[lit-ideas] Re: Justifying Moral Principles?

  • From: palma <palmaadriano@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2015 22:03:16 +0200

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


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


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