Laudable revisited

In one of my recent posts I wrote about laudability (see that post here).  I’ve been rethinking my argument on the matter.  Originally I said that the only laudable actions are those generated by agency.  However, I think there is a problem with this analysis, namely it seems to me that the concept of laudable only makes sense with an opposite.  That is to say, I’m not sure that acting in fashion x can be laudable without not acting in fashion x is somehow negative.  Since my account of laudable is ‘acts autonomously’ it seems to follow naturally that it is somehow blameworthy to fail to be autonomous.  However, by my argument, one’s autonomous state is not something done.  This ties back to my post on epistemic injustice, in that I think it is much easier for those who are privileged to be autonomous.  Therefore I do not feel that I can justify finding people laudable for their autonomous actions.

I’m quite hesitant in this judgement.  It is very counter-intuitive to me to say that there are no laudable actions.  However, at the moment, I haven’t thought of a way for one agent to be more laudable then the next.  All actions, good or ill, are products of circumstance and innate unearned properties of an agent.  This doesn’t mean that we cannot praise those actions we consider good, but this praise seems inevitably to be pragmatic affirmation, as opposed to recognizing some action of the agent.  Praise is essentially the statement ‘I like the being you are’.

Let me know what you think,

Creative Philo

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