Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (1):13-26 (2014)

In this paper, I argue against certain dogmas about ambivalence and alienation. Authors such as Harry Frankfurt and Christine Korsgaard demand a unity of persons that excludes ambivalence. Other philosophers such as David Velleman have criticized this demand as overblown, yet these critics, too, demand a personal unity that excludes an extreme form of ambivalence (“radical ambivalence”). I defend radical ambivalence by arguing that, to be true to oneself, one sometimes needs to be radically ambivalent. Certain dogmas about alienation are even more entrenched. Allen Wood’s entry on “alienation” in the Oxford Companion to Philosophy begins as follows: “A psychological or social evil, characterized by one or another type of harmful separation, disruption or fragmentation, which sunders things that belong together.” I think that it is not true that self-alienation is necessarily “harmful.” I argue that radical ambivalence is a form of self-alienation. Thus, because faithfulness to oneself sometimes requires radical ambivalence, to be true to oneself, one sometimes needs to be alienated from oneself
Keywords Ambivalence  Alienation  Estrangement  Wholeheartedness  Personal unity  Internal conflict
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-013-9464-x
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References found in this work BETA

Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 2003 - In Gary Watson (ed.), Free Will. Oxford University Press.
Necessity, Volition, and Love.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1998 - Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

A Wholehearted Defense of Ambivalence.D. Justin Coates - 2017 - The Journal of Ethics 21 (4):419-444.
Cares, Identification, and Agency Reductionism.Christopher Evan Franklin - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):577-598.
The Openness of Attitudes and Action in Ambivalence.Hili Razinsky - 2015 - South African Journal of Philosophy 34 (1):79-92.

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