Singer Vs. Frankfurt: How To Live Uf Theory Of Happiness And Well Being Essay

1515 words - 7 pages

Justin Bodner
What Frankfurt means when he says that we ought to prioritize “What we care about” as opposed to “What we should care about” is that what makes something important to us isn’t the reasons for why we care about it; caring about something makes something important in itself. Living a meaningful and happy life on his account is not to decide on the right things to care about, but to understand by using practical reason what is important to us. For Frankfort, taking care of things that are important to us is a necessary condition of living well, and again, things are important to us because we care about it, and for no other reasons. There may be reasons that we care about it, for instance in the case of a college roommate, one will spend a large portion of his time with his roommate, and after going through a year of school and parties, one will start to care about his or her roommate. As he goes through more and more with the roommate, his care for him will continue to grow (assuming that these experiences are positive, for the most part). These things that one cares about aren’t considerations of self-interest or morality; they are simply what one wants to want in their life. Often times there can be no rhyme or reason to why someone wants to want something, it is just what one wants. “The fact that people ordinarily do not hesitate in their commitments to the continuation of their lives, and to the well-being of their children, does not derive from any actual consideration by them of reasons; nor does it depend even upon an assumption that good reasons could be found. These commitments are innate in us. They are not based upon deliberation.” (Frankfurt, 28)
Committing one’s self to certain things, people, and activities will lead them to love them. This love, not to be confused with an erotic sort of love felt between two adults, is an extreme care about a person or thing; this care is as an end, not as a mean to another end. It can be concrete or abstract; the former referring to a certain thing like a person or a nation, and the latter referring to something like an idea or discipline. The love creates importance in the thing that is loved for the person, and the love is endorsed by the lover. In other words, it is not a feeling that is unwelcomed, but encouraged and wanted. While it is endorsed by the lover, it loving the thing, just like caring about something, is not a decision by an act of the will. We do not choose what we love, and there are certain things that we cannot help but to love. While reason is not used decide what to love, practical reason is used to find out what any individual loves. This practical reasoning is very important to the happiness of the individual; loving and taking care of what one loves makes us happy because it gives life meaning, and according to Frankfurt having meaning occupies most of what it is to live well. This meaningful activity is not determined by what one loves, but strictly by the...

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