[lit-ideas] Re: SoS-Chapter 2, Moral Frameworks

  • From: "John McCreery" <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 7 Jun 2006 22:17:42 +0900

On 6/7/06, Mike Geary <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Maybe I'm missing a lot, but I keep waiting for Taylor to say something new. The framework, ie, the value system wherein or whereby we find our self-identity is nothing more than the world we're born into -- or so I take it. It seems no different than the Heideggerian always-already world from which and in which and through which we interpret the world and ourselves.

Except for that modern predicament he keeps going on about, where we live in multiple worlds and live aware of many others, which tends to erode the certainty with which Mr. H's always-already world was imbued. Makes things damned uncomfortable if you start with the notion that you've got to be right or wrong absolutely.

I see Taylor struggling with the question, "Can a philosopher be a
scientist instead of a metaphysician?" where the terms were set for me
when I first read Nietzche as a freshman at Michigan State, the bit in
The Birth of the Tragedy and the Genealogy of Morals, where Nietzche
compares the scientist and the metaphysician to two men watching
Salome perform the dance of the seven veils. The scientist, says N, is
content to be tantilized as one veil after another is slowly lifted.
The metaphysician is the boor who keeps shouting, "Take it all off,

Apostasy is a rare occurrence among human beings.

Really? Change happens, and change starts nowhere else (unless, of course, it's little random variations and accidents of fate, the natural selection thing, you know).

That all human beings
work within a value system, usually the one given them by their immediate
culture, doesn't surprise me as it seems to surprise Taylor -- or maybe it
doesn't surprise him, maybe he's just making sure that we understand this
ground on which he builds his castle.  Maybe he's going to get into the
question that interests me, how is change possible?  What causes people to
shift their moral perspectives, even if ever so slightly.  I suspect it's
good old pragmatism.  We'll see.

Yes, I too am eager to get beyond the oh-so-careful prologomenizing and see what he does in the second part of the book.

Mike Geary Never sure I didn't miss something.

Hell, I'm always sure I've missed something.

Or as Rumsfeld would have it: I don't know what I don't know that I don't

Then again, there is Eleanor of Acquitaine's wonderful line in _A Lion in Winter_. She and her sons, the future Kings Richard and John, Geoffry who winds up only a Duke, and Philip of France are walking along a battlement. John asks, speaking of Henry Plantagenet, Eleanor's husband and her sons' father,

"Do you think he knows that we know that he knows that...."

to which Eleanor (played beautifully by Kathryn Hepburn) replies,

"We are a knowledgeable family."

There was a lady with a framework.


John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN

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