[lit-ideas] Re: Malt, Coffee & Chuck Taylor

  • From: wokshevs@xxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2006 19:39:19 -0230

There is much here that I don't understand. But I will venture to query why we
are to understand Kant's moral theory as but the expression of "the morals of
18th. century Prussia" which is what I believe John McC. to be implying below.
Kant certainly didn't intend his moral theory to be Prussian in any way; just
as Newton didn't think of the theory of gravity as being Polish or British or
Latvian. (The "starry heavens above" and "the moral order withinn" both comprise
ordered, coherent wholes: "Cosmos"). Rather, Kant understood his, and any other
moral theory, as an account articulating and justifying a necessary
and objective imperative of respect for law (the autonomy and dignity of
personhood) validly applicable universally to all rationally autonomous agents
(and rational beings as such). If he's right, and I think basically he was, the
choice is not between one moral space and other moral spaces, but one between
being/acting/willing in a morally worthy way and b/a/w in a morally
impermissible way. More generally, the choice is between a form of life that
understands the nature of rationality, constitutional democracy (Kingdom of
Ends), education and morality and one that interprets these categories in some
heteronomous manner (i.e., education = training or socialization) or institutes
alternatives to them (i.e., theocracy or totalitarianism). 

John them goes on to suggest that moral progress is somehow connected to greater
numerical acceptance of a moral framework. This smacks of a woeful consensus
theory of morality/moral rightness, subscribed to in Canada by the likes of our
present Prime Minister, and I'm not sure that John really wants to join that

Of course, history hasn't ended (last time I looked, anyway). But much of the
agency that constitutes history is of a moral kind, and the only way we have of
recognizing and experiencing such agency is in terms of principles and concepts
that are themselves transcendental to history, i.e., that are grounded in our
capacity for rationality and autonomy. 

Walter C. Okshevsky
Memorial University

Quoting John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>:

> On 6/14/06, wokshevs@xxxxxx <wokshevs@xxxxxx> wrote:
> >
> > P.P.S. Does Taylor allow for the possibility that moral spaces or
> frameworks
> > admit of moral assessment on grounds or criteria that are not themselves
> part
> > of any moral space or framework? If not, why not?
> Don't know. Haven't finished the book yet.
>  Is Kant wrong?
> No. Kant is partially right, as Newton was partially right. Empirical
> research suggests that some framework, composed minimally of a set of
> concepts glossable as "space," "time," "cause," "self," "good" and
> "bad" is a necessary part of the human condition. It also shows that a
> framework composed of homogeneous space and time, cause as a simple,
> logical thing (If X then Y), selves as unitary wholes, and good and
> bad defined in terms of the morals of 18th century Prussia is only one
> of numerous possibilities. Which, of course, leaves open the question
> how to choose between them.
> Is there really
> > no non-circular, non-question-begging justification of a moral
> space/vocabulary
> > as Rorty would have us believe?
> If the only admissable non-circular, non-question-begging
> justification is one whose assumptions are clear and self-evident
> truths from which the space in question can be deduced, no. If one
> allows a reasonable doubt and based-on-the-evidence-we-have-in-hand
> approach, opening the possibility of change if new evidence is brought
> forward, sure. There are lots of possibilities. Some will survive.
> Some will not. Some progress can be made, i.e., toward frameworks more
> widely accepted and more widely acceptable to larger numbers of
> people. History doesn't end. To ask the question as though it could is
> naive.
> -- 
> John McCreery
> The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
> Register to Vote in '06 Elections
> www.VoteFromAbroad.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------------
> To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
> digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html

To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html

Other related posts: