Duties of a Free Person
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The following is an attempt to ground personal duty – duty which is both believed and felt by all agents. To do this, I look at two contrasting attempts. The first is a rationalist attempt, which tries to ground it in conceptual necessity, the second an empiricist one, which uses empirical fact as its basis. In particular, it uses contingent facts about the things which are agents (people, for example), and what makes them feel a sense of duty. I argue that, ultimately, it is this type of grounding of duty which can be successful. Throughout, I emphasize two crucial points. The first is the freedom of the individual; the second is that duty is not a "want" or "desire;" rather, it is quite often what one does against one's own wants or desires. I argue that a paradigmatic example of establishing duty is Harry Frankfurt's theory of autonomous love.