|previous article in this issue||next article in this issue|
Document Details :
Title: Some Toughts About Caring
Author(s): FRANKFURT, Harry
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 5 Issue: 1 Date: April 1998
In their discussions of issues concerning the nature of human action, and also in their inquiries into the structure of practical reasoning, philosophers typically draw upon a more or less standard conceptual repertoire. The most familiar item in that repertoire is the indispensable, ubiquitous, and protean notion of what people want or — synonymously, at least in the usage that I shall adopt — what they desire. I believe that the elementary repertoire in which the concept of desire is so centrally situated needs to be enriched by the articulation of certain additional notions. It is more or less customary to identify the point of practical reasoning or deliberation simply as a matter of figuring out how to attain whatever goal it is that we want to reach. In many instances, however, what inspires our thinking and shapes our conduct is not that we merely want
one thing or another.
Often, what moves us is that there is something of which it is both more precise and more informative to say that we care about it or that we regard it as important to ourselves. In certain cases, it is appropriate to characterize what guides us in terms of a rather particular mode of caring — namely, love. It is with these concepts — what we care about, what we consider important to us, and what we love — that I shall here be concerned.