stevengharms.com

Sententiae viri ex temporibus duobus

After Virtue: Chapter 3 and 4

Chapters 3 and 4 of AV

On the up side, this gets us out of the relentless discussion of Emotivism. I am not entirely sure that I understand why Chapter 3 was written. I assume that this will be used as a target to attack later, but I think that we got all the value out of this discussion in chapter II.

The argument goes:

"We have lost the ability to takel about morality, incommensurate (Ch I)."
No this has always been the case, I am an Emotivist
"OK, the Emotivist world looks like this"
OK, so what

Is MacI trying to say that this is proof that the Emotivist society is NOT something that always was? It seems like chapter 3 is a lot of overkill to make that fairly easily granted point.

I hope that he is going to use the paradigms set up in this chapter to pick out qualities of older moralities that had it together(?) or what our new goal should be (?).

Chapter 4 was pretty good. A lot tighter / faster moving. It basically gives the specific instances in Kant, Kierkergaard, and Hume of how the Enlightenment project of answering rationally "Why should I be moral" failed. He also asserts a close similarity between the Enlightenment (which asked the same question we ask, but they did it first) and today. They asked the question that we, 300 years later, still have not addressed.

Chapter 5 promises the essential flaw that guaranteed failure, but I'm still reading it. -- steven

Chapter 3:  Emotivism:  Social Content and Social Context

Synopsis: Do we live in an
Emotivism-infected culture



I.  Since G.E. Moore, the moral philosopher has not had the
obligation to expalin the social implementation of his proposition (p.
23).

II.  Emotivism's social content obliterates the difference between
social minipulation versus genuine (non-manipulative) relations.

A.  If all evaluation is
preference-based, you are always
manipulating someone

B.  You are always treating others as means and never as ends in
themselves (ref. Kant)




III.  What would an Emotivist world look like?

A.  Manipulation of others for
amusement (or manipulation for their betterment, but we can't tell the
difference) like in Portrait
of a Lady


B.  A w orld with boredom as the enemy and the world as a market
of subornable wills to be manipulated

C.  This notion tends to surface in classes with too much leisu


IV.  The corporation embodies the Emotivist ethic

A.  The wealthy person searches
for the prey to use (in previous section), the corporate manager is
praised for 'using.'

B.  The paragon of this idea comes from Weber

C.  Battles between competing values cannot be resolved.

D.  Difficulties are resolved by appealing to 'efficiency' - which
really serves only to strengthen the ethic that people ought be used

E. Weber's distinction between 'power' and 'authority' (where
'authority serves faith, promises) is false, no authority exists but style="font-weight: bold;">effectiveness, which only serves to
strengthen power.


V. Example: Weber's explanation of the justification of managerial
authority hinges on the manager controlling behavior and supressing
conflict - thus strengthening the authority of power.

VI.  The rich aesthete and bureaucrat are style="text-decoration: underline;">characters in our socal
collective stage (27)

A.  Social roles are not identical
to characters

B.  From characters, society gets its bearings

C.  Their actions are constrained

E.  Culture of an era can be defined by the menangerie of
characters


VII.  Characters are the moral representatives of their culture

A.  Characters arce the masks worn
by the moral philosopher.

B.  Characters embody moral beliefs

C.  Moral philosophers onform the lives of characters in a
distinctive way


VIII.  Individuals
(a collection) and roles
possess moral beliefs but each does so in its own unique fashion

IX.  Individuals express moral belief via their action.

X.  Roles' beliefs tdo not necessarily match with the belief of
the individual (a union leader may think that a union is a false
concession to capitalism that is staving off the revolution)

XI.  Characters fuse the possible delta between role and
personality and legitimates a mode of social existence.

XII.  Individuals define themselves in terms of these characters.

XIII.  THe Therapist is another character whose power comes from
his legitimation via effectiveness

XIV.  The self is not a collection of social modes, the self has a
rich history apart therefrom

XV.  THe motivist self cannot be identified with any particular
moral point of view as evaluation has no criteria

A.  The Emotivist self can pass
judgment on anything.  It can stand back from every situation.

B.  Anyone can be amoral agent (defined as the ability to stand b
ack), but only a few can be characters

C.  The Emotivist self can be entirely removed from its socila
interactions.

D.  All moral attitudes are plaything between which one can
arbitrarily shift.


XVI.  The self exists:

A.  Distinct from social
embodiments

B.  Without having a rational history of attitudes

C.  Without a social identity


XVII. The ability to judge actions vanished somewhere and was
celebrated as a liberation

XVIII. The emotivist self pairs in a culture with characters in
dominant roles.

XIX. Total Freedom and Total Bureaucratic direction are intolerable. -
Solzhenstzyn

XX.  The Emotivist self is the end result of a historical
developement under which the language of morality changed as well. 
I will chart this.



Chapter 4:  THe predecessor Culture and the Enlightenment Project
of justifying morality

I.  The social history that created this ill state were episodes
in the history of philosophy and that...

A.  It is only in the light of
these moments that the present Emotivist society can be understood

B.  The reflection of society / philosophy in each other is
necessary


II.  Our two divisions of social life and academic philosophy find
root in a culture where philosophy was integrated with life:  The
Enlightenment

A.  This is primarily a German /
Scottish phase

B.  Equivalence between Enlightenment and France is false


III.  The Enlightement cultures have a relationship between the
assertion of a sentence and its tokenized 'use' or 'utterance'

IV.  Moral, as we use it, was an entirely new invention in the
Enlightement

A.  "...the sphere in which rules
of conduct which are neither (theological / legal/asthetic) are allowed
a cultural spac9e

B.   Moral opposes theological while asthetic opposes legal.


V.  We will run the history backwards from style="text-decoration: underline;">our incommensurate position
to its first formation.  We start with Kierkergaard's style="text-decoration: underline;">Enten - Eller

VI.  Enten -
Eller 
has three central features

A.  Unique mode of presentation
tied to the thesis

1.  K. cannot resolve the debate
between the ethical, asthetic, and judgment

2.  Asthetic = Dionysian = Torrid Passion

     Ethical = Appolonian = Marraige

3.  We cannot roselve agreement between the asthetic and ethical
without first principles.

4.  The position that one will choose the ethical owing to the
force of the consideration of it is unconvincing




B.  Deep internal inconsistency

1.  The ethical is where
principles have authority independent of the modes of the passions -
whence comes this authority?

2.  We give the
principles of ethical living their force by choice .. by an style="font-weight: bold;">aesthetic action

3.  K. contradictions and we are wioutht reasons to give the
ethical primacy

4.  ...Well, K. makes an appeal to God's authority for
justification of the ethical, we don't buy that though


C.  A conservative and traditional account of the ethical


1.  The modern can choose between
a plurality of ethicals

2.  Kierkergaard is secretly pining for Kant's ethical


D.  Ultimately, Kierkergaard's attempt to justify the ethical
fails.

VII.  Kant

A.  Central to his morality are
two theses

1.  If the rules of hmorality are
ratinoal, they must be the same for all rational beings

2.  If said rules bind all, then style="text-decoration: underline;">the will to follow the rules
is mor important than the ability to do so

3.  Thus the goal is to find the test by which a maxim can be
found to be an essential expression


B.  What is Kant's conception of the rational test and whence
comes it?

1.  It is not based on return on
happiness.  Our valuation of happiness is too shifting

2.  An appeal to God's law is not tolerated.  If we are
trying to explain by appeal to rationality, and ultimately reach God, we
must encompass His rationality, not possible


C.  Kant sees the basis of the ethical in style="font-weight: bold;">reason, Kierkergaard saw it in style="font-weight: bold;">choice.

1.  Practical Reason is style="font-style: italic;">a priori true, depending on nothing

2.  Can we consistently will that all people follow the principle?

3.  This is overvague as it vindicates trivial maxims (Always eat
shellfish on Mondays in March)

4.  Treating all as means is consistent as and passes Kant's
reason test maxim - but we come up with a world Kant did not want at all. style="text-decoration: underline;"> style="text-decoration: underline;">


D.  Kant fails


VIII.  Hume and Diederot

A.  Kant's focus on reason is the
response to this du's appeals to desire and the passions 

B.  Their appeals produce Kantian morality's content.  If we
take a long-

term view and use desire (versus reason or choice) we come up with a
moral society looking like Kant's

C.  Diederot's "Rameau" replies:

1.  Why care about the longf-term
if the now is sufficiently pleasant

2.  Isn't following the rules judged as the result of one single
caprice?

3.  Are we not in effect, as agents pursuping their happiness,
preying upon one another


D.  How do we weigh competing desires?

E.  Hume cheated by bounding his "passions" to "the passions of
reasonable men


IX.  The success of Hume damns Kant and Kierkergaard and their
success damn Hume

X.   Meanwhile back at the ranch, the public did not realize
what they had lost.

XII.  We proceeded from ethical behavior from appeals to the
passions, to reason, to choice, but have did not find the firm footing
for a rational justification of morality that we would have hoped
for.  The Enlightenment rational morality project failed.

XIII.  Why was this project doomed to failure from the
start?  Next chapter.

Comments