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Choosing to be changed: Revelation, identity and the ethics of self-transformation / Paddy, McQueen

Ethical Perspectives, Volume: 24, Issue: 4, Pages: 545 - 568

Swansea University Author: Paddy, McQueen

DOI (Published version): 10.2143/EP.24.4.3269042

Abstract

This paper examines the issue of deciding to change who one is. It focuses on Paul’s recent discussion of “transformative experiences”. Paul claims that, in order to make a rational decision to undergo a transformative experience, one should base one’s decision on “revelation”, i.e. to discover what...

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Published in: Ethical Perspectives
Published: 2017
Online Access: http://www.ethical-perspectives.be/page.php?FILE=ep_detail&ID=265&TID=2374
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa48282
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Abstract: This paper examines the issue of deciding to change who one is. It focuses on Paul’s recent discussion of “transformative experiences”. Paul claims that, in order to make a rational decision to undergo a transformative experience, one should base one’s decision on “revelation”, i.e. to discover what the experience will be like. If this solution is treated as the only means by which a transformative choice is made, then I argue that it is problematic. I offer two reasons why: (1) it overlooks or misconstrues the role that one’s practical identity should play when deciding to make a major life-decision; and (2) it ignores morally-relevant reasons for action. Even if we retain Paul’s revelation approach as only a part of the method by which a transformative choice is made, then I argue that the value of revelation should often count for little in our decision-making. Rather than focusing on the subjective quality of future experiences, it is often preferable to reflect on who one is and what one’s endorsed practical identity commits one to doing.
Keywords: Identity; L. A. Paul; Rational choicel; Revelation; Self-transformation; Transformative experiences
College: College of Arts and Humanities
Issue: 4
Start Page: 545
End Page: 568