[lit-ideas] Re: Justifying Moral Principles?

  • From: Adriano Palma <Palma@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2015 05:28:17 +0000

Rorty who?

-----Original Message-----
From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On 
Behalf Of Walter C. Okshevsky
Sent: 26 February 2015 23:43
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx; Omar Kusturica
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Justifying Moral Principles?

Rorty didn't express any optimism or pessimism re the possibilities or future 
of his "ethnocentrism." His claim, pace the realists, constructivists, 
Kantians, emotivists, etc was that this is all we've got as a justification 

Remembering fondly the forests of Opatsia, the slivovitz in Slovenia, and Katya 
in Lyublyana.

Dovijenya, Valodsya

Quoting Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>:

> 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
> >
> >

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