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Moral Clarity: a guide for grown-up idealists – Susan Neiman
Osteoporosis: A Guide for Clinicians. Anyone who takes it seriously is at best naive, and at worst. He is also the only contemporary conservative writer to be explicit about the philosophical questions at issue in international affairs. While his treatment of these questions is confused enough to leave him defending opposite views in successive books, he still deserves thanks for showing that metaphysical issues resound in the contemporary political world. His Of Paradise and Power expanded an essay that argued for the looming U. It became an international bestseller—the Washington Post called Kagan "the rock star of international affairs"—because it went beyond immediate foreign policy questions to offer a worldview that seemed to explain the state of the West as a whole.
His description of the growing distance between Europe and the U.
The two continents were separated not by any old difference; one is enthralled by the seductive charms of the goddess of love and other luxuries, while the other submits to the manly claims of the god of war. Why not? We may be from another galaxy entirely, for all we know or care. Europeans think we have reached the Kantian dream, in which ideas of peaceful negotiation, international courts, and common concern for sharing global wealth make things work.
But though we, too, would like to live in a dream world, Americans recognize the hard facts of this one, and are resolute enough to respond to them—thereby taking on the burdens that allow Europeans to dream on. His long life continued to be dramatic, and frightening. In addition to his studies at Oxford, several journeys to the Continent may have made him more aware than most that England was on the brink of civil war.
In his urge to find a theory that might prevent it, Hobbes wrote books controversial enough to put him in danger. Despite the provocative elements of his writings, Hobbes had to fear for his life once again only. After the Great Fire of London followed the Great Plague of , a parliamentary committee investigated the grounds for the punishments with which England had been visited. But the charges were dropped, and though Hobbes was prevented from publishing, he was left alone to play tennis and translate Homer into a ripe old age.
Hobbes was no exception.
Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-up Idealists - Susan Neiman - Google книги
One whose birth was heralded by invasion and whose life plagued by civil war will find it hard to imagine anything else as the norm. But Hobbes moved from what might have been a simple description of life in its natural state as, memorably, "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short," to positing such conditions as a state of nature. Rather, Hobbes draws a picture of a state of nature that reflected the state he knew. In the move from descriptive analysis of the reality he experienced to suprahistorical claims about reality in general, Hobbes took a step that would have enormous consequences for political theory, and politics itself.
Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-up Idealists
The point is that none of those perspectives can serve as a base for pronouncing on the natural state of humankind. To read current conditions back into a prehistoric state to which we have no access, further argument would be needed, and Hobbes cannot provide it.
In place of the missing argument, contemporary conservatives tend to hammer out phrases like "Hobbesian realities," as if repetition were enough to suggest that anyone who views the world differently is blinded by wishful thinking. This may be regrettable, but building a political philosophy on the denial of human nature is foolish.
Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! Her previous book, Evil in Modern Thought, has been widely hailed as a classic. She is a moral philosopher committed to making the tools of her trade relevant to real life. In Moral Clarity, she shows how the resources of the eighteenth century Enlightenment can help us to reconstruct a progressive politics that does not repeat the mistakes of Marxism or succumb to the appeal of unreason.
Susan Neiman's superb new book should be at the top of beach reads this summer.
For what Neiman beautifully chronicles is how in all sorts of policy areas the left has let slip its Enlightenment bearings and is no longer able to act on moral impulses By the end of the 20th century, scepticism about reason and agnosticism about morality pervaded political life and popular culture. Moral progress, she writes, is neither guaranteed nor hopeless.
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