Practical Necessity and Personality

In Jonathan Webber & Alberto Masala (eds.), From Personality to Virtue. Essays in the Philosophy of Character. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 81-105 (2016)

Katharina Bauer
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
This paper argues that certain expressions of practical necessity – like ‘I have to do this, I do not have a choice’ or ‘Here I stand, I can do no other’ – allow an insight into deep structures of personality and self-understanding. They point at a limit where someone would have to ‘become another person’ (in his own view), if he was forced to an alternative decision, because of neglecting ground-projects and convictions, which are essential for his self-conception. This limit is marked by a loss of autonomy and authenticity. The paper discusses why and in how far expressions of personal necessities seem to have a special value and authority as they call forth the respect of the other towards an individual personality, even though this does not exclude that there may also be a necessity of self-reform.
Keywords practical necessity  personal necessity  ground-projects  autonomy  authenticity
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