Miscellaneous (한 + EN)


2019-10-03 23:43
The volitions we are able to form, the ambitions it occurs to us to develop—these are greatly influenced, perhaps even determined, by our powers and capacities. To "think big," to "resolve to go for broke," to steel oneself through self-control to perform demanding acts—do these reflect ambition or capacity? When we describe someone as ambitious, are we not describing something more basic to her psychology and constitution than her tastes? There are certainly circumstances in which we would say that lack of confidence is an incapacity that prevents the formation (not just the attainment) of particular ambitions. Different people have different capacities to form different ambitions, and those different capacities must be as morally arbitrary from Dworkin's point of view as any other capacities. Donald Trump is able to develop more far-reaching ambitions than Archie Bunker due at least partly to luck in the genetic pool and in the circumstances of his upbringing. Similar arguments can be made about the different abilities to form (or refrain from forming) different kinds of tastes, whether expensive, compulsive, or both.

— Ian Shapiro, Democratic Justice, pp. 157-158.