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Self-Mastery and Stoic Ethics Keith Campbell Philosophy, Vol. 60, No. 233. (Jul., 1985), pp. 327-340.

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Self-mastery and Stoic Ethics


Self-mastery in the Moral Life

For the Stoic hero, the man or woman of virtue, the conduct of life presents no serious problems. T h e life of the sage comprises a consistent and effortless flow of actions, all conforming to virtue and all undertaken for the sake of their place in a virtuous life. T h e Stoic sage has advanced to a point where a life of courage and wisdom, justice and temperance comes easily and naturally, without struggle and without repinings. This stage of serene, single-minded goodness is an ideal, an ideal rarely, if ever, achieved. For us, virtue is not yet attained. Nevertheless, it is our business to make progress in that direction. Precisely because we are not sages this is not easy, for it requires struggle with tendencies contrary to virtue. We find alternatives to virtue attractive, and often our first impulse is to act out of one of these alternatives; cowardice, greed, sloth, or pride, for example. That the life of virtue does not arise automatically, but is to be won only by painful effort, is no news, but a moralist's commonplace. T h e idea is expressed in calls for mastery of self, control of the passions, or victory over one's disgraceful side. These are all images of strife or warfare in the personality, a struggle whose successful outcome is described as a victory over or conquest of self.

The Stoic Dilemma

Stoics are not ascetics. By this I mean that unlike the fiercer sort of Calvinist they do not regard desires and appetites as themselves inherently evil. Consequently they do not consider self-mastery as an intrinsic moral good but as a means only. Self-mastery is something which, as things in fact stand with us, is essential for the attainment of virtue, since, as a contingent matter, we have a wayward and disorderly constitution. Because self-mastery is involved in the growth of virtue, even if only as a means, there must be a place for it in any adequate account of human personality and human action. Here a difficulty arises: in the Stoic philosophy of man the personality is a single, unified, reality.
Philosophy 60 1985

Keith Campbell

There is just one personal centre, the higemonikon, the self from which behaviour arises. T h e heemonikon is the rational governing principle. It alone, unchallengeable, determines every action. There are not two or more competing factors, reason and the passions, for example, or conscience and desire, whose fluctuating fortunes in a perennial civil war make up the soul's biography. If, however, there are not two opposing forces, how can there be room for mastery of self as a difficult condition to attain? ViThere your higemonikon is in good shape it judges rightly as to the good, and this judgment flows smoothly into honiz?, or impulse, and so into action. 170uare a sage, and there is no call for self-mastery. Where, as is more probable, your hEgernonikon cannot be relied upon to judge rightly as to what is to be done, it is likely to favour improperly your own temporary and partial advantage. I n this case also your judgment, erroneous as it is, carries your assent into impulse and action. There are no means, no forces, by which your judgment could be overthrown. There is nothing within you by which your errant hegemonikon could be mastered. So in this case self-mastery is impossible. Here then is the dilemma: on a Stoic, unitary conception of the person, the self-mastery which moral experience shows to be both possible and needful emerges as either impossible or unnecessary. I n what follows I attempt three tasks: to show that the division of the mind into hostile camps is untenable, to account for moral conflict and moral development on a unitary theory of the personality, and to defend such a unitary theory against contemporary pluralistic accounts.

The Metaphor of Internecine Strife

Any account of the soul which divides it into distinct factions provides an attractive model of self-mastery as the triumph of one faction over all others. Growth in virtue can be depicted as the steadier, more complete, and more permanent triumph of the higher or the highest self over the enemy within. T h e structure of the model is the same whether the protagonists are Plato's reason, spirit, and passions, or St Paul's spirit and flesh, or Freud's psychic dramatis personae. .And for our purposes all accounts of the matter in terms of civil war are open to the same objections. There cannot be, literally, a civil war within the self. Any conflict between warring factions must be given a metaphorical gloss, for there cannot be many entities of the required type within a single personality.

Self-mastery and Stoic Ethics

T h e fundamental reason for this is that a real conflict calls for two parties, each of which has purposes, plans for accomplishing them, and means for furthering the plans. So, on Plato's version, for example, Reason would require motivation and effector mechanisms, while Passion would need means for perception and reasoning. Both sides must be complete personal agents. T h e civil war model has universal schizophrenia as a consequence, and that amounts to a reductio a d absurdum. A further objection to the civil war model is that it accords our good actions to a 'higher' element-reason or conscience-while bad behaviour is attributed to a distinct, lower, agent, passion or desire. This is unrealistic because untrue to moral experience. It is the same agent which behaves well on some occasions and ill on others. Further, if we identify the 'real' or 'true' self with the higher element, it would follow that all selfish, harmful, or otherwise evil actions were the work, not of ourselves, but of an alien invader. Responsibility is not to be so easily avoided. Although the inner conflict must be given merely metaphorical standing, nevertheless, it is a most compelling model. It arises out of real experience of disharmony, of being divided, of lacking integration (three more expressions exploiting the same metaphor). This experience must be given a place in our moral psychology; it is not to be swept aside, but a literal rendering of it must be found. Furthermore, if the Stoics' moral psychology is to survive, this experience, and its literal rendering, must be accommodated to the doctrine of the soul's domination by the hegemonikon. On their account, all and only the acts proceeding from one hegemonikon are acts of one self. There is only one complete personal structure embracing thought, decision, and action in a person. T h e hegemonikon is its sole director. It receives inputs of various kinds, from the perceptual system, from memory, from the springs of desire. This is raw material for the hegemonikon's function as the logos or rational principle. T h e hegemonikon frames lekta or propositional contents specifying various possible states of affairs as attainable in the existing situation. It then gives assent to lekta specifying one of these ends and a means to it. If and only if the self gives assent to a lekton specifying an end does activity directed to that end occur. All moral activity is the product of an assenting adult in private. So far the possibility of moral conflict or the difficulty of moral struggle does not emerge. Assent or dissent is, according to Stoics anyway, 'within our power'. Nothing can make you assent to the lekton 'This is the best thing to do'. If one assents, it is because one so judges. If one so judges, that is one's self at work. What is difficult about assent? And what is the literal content of the metaphors of inner strife?

Keith Campbell

Moral Conflict o n the Stoic Model: Making u p One's Mind

A unitary personality can be subject to conflicting appeals. T h e self can simultaneously endorse, or almost endorse, lekta proposing incompatible courses of action. I n such cases we hesitate and are in doubt over what to do. Moral conflict is a special case of this, usually, a case where duty conflicts with our own pleasure, or ease, or gain. T h e process of making u p one's mind what to do corresponds for practical reason to theoretical reason's dilemma in making u p one's mind what is the case. \\:e can simultaneously endorse, or almost endorse, incompatible propositions, in situations where there is conflicting evidence. For both practical and theoretical reason there can be, simultaneously, considerations in favour of incompatible alternatives. \Ye use the same metaphor, of inclination, in both cases. l y e are inclined towards both courses of action, and inclined to believe both hypotheses. When the opposite attractions are approximately equal, we 'lean' equally in opposite directions. That is, it can be a difficult matter to settle which is the better side to endorse. Where the question is one concerning ourselves, coming to a judgment can be painful as well as difficult, marking a further correspondence between the theoretical and the practical cases. T h e pain and difficulty need not depend only on approximately equal strength of evidence on either side-think of the question: 'Was my beloved father really a protection racketeer and purveyor of contaminated foods for profit?' Here the difficulty lies in accepting the evidence, not in balancing it, IVe have motives to accept or reject evidence, other than its relevance to the question at hand. Similarly, we have motives to assent to courses of action other than their relation to virtue. T h e process of making u p one's mind has never, in the theoretical case, been thought to call for a division of the personality into two or more separate seats of reason and judgment. Even where the process of deciding is difficult and painful, this is because the one Reason confronts several equally compelling alternatives, and recognizes the claims of each. Among the considerations for or against various lekta are factors other than logical weight, such as desire, prejudice, pride, fear, a n d p a r t i p r i s . When these become determining factors, what we are dealing with are intellectual temptations, and corruptions of the intellect, which are to be resisted. Corruption and temptation are factors having a distorting effect on the processes of thinking. They can be present and effective in thinking on either theoretical or practical questions. Where they are effective, they issue in assent to the wrong lekta. In the moral sphere, the conflict between virtue and desire is, in literal terms, the impulse to assent to incompatible lekta on the basis of different sorts of favourable consideration.

Self-mastery and Stoic Ethics

T h e considerations which appeal to us fall into reasonably stable clusters, and our assenting responses take on recognizable patterns. These are our dispositions and habits, tendencies and cast of character. So that it is not just isolated events of conflict between different inclinations, but rather stable incompatibilities with which we must deal. Whole stable chunks of our personalities are at odds with one another. This is what gives the civil war model much of its appeal: the incompatible inclinations to assent to different lekta are not isolated and fleeting elements which could be thought of as external to the self, but must be included within the self's boundaries. Their stability and complexity encourages us to conceptualize them as quasi-personalities in their own right. We are of course conscious of the incompatibilities involved and can assess the sorts of action to which various sorts of consideration give rise. If some sorts are judged preferable to others, those aspects of the self which issue in the preferred sorts of action will be looked on with most favour. T h u s arises the tendency to identify one's 'true' self with the favoured aspects, excluding the rest as alien. T h e tendency is natural, and may sometimes be a salutary way of repudiating and so eliminating springs of vicious action, but it is, in strictness of language, an error. If the considerations which lead to assent to a non-virtuous course of behaviour did not belong to me, or the 'true' me, the true me would not be moved by them. That it is habits and dispositions with which we have to deal, as well as particular episodes, is true no less of theoretical reason and its vicissitudes than it is of practical reason and the carrying through of the well-lived life. T h e Stoics can appeal to the correspondences between theoretical and practical reason in their claim that the right conduct of life consists in the right management of the practical lekta, giving assent to, and hence acting in accordance with, the appropriate ones only. This account of the matter admits the possibility of struggle and difficulty, yet retains the unitary h.Zgernonikon. T h e Stoic notion that for the life of virtue, what is both necessary and sufficient is that we make u p our mimds to it, is a noble and salutary one. T o the problems with assent in this doctrine I will return. If moral temptation and conflict proves to be one species of difficulty in making up one's mind, what of moral growth? How is that possible if the self is an undivided unity?

Keith Campbell

Moral Improvement and the Unitary Person

We are both imperfect and improvable because we are complex. T h a t is, we are apt to give our assent to many different, often incompatible courses of action. And we give assent for many reasons, of unequal worth. Not all the hqqernonikon's spontaneous acts of assent are in conformit! with virtue; it is in this that imperfection consists. Plainly improvement consists in assenting in a way which deviates from virtue less and less. T h e first step in improvement is to recognize the need for it. As rational agents we can judge, among other things, the ht?gemo?zikon's spontaneous acts. T h a t requires that we pass under review, and assess, elements in our own character and behaviour, surveying stretches of time and referring actual cases to ideal standards. These are notable accomplishments, but no more mysterious when what is judged forms part of our own lives rather than somebody else's. Nor does self-assessment, that is, critique of what we have done or have been, will do or will be, require a self with multiple elements of the civil war kind. In self-assessment, the objects of judgment are not distinct complete agents, quasi-persons within the self, but actual or proposed a c t i ~ i t y and the sort of personality from which such activity could arise. Paradox looms if self-assessment is wrongly thought to include this renpr-esent uct of self-nssrssi?z~jl~dgwzer~t . Self-assessment is not so impossibly comprehensive as to include its own present self, though earlier self-assessments can become the subject of subsequent ones. T h e self can be single, that is, one centre of decision, action, and so responsibility, without being simple. T o be simple is to be without components. T h e theory of a single hegemonikon does not rule out a complexity of senses and kinds of input into the h6gemonikon's decision processes. Recognition of disharmony and imperfection requires a self which can be single although not simple. It is also possible to give an account of amendment in these terms. Amendment proceeds through assent. We can give or withhold assent, and without assent, action cannot follow. T o improve in virtue, we need only stop giving assent to such false lekta as: I t is best that I should run away from this confrontation, or shirk this disagreeable task, or whatever course of action it may be which, although incompatible with virtue, is currently so appealing. Persons of imperfect virtue have been assenting to the wrong lektn because their assent has been determined by egocentric, partial, or short-term considerations. These unworthy determinants can come to weigh less. T h e y can give way gradually, progressively, to determinants which conform to virtue. As moralists put it, habit can be fought by habit.

Self-mastery and Stoic Ethics

Over time, the considerations which up till now have yielded one pattern of assents can cease to be decisive. When this occurs, the life in question takes on a new pattern. T h e new7 pattern can be one more nearly in conformity with virtue. So growth in virtue is possible. But if alteration in assent is all that is required, and assent is within our power, why should such a process be in any way slow, painful, or difficult? Where is the difficulty? Why is effort required?

The Difficulty of Moral Growth

Epictetus, that most uncompromising of Stoic thinkers, deals with the matter thus: assent is within our power, always and absolutely. Our responsibility for assent is total, so everything we genuinely do, rather than suffer, is ours, and ours alone. Assent is the one thing needful. In reality, there is nothing harder about living with courage and temperance, justice and wisdom, than with their contraries. Those, for example, who in cowardly fashion shun pain and death, do so because they mistakenly think that pain and death are evils. In truth, since pain and death lie outside the sphere of what it is ours to determine, they are matters indifferent. Cowards need only to be enlightened on this matter. Epictetus leaves the impression that enlightening people on this question of the indifference of pain and death will be like telling them that the horse they favour is in reality a broken winded cripple. This news will alter the pattern of their assents. T h e lekton 'Let me wager on this horse' will lose assent naturally, automatically, painlessly. Now a11 we know of Epictetus tells us he was a man of serene and dauntless courage, able to treat the prospects of pain and death with the sublime indifference his position seems to require. But lesser mortals are different. For them changing the pattern of assent in the direction of virtue is neither automatic nor easy. Not even effort is guaranteed to be availing. So the problem of how growth in virtue is difficult remains.

The Model of the Soul in Training

As everyone knows, in golf the swing is very important. As everyone who has tried it knows, mankind is in a state of original sin when it comes to the golf swing. Left to ourselves, we do it badly. Our frames give assent to a lekton whose content specifies how to swing, but the specification proves to be inaccurate. We require modification. We must learn new habits, at first difficult, painful, against the grain. Eventually, so I'm told, comfortable, natural and satisfying.

Keith Campbell

T o improve our golf, we put ourselves to school. We go into training, we seek advice, we follow experts, we practise. We stick at it through disheartening episodes. Perhaps slowly and with difficulty, we improve. Here, in many ways, is a model for striving after virtue. Perhaps because neither Plato nor S t Paul played golf, we do not inherit an account of this matter which contrasts the fleshly passions of hook, slice, and complete miss with the rational spirituality of lowered head and smoothly circling arms. T h e very same agent, the self, is going wrong, recognizing this, and taking steps to amend. Amendment, in the case of golf, requires rearrangement of the order of importance of the various factors which combine in determining the outcome. As these factors are embedded in our habitual sense of bodily well-being when we swing, rearranging them does not come directly and easily from recognizing and assenting to the need for rearrangement. I n the case of virtue, re-ordering the factors determining assent is also required. Egocentricity, sloth, the over-emphasis which average sensual man gives to pleasure and pain, result in assents inimical to virtue. These factors impose a distortion on the process of deciding what to do, and contra Epictetus, this distortion does not evaporate the minute it is recognized. But there is no contradiction in the view that assent is both difficult and also in our power. 'One becomes virtuous through performing virtuous acts', said Chrysippus, following * h i s t otle. Golf coaches give the corresponding advice on improving one's game. Practice and perseverance can modify not just the more superficial matter of acknowledging that a proposed course of action would be an improvement, but even assent in its full depth, the assent which determines how we act.

The Model of the Soul's Health

One image for the soul in difficulties over virtue is that of want of instruction and discipline, as with sports and the need for training. Another image is that of want of health and strength. , 4 personality in good condition, robust and healthy, would be an Epictetus, finding no difficulty in giving effective assent where assent is due. But most of us have souls in an unhealthy state, hggemonika in which appropriate assent is not always smoothly effectual. For such selves, the task of rightly patterning assent is burdensome. We must here avoid the image of disease; that is a model involving an invasion, in which passion or vice are thought of as alien intruders on the 'true self'. What is required, rather, is the concept of convalescence.

Self-mastery and Stoic Ethics

T h e convalescent is not in the grip of any foreign power. But he lacks the vigour, endurance, toughness, and strength to carry out the full round of human activities. He is, in each of these various ways, weak. Weakness is one way in which assent can be rendered of no effect. With bodily weakness, there is no philosophical problem. T h e convalescent merely dramatizes our normal condition of limited power. In situations where what we have undertaken is beyond our power, it can be the literal and unproblematic truth that we really want to do X , really give our assent to the lekto~z : 'It is best that I do X', and yet cannot, and so do not, do it. This is particularly plain where we only discover in the attempt that the undertaking is indeed beyond us. But what about moral weakness (the problem of akrasia)?In the case of bodily weakness, the limbs are effector organs with their own limitations, of which convalescence reminds us. But in the moral case, what is difficult is not managing to do X , but rather making up my mind to do it (or, perhaps more commonly, making up my mind not to do it). When the question is one of embezzling the funds or adulterating the foodstuffs there is no bodily impediment. If my mind is made up one way or the other, the effect will indeed follow. No forces stronger than my own muscles drive me on into acts of injustice or folly. If I act in ways involving injustice or folly, it is because I have failed to decide not to. T h e acts did have my assent, despite anthing I may protest about not really wanting to do such things. So it seems that the model of the invalid is not an appropriate one for the person finding virtue difficult. But let us look into it a little further. In convalescence, we are enfeebled not just in limb and wind, but in determination too. In good health, we have some resources enabling us to make repeated attempts at something difficult or demanding. In convalescence, these are partly taken from us. We give up. We give in. This is not a matter of failure in effector organs. It is a failure at the level of giving assent, namely, acquiescence. We acquiesce in 'I do not bring about X', that is, we assent to it, but with reluctance, since we would prefer that X be the case. Since we are all, whatever our condition, constantly in this situation, perhaps convalescence is not such an unsuitable model after all. Much acquiescence is inevitable, and much more is blameless. But what of one who acquiesces in 'I remain an addict' or 'hly work is slovenly' although he recognizes the merit in the lekta 'I stop taking heroin' or 'I get up earlier'? Can he really plead that assent to the latter is beyond him? Is he literally unable to assent as he prefers? T h e Stoic answer at this point is: provided you are in good shape, you can always assent as virtue requires. But you may be in a feeble condition, vitiated by poor upbringing or deleterious habits. In which case your business is to get back into shape.

Keith Campbell

This may require exercises, extensive but less severe demands on capacities for constancy and self-denial, to build up strength and habituate the 'convalescent' to what are, at first, the difficult paths of virtue. T h e purpose of such a regime is to reduce the extent of acquiescence, to make the preference for the difficult alternative more constantly effective. T h e regime is well directed if the pattern of activity it promotes is in fact a closer approach to virtue. ( I t is quite possible, of course, to go into training in the interests of vice.) Exercise, practice, habit, graduated progress, are thus elements which emerge from both the image of the soul in training and the metaphor of convalescence. These models of moral progress prove to coincide.

Habitual Virtue, Assent and Self-monitoring

Moral conflict and effort are conditions which make life a matter of deliberate and conscious choice among competing alternative courses of action. T h e account of this in terms of the h2gemonikon determining by its assent which, among various attractions, will be pursued, can leave the impression that conscious, deliberate activity is the only kind. I n Stoic authors there is often the suggestion that this is at least some sort of ideal; the sage is always fully aware of what he or she is doing, and why, for that is an element in the full rationality towards which human beings strive. But much of life is not conducted on this basis at all. Indeed it could not be, for deliberation and decision are too time-consuming. It is by establishing routines and habits that we get some efficiency into our use of time. Patterns of activity which are, at least usually, satisfactory, are repeated without further deliberation. T h e consideration of alternatives is suppressed. We dress, get breakfast, take one of many routes to work, and, on a higher level, set up patterns of steadiness and energy, or the reverse, not by making a choice on every occasion, but just because this is our established way of doing things. What is done habitually is not only efficient, it is undertaken without the need for effort. Habitual virtue is a large component in the sage's effortlessly virtuous life. Acting out of habit is sometimes described as doing things 'without thinking', which is accurate where this means 'without deliberating'. But it does not imply that we do not realize what we are doing. Habitual activity is not sleep-walking. In these cases it is still possible to speak of assent as an essential component in the determinants of action. For we realize what we are doing, and do not object. We are set along a given line, and are monitoring ourselves to ensure that we pursue that line. This self-

Self-mastery and Stoic Ethics

monitoring provides continual opportunities to change direction. So long as we do not change, the path we pursue is one to which we assent. What is done out of habit is something for which we are held responsible, and rightly, for it was something to which we assented. One in the grip of what he himself considers to be a bad habit is in a state of repeated acquiescence, i.e. more or less reluctant assent, and recognizes the need to form other habits. Recognizing a habit as bad is, of course, often itself an important piece of progress. T h e Stoic thesis of a single unitary self, distinguished by reason, consciously managing disparate motivational forces, is not invalidated by the existence of habitual patterns of behaviour any more than by the existence of inconsistent purposes and desires.

Acquiescence and Self -mastery

Moral progress consists in progress towards a shapely pattern of assents, that is, a pattern of choices and habits conforming to virtue. That this requires sustained efforts should be no surprise. There is no reason to expect that achieving a shapely pattern of assents will be any easier than attainments of other worthwhile kinds. As with any achievement which calls for effort, we are entitled to declare that virtue is beyond us only after a serious attempt to attain it. T h e test of seriousness is willingness to undertake the hardships involved. One who declares his desire to play Chopin's Polonaises, but takes none of the appropriate preliminary steps, is not serious. He is not entitled to claim that Chopin is beyond him. T h e reason for his inability to play Chopin lies not in his incapacity but in his unwillingness to undergo the requisite rigours. Similarly, people who have not worked appropriately at attaining virtue are not entitled to excuse themselves with claims of incapacity. Virtue is too hard for them because they have not got their hegemonikon into a healthy condition, capable of a shapely pattern of assents. And capable, in particular, of appropriate refusal, and so of a shapely, rather than overblown, pattern of acquiescence. Apart from inertia, the factors at work in misplaced acquiescence are egocentricity, desire, and fear. Where these carry excessive weight they exact assent despite the person's calm judgment. In such cases the self lacks self-command. Where these factors exert no more than their proper influence, self-mastery is achieved.

Keith Campbell

Unity of the Mind

T h e course of the discussion so far has been this: the Stoic conception of the hFgemonikon as sole determinant of action is incompatible with the civil strife model of moral struggle and moral progress. But the civil strife model is itself to be rejected, and the conceptions of making up one's mind, and striving for a shapely pattern of acquiescence, yield an account of moral difficulty and moral growth compatible with the Stoic theory of the personality. However, the doctrine of the unity of the mind, so prominent in Stoic thought, is presently under challenge in philosophical psychology. Functionalism divides the mind into components. Artificial intelligence models deal in sub-routines and information exchanges. Split-brain experiment and speculation conceives of the mind as a plurality of interacting entities. T h e more theoretical branches of psychology proper, such as personality theory, also generally deal in more or less integrated groups of diverse elements. T h e brain has interrelated parts. So one would expect the mind to have parts also. And some of these, one anticipates, will be modern versions of the passions, drives, or instincts which appear in earlier civil war models of the disharmonious soul. Further, there is no prospect whatever of finding any explanations for the human capacity for complex feats of thought and decision except by appealing to a multitude of processes, most of them inevitably unconscious, which are combined and synthesized in the workings of an adult mind. But these kinds of complexity are not really at odds with the Stoic conception of the hFgemonikon. I n Stoic jargon, there can be many contributors, of various sorts, to the process of getting an attractive lekton before the mind. T h e Stoic conception does not rule out, but rather actually calls for, a variety of structures in the self all tending to issue in behaviour. For unless there are several of these, the phenomenon of dilemma, of being in doubt or difficulty as to what one should think or should do, could not arise. T h e mind or person can and does have sub-systems. LThat one person cannot, and does not, have are a plurality of systems each in turn capable of capturing our effector mechanisms (limbs, tongues, and so forth) and using them in full consciousness, deliberately, voluntarily, purposefully, with assent and self-monitoring. Our effector mechanisms can be taken over by reflex, overcome by drugs, or manipulated by hypnotists, but in such cases we cease to be agents.

Self-mastery and Stoic Ethics

There is also a middle state between deliberate decision and action on the one hand, and reflex or manipulation on the other. This is the realm of habit so ingrained as to be automatic. Alanipulative skills, those involved in driving or playing a musical instrument, for example, can be like this. T h e driver can be giving her mind to conversation, or navigation, or the traffic, the musician can be concentrating entirely on interpretation, and yet in either case manipulation of the controls need not falter. Performances calling for more sophisticated responses to information can also go, as it were, on to 'auto-pilot' and be left in the hands of centres lower on the mind's functional hierarchy than the fully conscious pinnacle. T h e cook can be simultaneously planning the order in which the meal is to be prepared, and executing a part of the planpeeling the potatoes-which can be done on auto-pilot even though it needs to make use of vision, memory, judgment, and dexterity. Performances which can be relegated to auto-pilot are performances of the one self for all that. For in the normal case they are at any time open to being taken over by consciously exercised agency. T h e h2gemonikon in a properly functioning adult person keeps the subsystems under review. Driver, musician, and cook should be aware, at every stage, of how far through the automatic performance they have got. Unexpected developments should at once return the performance to conscious control. We have many auto-pilots at many levels in our mental organization. They increase efficiency and flexibility, but they are not rival selves. Schizophrenia is an altogether different matter. So is the state of mind (or minds?) produced by separating the hemispheres of the brain. In a normal person there is one central final determiner of action, just one genuine agent. That there is only one centre of agency in a person follows from the unity of remembered, planned, and acknowledged action. There is, in the normal case, just one on-going life being led, one conductor of that life, which is responsible for, and takes responsibility for, all the person's agency. This is done full-heartedly where the agent is untroubled over the action; but responsibility is also accepted for those actions where acquiescence has been somehow wrung from the agent, and which are therefore done 'in bad conscience', as we say. Such actions are actions of the same agent as the acts of which the agent is proud. T h e concept of a human person is the concept of a single, continuing agent, responsible for all the past actions and future projects centring on a given human organism. T h e concept of a person is essentially the concept of a complex of elements dicharging mental functions and organized into an integrated hierarchy. There is a chief taskmaster or master programme, which censors, sets priorities, distributes

Keith Campbell

resources, and controls structures under it. There is only one pinnacle to the hierarchy. How completely the pinnacle determines the operations of sub-systems can vary. It increases as people mature, declines in the decay of age. It can be shocked or traumatized into malfunction. 'Person' is to this degree a normative concept, in that it signifies a fully functioning integrated agent. \There the integration is lacking what we have is not one human person. Now of course no philosophy, Stoical or otherwise, can guarantee that the integration of thoughts, ideas, memories and so forth into one coherent agent ~villbe attained or sustained. But where it is not yet attained, or where disintegration has occurred, what we have is not a human person, but something less. I conclude that contemporary mental pluralism is not incompatible with the thesis of the human h?,genzonikon. T h a t thesis, in turn, is required to validate the essential conceptions of moral philosophy: agency, aspiration, and virtue.

C'nicersit~~ of Sydney