By Raymond Geuss

ISBN-10: 1400848482

ISBN-13: 9781400848485

Wishful pondering is a deeply ingrained human trait that has had a long term distorting impression on moral pondering. Many influential moral perspectives rely on the positive assumption that, regardless of appearances on the contrary, the human and flora and fauna within which we are living may perhaps, ultimately, be made to make experience to us. In A global 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 old improvement of this confident configuration in moral notion 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 relevant function in lots of of those essays. Geuss additionally levels over such issues because the suggestions of intelligibility, authority, democracy, and feedback; the function of mendacity in politics; structure; where of theology in ethics; tragedy and comedy; and the fight among realism and our look for meaning.

Characterized via Geuss's wide-ranging pursuits in literature, philosophy, and background, and through his political dedication and trenchant kind, A global with no Why increases primary questions about the viability not only of particular moral suggestions and theses, yet of our most simple assumptions approximately what ethics may possibly and has to be.

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The best way to acquire a motivation to pursue the truth is perhaps through generating a state of puzzlement, and the best—­or at any rate an especially good—­way of creating the Vix intellegitur • 39 right kind of productive puzzlement is by giving an obscure oracular response. This strategy, if that is the strategy, does not, of course, work for Pyrrhus. ” An equally important part of his problem, however, is that he is not puzzled when he ought to be. This, as has been mentioned, is a result of the particular character traits that exhibit themselves in his response to the oracle.

One possibility is simply to say that this question is based on a misconception. There are no gods, and what are called “oracles” are just inventions of the priests and priestesses who “serve” the oracle; except by accident, they have no more knowledge of anything than we do. Lack of clarity is their way of minimising the chance that they will be found out to be frauds and lose their livelihood. Although I am myself an atheist, I think this is far too quick a response, so I would like to bracket it and continue on the assumption that Apollo and the others did exist, and did in some sense “give” oracular responses A further possibility would be the Epicurean view that although gods probably did exist, they were completely unconcerned with humans and their trivial problems and thus had no real interest in giving useful responses.

The overwhelming traditional view among philosophers is that one only has an adequate understanding of a phenomenon if one has a general theory about or an abstract rationale for it. So if one wants to call a search for the best understanding of something an enquiry into its “origin,” the term “origin” has its second, not its first, sense—­that is, a good account gives a unitary principle, and certainly not anything that looks like a sequential narrative. Kant, for me, has always summed up what is most wrongheaded and retrograde in modern philosophy.

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