After Virtue: Chapters 5-10


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

I. The Kant / Kierkegaard / Hume arguments failed due to characteristics in their shared history

A. All share similar moral content, despite divergent tests (don’t lie, marriage is good)

B. Rational justification is similar, based on human nature and what such a being could reasonably accept

C. 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)

A. There exists man and man perfected

B. Ethics gets man between his natural state and his perfected teleological state

C. Teleologically defined

D. This is a tri-partite construct and all three parts are required

  1. Untutored nature

  2. Correct nature contingent upon telos

  3. Rational ethics

IV. This breaks at The Reformation (Protestantism and Jansenism)

A. reason is not believed to correctly inform man about his true end.

B. Under this, the tri-partite construction becomes:

  1. Untutored nature

  2. Correct nature contingent upon telos

  3. Divine Path - God’s Grace delivers you to this

C. Reason does not understand potential’s relationship to action.

D. Actions are based on nature, custom, and habit.

V. Signs of weak use of reason among KKH

A. Reason discerns no essential natures

B. Reason discerns no teleology

C. There is no teleological end

D. Thus, the tri-partite construct looks like

  1. Untutored nature

  2. Correct nature, unmotivated by telos

  3. Weakened reason

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

A. Modify that to evaluative moral conclusions.

B. Moral utterance changed in the 18th century such as the statement in VII could be understood intelligibly

C. What if the conclusion follows from the terms used?

IX. The Watch Example

A. This watch is too heavy

B. This watch is inaccurate

C. This is a bad watch (evaluative), against VIII

D. Factual premises can legitimately yield evaluative conclusions when the object under discussion is a functional object

X. Arguments following the form of IX are exempt VIII’s burden

A. The “no ought from is” thesis hold valid except where concerns functional concepts.

B. Man is a functional concept, similar to watch::good watch

C. Something in discourse changed to destroy this classical construct and netted the Enlightenment projects’ failure

D. Man is t fulfill roles that define the extent of good

E. 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

A. 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)

B. Consider the bad watch, it is bad qua chronometer, but might be sufficient qua weapon to kill a bird

C. But how do we agree to the purpose for which an X is sought?

D. Once essential functions vanish, we end the project

E. 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.

A. These statements were both hypothetical and categorical

  1. You ought to do X if your telos is Y.

  2. Categorical to all beings pursuing Y (humans, in the case of ethics)

B. 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

A. Social and political changes

B. 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

I. Status in the post-Enlightenment world

A. Freed self sans telos

B. Transformed rules of morality

C. No means to appeal to an telos, validate a rule

D. Philosophies came about that appealed to the ‘freed self’ or the ’transformed rules’

II. Utilitarianism attempts to fix by utility as telos

A. Morality was based on superstition, the true goal is utility (avoid pain, maximize pleasure)

B. Assumes educated utilitarians, doing well for all.

C. Mill finds that the man enlightened may not exist and Benthanism’s telos erodes

D. How do we define happiness?

E. Ultimately happiness is capriciousness informed, these caprices are intuitions

F. 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.

A. Gerwith

  1. Practical reasons == Demonstrably Entailed

  2. Freedom and well-being result are required for rational agency

  3. If you hold the above you are logically committed to them ‘being a right’

  4. Rights don’t exist

B. 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.

A. There exists a gap between the meaning of moral expressions and their use.

  1. Meaning is such and such , th enlightenment succeeded

  2. The Emotivist theory of use holds sway, and we are in a paradox

B. The paradoxical existence

  1. We are autonomous agents, free and unfettered

  2. 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

V. 3 Uniquely modern moral appeal concepts exist in this strange moral simulation we inhabit

A. The appeals

  1. Rights

  2. Protest

  3. “Unmasking” (culture jamming, in Wolfe)

B. Commonalities

  1. They are all factions

  2. They all serve as impersonal rational criteria, but they are not, trying to put an objective stake in the Emotivist swamp

C. Rights as fiction

  1. Rights oppose utility (a fiction)

  2. Rights and utility appeal to “justice”, another fiction, but by appealing to this notion, we can seemingly objectively validate our mere Emotivist preferences

D. Individuals fight bureaucratic efficiency (government, WTO, etc.)

E. Protest is the act of decrying that which has been unmasked, generally a Right versus Bureaucratic Efficiency (Utility)

F. Protesters are attempting to appeal to an objective moral yardstick when the Utility-culture is part and parcel of that same environment

G. 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

A. The aesthete who will view his punishments as aesthetic forays.

B. The therapist continues despite the empirical worthlessness of their trade having been shown

C. The manager has his own particular fiction: the appeal to effectiveness

  1. Effectiveness is not morally neutral.

  2. It is inseparable from a mode where you are required to treat people as means

  3. how do you measure efficiency? What is the difference between effectiveness and long term economy?

  4. Whence comes this effectiveness’ justification - from the character it quickened!

  5. Managerial power trades on a false or indefinable measure.

  6. 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

A. Emotivism

  1. Pervades social interaction

  2. Allows us to trade in moral fictions

  3. Pervades moral utterance

B. The bureaucratic manager

  1. Is a moral fiction

  2. The myth of effectiveness pervades modern discourse

IX. The manager claims law-like knowledge by which social institutions can be modeled

A. Claims the existence of a morally neutral domain of fact about which he is expert

B. Claims the existence of law-like rules that are derived from the above

X. Changes

A. Fact as a notion has changed, as did value

B. There was a historical changed that rendered the progression of factual premise to evaluative conclusion false

C. This shift requires an elucidation of fact, next chapter!

Chapter Seven: Fact, Explanation, and Expertise

I. Fact is a folk concept

A. All recognition of fact requires some interpretation by the viewer

B. Perceivers without concepts are blind

II. Ex planation

A. Experience (invented late 17th-18th century) as an Empiricist concept

  1. Arose with natural history, natural science, this is odd (why is answered later)

  2. This was intended to resolve the is/seems appearance/reality gap

  3. It makes each experience a closed realm, thus all is

  4. Thus seem/is finds no home

  5. It’s odd because natural history strives to push between is and seems - the earth seems flat but it is spherical

  6. How can a world that posits experience and natural history gel? It cannot.

a. This view removed Aristotle

b. Thus we grabbed the erroneous moniker ‘Enlightenment’

c. Aristotelian science is shunned

d. Thus we seek a ’natural history’, i.e. science of human behavior

e. Given the Aristotelian structure where Natural history and Ethics are fused, NH is removed (81-2)

f. Man ceases to be a functional concept

III. We attempt to explain human nature in mechanistic terms

A. Newtonian model of laws

B. Quine says that any such science must remove human motivation

  1. Not doing so nets inevaluable premises in predicate calculus

  2. Status of belief is too murky to yield a law

C. Due to Quine’s remarks, any explanation would contradict Aristotle (Mechanistic human behavior or Aristotle)

D. Aristotle versus Mechanistic explanation

  1. Aristotle can assert “x is good for humans” as a fact

  2. No assertion about what is ‘valuable’ is made, it simply is

  3. 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

V. Our false belief in the panacea of this science was to drive expertise in the bureaucratic realm

A. People assert familiarity with human science.

B. The sought-after civil servant

C. Government intrusion is justified by appeals to competence.

D. Corporations do the same

E. Competent managers of social change are said to be managers.

F. Bureaucrats appeal their right to adjust means and ends efficiently on the basis of scientific knowledge

G. Bureaucrats justify by

  1. valuation of neutrality

  2. claim to manipulative power

  3. It is not coincidental that this is exactly the state of our moral discourse today

H. Does scientific knowledge justify their claim to power?

…Next Chapter

Chapter 8: Character of Generalizations in Social Science and their lack of predictive power

I. Status of social science

A. Articulation of laws has failed

B. Oddly, Social science has not been renounced

C. Failings

  1. Weak predictive power

  2. 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

A. SS tolerates counter examples and does not insist on p or ~p. Is that science?

B. Not truly defined in scope r universality

C. We cannot apply them as hypotheticals

D. 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

A. Views

  1. to explain s to invoke law like rules retrospectively

  2. To predict is to invoke a generalization prospective

  3. Progress is the diminution of predictive failure – not being right on the prediction is tolerated

B. Forturna - despite law like generalization, Fortuna can rend it inexplicably asunder

C. 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

A. Prediction of radical innovation in the science is impossible as prediction entails discovery

B. Prediction of one’s actions based off of as yet unmade decisions

C. Game theory constructs do not map to reality, the assumption of a game comes with a load of pinned variables

D. Pure contingency: Had Cleopatra not been so beautiful, no Battle of Actium, etc.

V. 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

A. Doesn’t the first undermine the other three?

B. No assertion of logical relationship.

C. 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

A. We understand social guesses, rules of social likelihood (12pm, Grand Central Station, Under the Clocktower)

B. We know statistical regularities

C. Human life is fragile

D. Human life is vulnerable

E. The enlightenment and Marxists thought that human science could overcome C and D. This science cannot be and thus these two are predictable regularities

VIII. Problem:

A. Predictability is required for long-term achievement

B. Predictability renders us vulnerable to being used

C. What conclusions can we derive about the possibility of this human behavior science?

  1. We will not get a law like series of generalizations abut human behavior

  2. It will exist with counter examples - illogically

  3. It will be inscopable

IX. Back to Machiavelli

A. Fortuna can’t be overcome

B. It is Immeasurable

C. It is permanent - any attempt to be totally effective begets unpredictability

X. The bureaucratic manager expert is bunk

A. He possesses no secret knowledge

B. It is a contemporary moral fiction

C. 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?

I. 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

V. Weberianism is Nietzsche rooted as we must arbitrarily assert moral tables

A. A matching sociology comes from Goffman

  1. Our utterances do other than they purport

  2. The goal is effectiveness

  3. Success is what others deem it, this is central. not the Aristotelian belief for honor is secondary to virtuous acts meriting such accolades

B. Nietzsche’s rejects the enlightenment project and takes his rejection to encompass all morality at all time

C. Was he right to dismiss Aristotle

VI. Nietzsche and MacIntyre ask what sort of man am I to become

A. I am defined by character by adherence to rules? No way.

B. We should attend to virtues before rules

C. 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

I. Values are predetermined

A. basic unit is familial kinship

B. Role defines imperatives

C. Actions are equal to character

D. Virtues

  1. Keep a man able to fulfill expectation

  2. Are actions which his role requires

E. From courage cascades all other social structures

  1. Friendship

  2. Fidelity, etc.

  3. All are keyed off of the man’s ability to put himself in peril to fulfill the obligations of his role

F. 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

G. 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

A. Particularity and accountability are generated

B. A specific social structure is required

  1. Universal morality is an illusion

  2. We can only experience virtue as part of our traditions, if our traditions don’t keep it, neither do we.

C. Possessions are justified in terms of being virtuous

D. Evils

  1. Death : it stops you in your role

  2. Supplication / Slavery: same as above

  3. 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

A. Structure embodies a concept scheme

  1. Requirements by role

  2. Virtues enable fulfillment

  3. courage is the root, in face of death you will not fear it, but give it its due

B. Heroic social structure is the same as enacted epic narrative

V. 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

A. Marx said we liked it because it is our civilizational root

B. Two key questions:

  1. Can a life be framed as win/loss and what would that mean?

  2. Must we use discursive style, or is a narrative form satisfactory … Next chapter