The Failure of the Enlightenment Project

The Failure of the Enlightenment Project - The Failure of...

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Unformatted text preview: The Failure of the Enlightenment Project A. First attempt: grounding morality in sentiments, feelings (especially sympathy). Hume, Diderot, Adam Smith, the Utilitarians (Bentham, Mill). Problems: 1. These sentiments vary widely by person, class, culture. An arbitrary choice of preferred feelings is made. (49) 2. This account assumes that human happiness is a simple, unitary matter (e.g., quantity of pleasure). Happiness is polymorphous. Mill's "higher" and "lower" pleasures. (63) 3. No adequate account of the motivation for morality. Sympathy is weak, inconstant. One can make a pragmatic case for the existence of justice, but there's no avoiding the problem of Hobbes's "sensible knave", who obeys the rules of justice only when there in his own interest, who pursues the appearance (not the reality) of trustworthiness. B. Second attempt: ground morality in the demands of pure reason. (Kant, Rawls, Gewirth) Kant's criteria of universalizability is too weak -- it is compatible with almost any moral opinion...
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