A World without Why - download pdf or read online

By Raymond Geuss

ISBN-10: 1400848482

ISBN-13: 9781400848485

Wishful pondering is a deeply ingrained human trait that has had a long term distorting impact on moral pondering. Many influential moral perspectives rely on the confident assumption that, regardless of appearances on the contrary, the human and flora and fauna during which we are living may perhaps, ultimately, be made to make experience to us. In A global with out Why, Raymond Geuss demanding situations this assumption.

The essays during this collection--several of that are released right here for the 1st time--explore the genesis and historic improvement of this positive configuration in moral idea and the ways that it has proven itself to be unfounded and faulty. Discussions of Greco-Roman antiquity and of the philosophies of Socrates, Plato, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Adorno play a imperative function in lots of of those essays. Geuss additionally levels over such subject matters because the innovations of intelligibility, authority, democracy, and feedback; the function of mendacity in politics; structure; where of theology in ethics; tragedy and comedy; and the fight among realism and our look for meaning.

Characterized by means of Geuss's wide-ranging pursuits in literature, philosophy, and historical past, and by means of his political dedication and trenchant variety, A international with no Why increases primary questions on the viability not only of particular moral options and theses, yet of our most simple assumptions approximately what ethics may and has to be.

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Cicero can be understood actually to be making this point about context-­dependency in the passage above. What he says is if you are giving a speech to a political meeting (contio) then this kind of Thucydidean style is not appropriate. It doesn’t follow from this—­although it might in fact be true—­that it would be “obscure” in other situations or circumstances, for instance, among the mem- Vix intellegitur • 25 bers of a small group of the literary and political elite who met to understand the causes and the course of the war between Athens and the Peloponnesian League, and who could have their slaves read the relevant passages back to them several times for discussion.

One can, however, tell two slightly different stories about this. First, one can tell the story of origins of the hammer, for instance by visiting the Musée de l’homme in Paris and looking closely at the exhibited artefacts. One could also—­and this would seem to be a second way of proceeding—­discuss the “origin” of the hammer by looking at continuing configurations of human desires, goals, needs, and the conditions under which they are or are not attainable or capable of being satisfied—­by looking at the problem to which the invention of the hammer was the solution.

2 How many is “too many,” however, obviously depends on whether one is a Cicero standing in the Forum in Rome, shouting at a changing audience of half-­distracted members of the plebs, or a Cicero sitting in the comfort and quiet of a rural villa with his learned friend Atticus and his learned slave Tiro. Nevertheless, although what Cicero says in this passage is that Thucydides’ style is not appropriate for public political oratory, it might also in fact be the case, although that is not Cicero’s main point here, that Thucydides’ style is inappropriate because “obscure” in any context that might reasonably be assumed to exist for reading it.

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A World without Why by Raymond Geuss


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