h3 class=“title”>Notes to Chapters 5-10 of AV
In chapters 5 Mac. addresses the inherent contradictions which assured that any project (Enlightenment Era) which sought to rationally justify morality was doomed to fail.
In Chapter 6 we talk about how the world view must look in light of these failings.
Chapters 7 and 8 talk about the failure of ‘social science’ to provide us a coherent explanation of human behavior.
Chapter nine servs as a bridge as we ask, in light of the failure of social science, ethics persists, where do we go?
Chapter ten starts charting the birth of the Classical (Aristotelian) ethical mode’s genesis with the heroic cultures (Illiad, Oddyssey).
Chapter 5: Why the Enlightenment Project of justifying Morality had to fail
The Kant / Kierkegaard / Hume arguments failed due to characteristics in their shared history
All share similar moral content, despite divergent tests (don’t lie, marriage is good)
Rational justification is similar, based on human nature and what such a being could reasonably accept
All arguments move from premises about human nature to conditions about moral rules' authority.
II. Any project of the variety described in I.C. was doomed to fail. Conception of moral rules
battles human nature.
III. Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics serves as both in the Classical (pre-Enlightenment era)
There exists man and man perfected
Ethics gets man between his natural state and his perfected teleological state
This is a tri-partite construct and all three parts are required
Correct nature contingent upon telos
IV. This breaks at The Reformation (Protestantism and Jansenism)
reason is not believed to correctly inform man about his true end.
Under this, the tri-partite construction becomes:
Correct nature contingent upon telos
Divine Path - God’s Grace delivers you to this
Reason does not understand potential’s relationship to action.
Actions are based on nature, custom, and habit.
Signs of weak use of reason among KKH
Reason discerns no essential natures
Reason discerns no teleology
There is no teleological end
Thus, the tri-partite construct looks like
Correct nature, unmotivated by telos
VI. With the telos gone, we cannot make any sense of the tripartite scheme. Thus the Enlightenment authors inherited an insoluble scheme
VII. Kant saw the criticality of the telos and his inherent failure. Moral law cannot be derived from statements about human nature or God’s will.
VIII. Kant’s statement instantiates the general: No valid argument can move from entirely factual premises to evaluative conclusions
Modify that to evaluative moral conclusions.
Moral utterance changed in the 18th century such as the statement in VII could be understood intelligibly
What if the conclusion follows from the terms used?
IX. The Watch Example
This watch is too heavy
This watch is inaccurate
This is a bad watch (evaluative), against VIII
Factual premises can legitimately yield evaluative conclusions when the object under discussion is a functional object
Arguments following the form of IX are exempt VIII’s burden
The “no ought from is” thesis hold valid except where concerns functional concepts.
Man is a functional concept, similar to watch::good watch
Something in discourse changed to destroy this classical construct and netted the Enlightenment projects' failure
Man is t fulfill roles that define the extent of good
Only when man is prior to and apart from roles is he no longer a functional concept
XI. “Man is not a functional object is a cataclysmic event. This breaks classical morality and ruins Enlightenment projects. There were essential human purposes
To call X good is to say that X is the kind of X that someone would choose who wanted it for the purpose for which X-es are sought (59)
Consider the bad watch, it is bad qua chronometer, but might be sufficient qua weapon to kill a bird
But how do we agree to the purpose for which an X is sought?
Once essential functions vanish, we end the project
Kantian ‘oughts’ are imperatives, not true-or-false statements
XII. Moral judgments as true/false continues today, but sans referent. Once the truth about moral evaluations was spoken sensibly.
These statements were both hypothetical and categorical
You ought to do X if your telos is Y.
Categorical to all beings pursuing Y (humans, in the case of ethics)
Loose of what they were hypothetical and categorical to, and an Emotivist self (ontologically prior), you are linguistically and practically lost
XIII. Yet this move was praised. This was a decisive change with two features
Social and political changes
The invention of the individual. What were the political and social consequences of this invention? – Chapter 6
Chapter 6: Consequences of the Enlightenment Projects' failure
Status in the post-Enlightenment world
Freed self sans telos
Transformed rules of morality
No means to appeal to an telos, validate a rule
Philosophies came about that appealed to the ‘freed self’ or the ‘transformed rules’
II. Utilitarianism attempts to fix by utility as telos
Morality was based on superstition, the true goal is utility (avoid pain, maximize pleasure)
Assumes educated utilitarians, doing well for all.
Mill finds that the man enlightened may not exist and Benthanism’s telos erodes
How do we define happiness?
Ultimately happiness is capriciousness informed, these caprices are intuitions
These intuitions -> Intuitionism -> Emotivism - moral rules are pure caprice
III. The Analytics could not buy into the Emotivist project because they were Theory of Meaning, not use. Thus they tried to legitimate Practical Reason’s rules to save it from the precipice.
Practical reasons == Demonstrably Entailed
Freedom and well-being result are required for rational agency
If you hold the above you are logically committed to them ‘being a right’
Rights don’t exist
The neo-Kantians fail to shore up their supposition
IV. Both the utilitarians and neo-Kantians escape failure. Emotivist discourse is the reward for unfettering the self; that same act ruined tho ability to rationally explain moral allegiances.
There exists a gap between the meaning of moral expressions and their use.
Meaning is such and such , th enlightenment succeeded
The Emotivist theory of use holds sway, and we are in a paradox
The paradoxical existence
We are autonomous agents, free and unfettered
As we have no means to evaluate moral actions in the Emotivist society, we are constantly knowingly using each other - our society may have evolved to embrace this - chiefly notably by the existence of characters which praise the society where this has happened
3 Uniquely modern moral appeal concepts exist in this strange moral simulation we inhabit
“Unmasking” (culture jamming, in Wolfe)
They are all factions
They all serve as impersonal rational criteria, but they are not, trying to put an objective stake in the Emotivist swamp
Rights as fiction
Rights oppose utility (a fiction)
Rights and utility appeal to “justice”, another fiction, but by appealing to this notion, we can seemingly objectively validate our mere Emotivist preferences
Individuals fight bureaucratic efficiency (government, WTO, etc.)
Protest is the act of decrying that which has been unmasked, generally a Right versus Bureaucratic Efficiency (Utility)
Protesters are attempting to appeal to an objective moral yardstick when the Utility-culture is part and parcel of that same environment
When the arbitrary shows the arbitrary in another it is unmasked - usually out of desire to cover insecurity about our own failings (Freud)
VI. Emotivism gave us 3 characters, all of which trade in moral fictions,. To the end, we model off them and we are damned
The aesthete who will view his punishments as aesthetic forays.
The therapist continues despite the empirical worthlessness of their trade having been shown
The manager has his own particular fiction: the appeal to effectiveness
Effectiveness is not morally neutral.
It is inseparable from a mode where you are required to treat people as means
how do you measure efficiency? What is the difference between effectiveness and long term economy?
Whence comes this effectiveness' justification - from the character it quickened!
Managerial power trades on a false or indefinable measure.
Managerial science is merely the art of being able to propagate the symbols that perpetuate the belief in managerial science, and thus management, and thus effectiveness, and thus the manager character who affirms our Emotivist world-view.
VII. We can provide social reality of the character, but not have a value for it (is this manager character fiction any good?). Like Carnap and Ayer’s God, this manager is a social entity that serves a function, but not not have a genuine objective existence.
VIII. Summation of current status
Pervades social interaction
Allows us to trade in moral fictions
Pervades moral utterance
The bureaucratic manager
Is a moral fiction
The myth of effectiveness pervades modern discourse
IX. The manager claims law-like knowledge by which social institutions can be modeled
Claims the existence of a morally neutral domain of fact about which he is expert
Claims the existence of law-like rules that are derived from the above
Fact as a notion has changed, as did value
There was a historical changed that rendered the progression of factual premise to evaluative conclusion false
This shift requires an elucidation of fact, next chapter!
Chapter Seven: Fact, Explanation, and Expertise
Fact is a folk concept
All recognition of fact requires some interpretation by the viewer
Perceivers without concepts are blind
II. Ex planation
Experience (invented late 17th-18th century) as an Empiricist concept
Arose with natural history, natural science, this is odd (why is answered later)
This was intended to resolve the is/seems appearance/reality gap
It makes each experience a closed realm, thus all is
Thus seem/is finds no home
It’s odd because natural history strives to push between is and seems - the earth seems flat but it is spherical
How can a world that posits experience and natural history gel? It cannot.
This view removed Aristotle
Thus we grabbed the erroneous moniker ‘Enlightenment’
Aristotelian science is shunned
Thus we seek a ‘natural history’, i.e. science of human behavior
Given the Aristotelian structure where Natural history and Ethics are fused, NH is removed (81-2)
Man ceases to be a functional concept
III. We attempt to explain human nature in mechanistic terms
Newtonian model of laws
Quine says that any such science must remove human motivation
Not doing so nets inevaluable premises in predicate calculus
Status of belief is too murky to yield a law
Due to Quine’s remarks, any explanation would contradict Aristotle (Mechanistic human behavior or Aristotle)
Aristotle versus Mechanistic explanation
Aristotle can assert “x is good for humans” as a fact
No assertion about what is ‘valuable’ is made, it simply is
We divorce is and ought
IV. Something odd happens for the human scientist when he manipulates. He excludes himself, suddenly he is imprinting his own will - something incoherent is inherent in this model
Our false belief in the panacea of this science was to drive expertise in the bureaucratic realm
People assert familiarity with human science.
The sought-after civil servant
Government intrusion is justified by appeals to competence.
Corporations do the same
Competent managers of social change are said to be managers.
Bureaucrats appeal their right to adjust means and ends efficiently on the basis of scientific knowledge
Bureaucrats justify by
valuation of neutrality
claim to manipulative power
It is not coincidental that this is exactly the state of our moral discourse today
Does scientific knowledge justify their claim to power?
Chapter 8: Character of Generalizations in Social Science and their lack of predictive power
Status of social science
Articulation of laws has failed
Oddly, Social science has not been renounced
Weak predictive power
Does not produce law-like generalizations
3 Is it effective and we simply missed it (answer turns out to be “no”)
II. 4 maxims produced by SS statements
SS tolerates counter examples and does not insist on p or ~p. Is that science?
Not truly defined in scope r universality
We cannot apply them as hypotheticals
These are not laws but they masquerade as such
III. Science comes from philosophy, where does SS come from? It is ancestral to Machiavelli’s writings
to explain s to invoke law like rules retrospectively
To predict is to invoke a generalization prospective
Progress is the diminution of predictive failure – not being right on the prediction is tolerated
Forturna - despite law like generalization, Fortuna can rend it inexplicably asunder
Fortuna’s interference would give tolerance for failure in this art
IV. This endeavor is failed from the get go as there are p4 sources for unpredictability in human affairs that cannot be overcome
Prediction of radical innovation in the science is impossible as prediction entails discovery
Prediction of one’s actions based off of as yet unmade decisions
Game theory constructs do not map to reality, the assumption of a game comes with a load of pinned variables
Pure contingency: Had Cleopatra not been so beautiful, no Battle of Actium, etc.
Summation: We cannot determine human action meaningfully, no science of human behavior is possible, the manager is a social fiction with no explicable strength
VI. Counter to the 4 sources of unpredictability
Doesn’t the first undermine the other three?
No assertion of logical relationship.
No accurate explanation of the latter is possible if the first precludes them. In any case if the art which asserts the former exists, this problem should be overcome as well.
VII. There are 4 predictable elements in social life
We understand social guesses, rules of social likelihood (12pm, Grand Central Station, Under the Clocktower)
We know statistical regularities
Human life is fragile
Human life is vulnerable
The enlightenment and Marxists thought that human science could overcome C and D. This science cannot be and thus these two are predictable regularities
Predictability is required for long-term achievement
Predictability renders us vulnerable to being used
What conclusions can we derive about the possibility of this human behavior science?
We will not get a law like series of generalizations abut human behavior
It will exist with counter examples - illogically
It will be inscopable
IX. Back to Machiavelli
Fortuna can’t be overcome
It is Immeasurable
It is permanent - any attempt to be totally effective begets unpredictability
The bureaucratic manager expert is bunk
He possesses no secret knowledge
It is a contemporary moral fiction
It is a social myth
Chapter 9: Nietzsche or Aristotle
Synopsis: Nietzsche destroyed the Enlightenment project first, although he mistook the scope of his critique to be “all morality” versus “the Enlightenment’s account of morality”. As Nietzsche did not suggest a replacement moral scheme, could we not reject the Enlightenment’s rejection and go back to Classicism, that is, Aristotelian ism?
- Morality has only became available for a certain kind of use. Marxist questions are irrelevant is they ultimately demand: who wields the systems of control. Ultimately, in this discussion that is always the Emotivist characters.
II. moral utterance is too vulgar, to accessible, as Nietzsche predicted.
III. Nietzsche saw that moral language usage is like ‘taboo’ when Cook encountered the Polynesians. It is inexplicable, powerful, illogical. We must supersede with an act of Will to “create new tables of good.”
IV. Nietzsche has no coherent replacement in mind
Weberianism is Nietzsche rooted as we must arbitrarily assert moral tables
A matching sociology comes from Goffman
Our utterances do other than they purport
The goal is effectiveness
Success is what others deem it, this is central. not the Aristotelian belief for honor is secondary to virtuous acts meriting such accolades
Nietzsche’s rejects the enlightenment project and takes his rejection to encompass all morality at all time
Was he right to dismiss Aristotle
VI. Nietzsche and MacIntyre ask what sort of man am I to become
I am defined by character by adherence to rules? No way.
We should attend to virtues before rules
We must chart Aristotelianism’s rise, to map this we must start with the Epic Societies
Chapter 10: The Virtues in Heroic Societies
Synopsis: Virtues and Virtue Ethics exist in heroic societies where ought is clearly defined within a heroic teleology and sense of obligation
Values are predetermined
basic unit is familial kinship
Role defines imperatives
Actions are equal to character
Keep a man able to fulfill expectation
Are actions which his role requires
From courage cascades all other social structures
All are keyed off of the man’s ability to put himself in peril to fulfill the obligations of his role
Morality is the same as the social structure, to live morally was to live. To stop behaving in the heroic society is to be dead, or a slave, for in those two situations you are obligated prior to your role
Execution of virtuous actions, inevitably, leads to death. The longer you live, the more friends you have, the more often you must fight to keep your credits and debits equal. Courage is to accept that you will die as part of this contract.
II. Contrast to Emotivism, existence in society is essential to selfhood
Particularity and accountability are generated
A specific social structure is required
Universal morality is an illusion
We can only experience virtue as part of our traditions, if our traditions don’t keep it, neither do we.
Possessions are justified in terms of being virtuous
Death : it stops you in your role
Supplication / Slavery: same as above
To cease to be your social role is to die, morally at the very least
III. The narrative can tell us what characters therein cannot: i.e. Homer asks can you win, yet lose?
IV. Two key moral claims
Structure embodies a concept scheme
Requirements by role
Virtues enable fulfillment
courage is the root, in face of death you will not fear it, but give it its due
Heroic social structure is the same as enacted epic narrative
Nietzsche’s characterization of heroic society was self serving to his argument (129)
VI. We cannot escape our historical forebears
VII. Epic era’s ties to modernity
Marx said we liked it because it is our civilizational root
Two key questions:
Can a life be framed as win/loss and what would that mean?
Must we use discursive style, or is a narrative form satisfactory … Next chapter