Dialogue 40 (2):411-411 (2001)

Basil Smith
Saddleback College
This is an insightful and clear group of essays which continues the work of an earlier collection called The Importance of What We Care About. In the earlier book, Frankfurt attempted to develop a theory of ideals independent of moral concerns. As he put it, “there is nothing distinctly moral about ideals such as being steadfastly loyal to a family tradition, or selflessly pursuing mathematical truth”. In Necessity, Volition, and Love, Frankfurt extends this theme. He says philosophers should pay attention to not morality, but to “issues that have to do with what people are to care about, with their commitment to ideals, and with the protean role in our lives played by various forms of love”. The book has an impressive coherence of themes. Frankfurt develops his interest in ideals by cataloguing various limitations of reason, then doing the same for various limits on the freedom of the will; lastly, he notes how such limitations reveal the manifold character of human love.
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0012-2173
DOI 10.1017/s0012217300018758
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