Drawing on John Dewey’s discussion of habit in Human Nature and Conduct and Simone de Beauvoir’s discussion of the “adventurer” in The Ethics of Ambiguity, I argue that while some of our relations with things and people may very well be instrumental, many take a different form in which it is our very setting, and not merely our attainment, of ends that is at stake. Moreover, the fullest realization of our freedom requires us to recognize not only that this different form of relation, which is cooperative rather than controlling, exists but also that it is constitutive of, rather than in opposition to, our freedom. I conclude by briefly examining how our honest acknowledgment of a kind of powerlessness inherent to our powers, to our freedom, might change the way we interact with other things and other people.


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pp. 141-158
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