Thanks to McEvoy for his interesting commentary.
McEvoy makes a point about the point of that Baroness O’Neill makes between
‘trust’ and ‘trustworthiness.’ (I should provide the adjectival variants at a
(Grice should say that “Baroness O’Neill is under-informative. Stickler that he
was, he would have O’Neill as Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve, of The Braid in the
County of Antrim. But I disagress).
“But I am at loss as to the point of this … “point,” for example what is
clarified or solved by the “distinguishing.” I could nod sagely but prefer to
make some critical remarks arising from [Speranza’s] previous [points].”
which allows me to title this as per the subject-line of that thread.
O. S. O’Neill was noting:
“Allow me to explain: I would *aim*, rather, to have _more_ trust in the
trustworthy but not in the untrustworthy. In fact, I aim positively to try NOT
to trust the UN-trustworthy.”
“Top of the class!”
Indeed. Somerville breed!
“But is this the kind of thing worthy of awards? I mean, surely it’s just a
kind of commonsense retort to the idea that we should try to increase trust,
where this [‘trust’] is interpreted to mean 'in blanket fashion' (i.e.
irrespective of whether the trust is well-placed or misplaced). Who exactly, in
clear terms, ever argued we need to increase "trust" irrrespective of whether
that trust is merited or not? As they say in Kerry, they would have to be a
gombeen. So the award for refuting the Gombeen contingent goes to... There is a
potentially serious problem in what we might call the "cynical view" of history
and society. A measure of 'cynicism', as in 'scepticism', may be a good thing
(but remember in the 'Common Sense Dictionary of Philosophy', a la Flaubert,
the definition is "Scepticism: Always 'healthy'. Unless 'extreme'."). The view
that politicians, for example, are mostly malevolent and untrustworthy can end
up doing serious damage to the 'body politic'. Perhaps [Baroness] O'Neill has
some compelling suggestions on how we get the balance right - so our
cynicism/scepticism is of the healthy variety, and not an unhealthy extreme?
[Speranza] may enlighten us.”
“Might” enlighten us. Yes. I shall try. I should start by locating the Warnock
quote. When I read his “Object of Morality,” and his emphasis on trust, I
thought of Onora O’Neill – and vice versa!
“But the commonsense bon mot offered above does not help solve any problem that
confronts a non-Gombeen.”
Baroness O’Neill makes another interesting, grammatical, if you wish (but blame
it on Somerville) point, “trust,” “verb,” – “to do that?”. “That’s a perfectly
sensible question.” “I can trust a friend to hold a conversation with, but I
wouldn’t trust HER to, say, keep a secret.” I especially enjoyed Baroness
O’Neill’s use of ‘stupid,’ when referring to someone who had made a previous
point. It’s not an adjective philosophers use much. But she does, and with
“No wonder Popper, who took morality itself very seriously, dismissed moral
philosophy as mostly "hot air" (he made exceptions, for example for Rawls' "A
Theory Of Justice").”
Well, Baroness O’Neill left Somerville for Harvard. It would do to revisit
Rawls’s days at Oxford, since he would attend Grice’s Play Group Saturday
(J. R. Searle, who also attended a few meetings, would take an idea or two from
Rawls, and Rawls credits Grice’s “Personal Identity,” in his essay in
“Philosophy and Public Affairs.”)
Baroness O’Neill _improves_ on Rawls, though, by making Rawls a Kantotelian.
Since for Aristotle, ‘justice’ is a virtue, and while we don’t see Kantianism
as having anything to do with virtues, we should. We should also revise the
dissertation that Baroness O’Neill submitted at Harvard, since Rawls advised
McEvoy: “Further general remark: we might take discussions of the "Trolley
Dilemma" as pointing out interesting differences between our moral instincts in
similar-looking situations (though the explanation may largely be
psychological, so that pushing someone to their death makes us squeamish in a
way pulling a lever does not).”
Well, apparently, Baroness O’Neill studied three things at Somerville,
physiology, psychology, and philosophy. But it was G. E. M. Anscombe who told
the philosophy tutor at Somerville that O’Neill looked like she was ‘hungry for
philosophy.’ And she is described now as a ‘philosopher,’ rather than a
‘psychologist’. But she did philosophized on issues like how Kantian morals can
converge with ‘developmental psychology’ – and stuff.
McEvoy: “… but the idea that a worthy moral philosophy can be carved out of
these far-fetched dilemmas is extremely dubious. Otoh, William's "Moral Luck"
explores an interesting theme and one with practical implications.”
Well, the press that published the Williams report asked Baroness O’Neill to
write a new “Preface” to it. And she did! And a brilliant preface it is, too.
It does not replace the original report, since the edition with the O’Neill
‘Preface’ is an abridged one, alas.