By Raymond Geuss

ISBN-10: 1400848482

ISBN-13: 9781400848485

Wishful pondering is a deeply ingrained human trait that has had a long term distorting impression on moral pondering. Many influential moral perspectives depend upon the positive assumption that, regardless of appearances on the contrary, the human and wildlife during which we are living may well, ultimately, be made to make experience to us. In A international with out Why, Raymond Geuss demanding situations this assumption.

The essays during this collection--several of that are released right here for the 1st time--explore the genesis and historic improvement of this confident configuration in moral idea and the ways that it has proven itself to be unfounded and faulty. Discussions of Greco-Roman antiquity and of the philosophies of Socrates, Plato, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Adorno play a crucial position in lots of of those essays. Geuss additionally levels over such subject matters because the options of intelligibility, authority, democracy, and feedback; the function of mendacity in politics; structure; where of theology in ethics; tragedy and comedy; and the fight among realism and our look for meaning.

Characterized through Geuss's wide-ranging pursuits in literature, philosophy, and background, and via his political dedication and trenchant kind, A global with no Why increases primary questions on the viability not only of particular moral ideas and theses, yet of our most elementary assumptions approximately what ethics may well and needs to be.

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For instance, certain hammers might be so beautifully made that they become objects of aesthetic contemplation. This new function can in some cases survive atrophy of the original need. To be sure, it is not clear to what extent Glaukos would accept that one could equally well tell two distinct stories, parallel to those concerning the hammer, about him. An account of his origins, he would likely think, would have to deal with the specific details of his history. There might be something about being the descendant of those specific ancestors that makes him the object of the kind of 12 • Essay 1 individualizing interest that finds its appropriate expression in an “idiographic” narrative.

At the moment, the relation between what is called philosophy and what are called the humanities is a matter of idiosyncratic associations between certain individuals, which are so contingent they border on the whimsical—­the odd Professor of Ethics who also happens to have read Greats at Oxford rather than PPE, or the don who works professionally on some aspect of the philosophy of language but also happens to be devoted to the ballet. Whether or not this dissociation is a temporary phenomenon, and if it is not, what new structures will eventually emerge, are matters of speculation, but since such controlled speculation was once one of the things philosophers used to do, I would suggest that if there is no ecological or economic catastrophe—­or something comparable that radically overturns, or even puts an end to, our organized intellectual life—­ dispersal of the kind I have described is likely to be a continuing feature of our landscape for the foreseeable future.

Occasionally in the past people have construed the role of the poet as in some sense like that of the vates. 22 Even in the best of circumstances, however, the poet does not know exactly what the god knows or at any rate does not know whatever is to be known in the way in which the god knows it. The vates does not, that is, in transmitting the god’s message know any more than anyone else who hears the message. So the extent to which the vates can consciously and in detail enter into the potential paedagogic purposes of the god is likely to be limited.

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A World without Why by Raymond Geuss

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