By Raymond Geuss

ISBN-10: 1400848482

ISBN-13: 9781400848485

Wishful considering is a deeply ingrained human trait that has had a long term distorting impact on moral pondering. Many influential moral perspectives rely on the confident assumption that, regardless of appearances on the contrary, the human and flora and fauna within which we are living may possibly, finally, be made to make experience to us. In A international with no Why, Raymond Geuss demanding situations this assumption.

The essays during this collection--several of that are released the following for the 1st time--explore the genesis and historic improvement of this confident configuration in moral proposal 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 important function in lots of of those essays. Geuss additionally levels over such themes because the ideas 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 by way of Geuss's wide-ranging pursuits in literature, philosophy, and historical past, and by means of his political dedication and trenchant variety, A global with no Why increases basic questions about the viability not only of particular moral suggestions and theses, yet of our most elementary assumptions approximately what ethics might and has to be.

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Example text

Humans are invariably at least to some extent self-­ centred and are strongly inclined to wishful thinking. They hear what they wish to hear. They sometimes even ask the wrong questions and then compound that error by jumping to conclusions about what the answers to these questions mean. This is a particularly striking char- Vix intellegitur • 29 acter trait of the excessively self-­confident Pyrrhus, and one that is exposed very clearly by his reaction to the oracle; he is more subject to this general human weakness than most other human beings are.

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. ” As Oedipus’s end may be taken to show, his own voluntary or involuntary action in the world is in the final analysis not that important.

It is in any case no news that all human classificatory schemes are partly structured by wider forms of human valuation and human purposes. One might with good reason think that much of value—­many important kinds of knowledge—­can relatively easily survive large-­ scale shifts in our way of classifying and organizing disciplines. ” The proliferation and dispersion of new subjects and disciplines, combined with changes in the way we live and in our attitudes and dominant concerns, can be expected to render implausible our accustomed way of organizing academic subjects.

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