of her free will. I argue for what I call the reasons-constraint on free action: roughly, the claim that if at time t an agent sees no reason for doing a particular action, then the agent is incapable at t of freely choosing to perform that action. I then show how what an agent sees as reasons, and how she weighs those reasons, depends upon her moral character. An agent’s moral character thus puts constraints on what actions she is capable of freely choosing to perform.

Habits in Mind

Integrating Theology, Philosophy, and the Cognitive Science of Virtue, Emotion, and Character Formation