Autonomy as Second Nature: On McDowell's Aristotelian Naturalism

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 51 (6):563-580 (2008)
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Abstract

The concept of second nature plays a central role in McDowell's project of reconciling thought's external constraint with its spontaneity or autonomy: our conceptual capacities are natural in the sense that they are fully integrated into the natural world, but they are a second nature to us since they are not reducible to elements that are intelligible apart from those conceptual capacities. Rather than offering a theory of second nature and an account of how we acquire one, McDowell suggests that Aristotle's account of ethical character formation as the acquisition of a second nature serves as a model that can reassure us that thought's autonomy does not threaten its naturalness. However, far from providing such reassurance, the Aristotelian model of second nature actually generates an anxiety about how the acquisition of such autonomous conceptual abilities could be possible

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David Forman
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Citations of this work

Training, Transformation and Education.David Bakhurst - 2015 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 76:301-327.
Natural Conditions of (Kantian) Majority.Jörg Volbers - 2011 - In Vanessa Brito Emiliano Battista & Jack Fischer (eds.), Becoming Major/Becoming minor. Jan Van Eyck Academie. pp. 25-35.

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References found in this work

Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe.
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.Richard Rorty - 1979 - Princeton University Press.
Mind and World.John McDowell - 1994 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Inquiries Into Truth And Interpretation.Donald Davidson - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Ethics and the limits of philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1985 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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