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Attachments and the moral psychology of internal conflicts

Raffaele Rodogno


What does it mean for an individual to be conflicted about something or to undergo an internal conflict? What is it exactly that comes into conflict? In what sense, if at all, is the self involved in these conflicts? The bulk of this paper aims to answer these questions. As we go along doing this, a specific view of internal conflicts will emerge. On this view, being conflicted is something that can be understood only by reference to the so-called attachments of the conflicted individual. This view is then contrasted with Harry Frankfurt’s (1988c) view of internal conflicts. Finally, we will move from the characterization of this phenomenon to a short discussion of its ethics. Why or how do internal conflicts matter? Should they always be solved?


internal conflicts; ambivalence; moral psychology; Harry Frankfurt; identification; attachments.

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