By Raymond Geuss
Wishful pondering is a deeply ingrained human trait that has had a long term distorting impact on moral considering. Many influential moral perspectives rely on the confident assumption that, regardless of appearances on the contrary, the human and flora and fauna during which we are living may possibly, finally, 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 positive configuration in moral suggestion and the ways that it has proven itself to be unfounded and erroneous. Discussions of Greco-Roman antiquity and of the philosophies of Socrates, Plato, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Adorno play a imperative function in lots of of those essays. Geuss additionally levels over such themes because the suggestions of intelligibility, authority, democracy, and feedback; the position 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 historical past, and through his political dedication and trenchant variety, A global with no Why increases primary questions on the viability not only of particular moral options and theses, yet of our most simple assumptions approximately what ethics may and needs to be.
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Extra info for A World without Why
The second form of human weakness we encounter is in a way the mirror image of the first. Rather than trusting too much to their own Vix intellegitur • 31 powers as agents to shape a course of action that will satisfy them, humans can be excessively overcome by the recognition of their own impotence and consequently excessively dependent and demanding. They can expect the god to give them the assurance that comes from absolutely unequivocal predictions that cannot be misunderstood. ” This is another form of wishful thinking.
At some point in prehistory humans put two pieces of wood or stone together in a particular configuration and used them to beat pieces of material into shape. As we would say, they “invented” the hammer. One can, however, tell two slightly different stories about this. First, one can tell the story of origins of the hammer, for instance by visiting the Musée de l’homme in Paris and looking closely at the exhibited artefacts. One could also—and this would seem to be a second way of proceeding—discuss the “origin” of the hammer by looking at continuing configurations of human desires, goals, needs, and the conditions under which they are or are not attainable or capable of being satisfied—by looking at the problem to which the invention of the hammer was the solution.
It is not, however, merely his overbearing insistence on his own primacy that is the problem with Pyrrhus. One can find a morally less questionable form of the same human self-absorption in the case of Oedipus. He, too, thinks primarily in terms of himself and what he has to do. Oedipus wants to avoid what is announced by the oracle partly for his own sake—he does not wish to be the man who killed his father and married his mother—but his attitude, we can assume, is at least partly altruistic in that he also wished to spare his father and mother the fate in store for them.