[lit-ideas] Re: Justifying Moral Principles?

  • From: Ursula Stange <ursula@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2015 10:29:12 -0500

Goodness, yes, Omar.  Ken it is.   However did you remember that?   I would add 
that I have visited parts of the former Yugoslavia.  My son lived in Ljubljana 
for a bit and we travelled with him to Zagreb and down the coast to Pula.  Late 
one night in Pula, we had some red wine so wonderful that we briefly looked in 
the restaurants garbage for evidence of its name (we were the very last 
customers and they locked the doors when we left, so we couldn't just ask).  
Lovely memories of a beautiful area.  

Returning to the subject of Ken for a second, I'd point you to his book page.  
He has finished a trilogy that follows from his lifelong interest in the way 
creativity manifests itself (both similarly and differently) in the arts and in 
the sciences.

> On Feb 24, 2015, at 2:24 AM, Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> And over there you have Al Capone, too. ;) Greetings to Ken. (Did I remember 
> the name correctly ?)
> O.K.
>> On Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 12:22 AM, Ursula Stange <ursula@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> One of my earliest dates with my husband was to see West Side Story....we 
>> enjoyed it (or each other) so much that we just sat there for the next 
>> showing.....you could do that in Chicago in those days.   Culture, yes.
>>> On Feb 23, 2015, at 6:07 PM, Mike Geary <jejunejesuit.geary2@xxxxxxxxx> 
>>> wrote:
>>> Culture, culture, culture, culture,  I got your culture right here, baby:
>>> I like to be in America,
>>> okay by me in America.
>>> Girl: Every thing's free in America,
>>> Boy:For a small fee in America!
>>> GirI: l  like the city of San Juan.
>>> Boy: I know a boat you can get on.
>>> Girl: Hundreds of flowers in full bloom.
>>> Boy: Hundreds of people in each room!
>>> Automobile in America,
>>> chromium steel in America.
>>> Wire spoke wheel in America,
>>> very big deal in America!
>>> Girl: I'll drive a Buick though San Juan.
>>> Boy: If there's a road you can drive one.
>>> Girl: I'll give my cousins a free ride.
>>> Boy: How you fit all of them inside?
>>> I like the storys in America, 
>>> comfort is your's in America.
>>> Knobs on the doors in America, 
>>> wall to wall floors in America!
>>> Girl: I'll bring a T.V. to San Juan.
>>> Boy: if there's a current to turn on.
>>> Girl: Everyone there will give big cheer.
>>> Boy: Everyone there will have moved here!
>>> Immigrant goes to America,
>>> many hellos in America.
>>> Nobody knows in America,
>>> Puerto Rico's in America!
>>> Girl: When I will go back to San Juan.
>>> Boy: When will you shut up and get one?
>>> Girl: I'll give them new washing machine.
>>> Boy: What have they got there to keep clean?
>>>> On Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 2:10 PM, palma <palmaadriano@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>>> yes
>>>>> On Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 10:10 PM, Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx> 
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>> Well, academics have to earn their salaries somehow, and since most of 
>>>>> them have no interesting or fresh ideas to put forward they have to sing 
>>>>> praises to 'their culture.' Egyptian priests did the same in third 
>>>>> milennium B.C.
>>>>> O.K.
>>>>>> On Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 9:03 PM, palma <palmaadriano@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>>>>> interestingly if you look at interdiscipline, anthropologist correctly 
>>>>>> point out that culture is in essence academic bullshit, a concept to be 
>>>>>> eliminated from the range of interesting questions, see e.g. the 
>>>>>> discussions even on pop sites lik edge
>>>>>> http://edge.org/annual-question/what-scientific-idea-is-ready-for-retirement
>>>>>>> On Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 9:55 PM, Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx> 
>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>> If I were rich enough to spend one weekend in Monte Carlo and the next 
>>>>>>> one in Hawai, I think I wouldn't worry about 'my culture' too much. As 
>>>>>>> it is, 'my culture' is all I have, so I identify with it. I don't know 
>>>>>>> how to define it and I'd be hard pressed to list its virtues, but I am 
>>>>>>> sure that there must be some. 
>>>>>>>> On Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 7:58 PM, Mike Geary 
>>>>>>>> <jejunejesuit.geary2@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>>>>>>> Being rather ethnocentric myself, I confess that I'm not familiar 
>>>>>>>> enough with the history of Yugoslavia either long ago or yesterday, 
>>>>>>>> such that I can comment on Omar's remark about what was at stake in 
>>>>>>>> Yugoslavia around 1990, nor competent to comment on how it was 
>>>>>>>> resolved, apparently not to Omar's liking.  Nevertheless, my ignorance 
>>>>>>>> has never kept me from voicing my astute observations.  Phil Enns 
>>>>>>>> fills in his opinion (which is in agreement with Rority -- with whom I 
>>>>>>>> too travel) with a quote from Stanley Fish: "Politics, interest, 
>>>>>>>> partisan conviction, and belief are the locations of morality  
>>>>>>>> ("morality" seems a bit too parochial a term to me,but what the hell, 
>>>>>>>> It's the melody, not the lyrics that make the song) that it is in and 
>>>>>>>> through them that one's sense of justice and the good lives and is put 
>>>>>>>> into action."  This was offered in response to Walter's cry for some 
>>>>>>>> justification for: "Categorical Imperative, Principle of Equal Respect 
>>>>>>>> for Persons, The Original Position, Principle of Discourse, etc... 
>>>>>>>> etc.."  Now, unless I misconstrue Fish-Enns' meaning, I would construe 
>>>>>>>> that my soul-source -- "culture" --  is far and away the better 
>>>>>>>> answer.  We are simply our culture which includes all our behaviours 
>>>>>>>> which spring from the beliefs handed to us by our culture.  It is only 
>>>>>>>> when we see that the cultural way of thinking and/or doing isn't quite 
>>>>>>>> working that we either go to war or begin to question our beliefs, 
>>>>>>>> values, traditions and make little teeny-tiny adjustments (or total 
>>>>>>>> revolution).  Everything is culture.  Even the method and manner and 
>>>>>>>> degree of cultural change.  Damn, I should have been a sociologist.  
>>>>>>>> But what do they know of poetry?  By the same token what the hell do I 
>>>>>>>> know?  Here's one from moi:
>>>>>>>> If ifs were ares
>>>>>>>> I'd own forty cars, 
>>>>>>>> But I'm just a lonesome 
>>>>>>>> Cowboy.
>>>>>>>> So this is what I'm going to do,
>>>>>>>> Saddle up my horse
>>>>>>>> And say "tootle-loo."
>>>>>>>>> On Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 8:29 AM, Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx> 
>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>> The idea that people should be as ethnocentric and partisan as 
>>>>>>>>> possible and that the clash of radically defined opposing interests 
>>>>>>>>> will somehow work out for the best was rather widespread in the 
>>>>>>>>> former Yugoslavia some time around 1990. The things did work out 
>>>>>>>>> eventually, but arguably not for the best.
>>>>>>>>> O.K.
>>>>>>>>>> On Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 3:42 PM, Phil Enns <phil.enns@xxxxxxxxx> 
>>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> Walter O. wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> "We justify our judgements and actions through the giving and 
>>>>>>>>>> assessing of reasons.  In doing so, we appeal to one or more moral 
>>>>>>>>>> principles for purposes of securing satisfactory levels of 
>>>>>>>>>> impartiality and objectivity. But can the principles themselves be 
>>>>>>>>>> justified? Could Rorty"s "ethnocentrism" really be the last word on 
>>>>>>>>>> the subject?  On that meta-ethical view, any attempt to justify a 
>>>>>>>>>> moral scheme or "vocabulary" would prove to be question-begging 
>>>>>>>>>> since the justification would have to appeal to principles, norms 
>>>>>>>>>> and criteria internal to its own vocabulary. So how then do we 
>>>>>>>>>> justify the Categorical Imperative, Principle of Equal Respect for 
>>>>>>>>>> Persons, The Original Position, Principle of Discourse, etc.. Are 
>>>>>>>>>> these really but articles of political faith?"
>>>>>>>>>> I don't find Rorty's position as problematic as Walter does, for two 
>>>>>>>>>> different reasons. First, for Rorty, the ethnocentrism really kicks 
>>>>>>>>>> in only when public debate reaches an impasse, and we are only left 
>>>>>>>>>> with acknowledging that these are the beliefs that 'we' hold. It 
>>>>>>>>>> seems to me that this is similar to the situation that leads Kant to 
>>>>>>>>>> acknowledge the fundamental asocial sociability of human beings, in 
>>>>>>>>>> 'Idea for a Universal History', or that nature separates people, in 
>>>>>>>>>> 'Perpetual Peace'. In the end, there can be no Utopia or World 
>>>>>>>>>> government because there are just too many differences for there to 
>>>>>>>>>> be a single set of laws. For Rorty, ultimately, we are bound to our 
>>>>>>>>>> particular histories, but falling back on this particularity is what 
>>>>>>>>>> should happen only when public reasoning has gone as far as it can.
>>>>>>>>>> Second, the list that Walter gives, i.e. Categorical Imperative, 
>>>>>>>>>> Principle of Equal Respect for Persons, etc., require judgment, and 
>>>>>>>>>> I would prefer that judgment ultimately come under politics. For 
>>>>>>>>>> Kant, judgment is the activity of putting experience under universal 
>>>>>>>>>> rules or laws, so with the CI, we evaluate specific activities by 
>>>>>>>>>> deriving maxims of action from them and attempting to make them 
>>>>>>>>>> universal laws. Because this activity always requires judgment, that 
>>>>>>>>>> is, how the particular comes under the universal, there will always 
>>>>>>>>>> be the problem of how to overcome differences. Kant recognizes that 
>>>>>>>>>> nature divides people, and the one way nature divides is in giving 
>>>>>>>>>> people different interests and goals. So, while in a very Hobbesian 
>>>>>>>>>> fashion, Kant urges people to pursue their interests in as selfish, 
>>>>>>>>>> in other words rational, manner as possible, the reconciliation of 
>>>>>>>>>> differences between people will require a political solution. This 
>>>>>>>>>> political solution will bring about an equilibrium of competing 
>>>>>>>>>> forces and interests, most likely established through a 'spirit of 
>>>>>>>>>> commerce', and most likely in the formation of a Republic. I realize 
>>>>>>>>>> that Walter will not be happy with this, but what comes to mind is a 
>>>>>>>>>> quote from Stanley Fish: 'Politics, interest, partisan conviction, 
>>>>>>>>>> and belief are the locations of morality. It is in and through them 
>>>>>>>>>> that one's sense of justice and the good lives and is put into 
>>>>>>>>>> action.'
>>>>>>>>>> In short, yes, I am quite happy with Walter's list being articles of 
>>>>>>>>>> political faith and I see this as very much being within the vision 
>>>>>>>>>> Kant outlines for his hope for a peaceful future.
>>>>>>>>>> Sincerely,
>>>>>>>>>> Phil
>>>>>> -- 
>>>>>> palma,   etheKwini, KZN
>>>>>> palma
>>>>>> cell phone is 0762362391
>>>>>> *only when in Europe*:
>>>>>> inst. J. Nicod
>>>>>> 29 rue d'Ulm
>>>>>> f-75005 paris france
>>>> -- 
>>>> palma,   etheKwini, KZN
>>>> palma
>>>> cell phone is 0762362391
>>>> *only when in Europe*:
>>>> inst. J. Nicod
>>>> 29 rue d'Ulm
>>>> f-75005 paris france

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