Commitment

Who we are is mainly constituted by on the one hand, the practical and epistemic commitments we actually live by, and that are implicit in our words and deeds, as measured by what we hold dear and are willing to sacrifice something else for; and on the other, our track record of responsibility in keeping our words and deeds in line. These together make up what Aristotle called our ethos (root of “ethics”, commonly translated as “character” or “culture”). Appraisals of such things are subject to standards of interpretive charity and reasonableness. Since this has to do purely with what we actually say and do, thinking of who we are as mainly constituted by these commitments does not depend on any extravagant assumptions about free will or exemption from natural causality. (See also Reasons; Ends; Choice, Deliberation; Practical Judgment; Error; Belief; Epistemic Conscientiousness; Honesty, Kindness; Intellectual Virtue, Love; Rational/Talking Animal; Second Nature.)