What is this project exactly from williams claim that

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: ked liberals on one issue on which liberals have been consistently in the right.” (A partial response, 302.) 54 After Virtue, 195 53 31 arguments to claim that the contrary is true – that it is irrational for him to have such a ground project. Second, it is equally unclear that it is not irrational to encourage people to acquire such a ground project. Furthermore, it might be imorral to encourage them to do so (a question that does not even arise in Williams’ proposed solution of the free-riders problem). But before I am able to assess the objections which can be put to Tamir’ conception, I will have to make clear what exactly is this conception, although it may not be such a simple task, for there are some unresolved ambiguities even at the very basic level of Tamir’s account. I will start with the central concept of her account – the concept of the nationalist ground project. What is this project exactly? From Williams’ claim that there is no contradiction in one sacrificing his life for his ground project, Tamir draws the following conclusion: “If a person’s ground project is to live a meaningful life and if membership in a particular national-cultural community is a necessary, though by no means sufficient, condition to living such a life, a person may have a reason to risk his or her life in order to ensure the continuity and growth of her nation.”55 Based on this passage it seems that the real ground project in question is living a CEU eTD Collection meaningful life, and that membership in a national-cultural community, ensuring the growth and continuity of the nation are only the means to attaining this end. However, in other places, Tamir puts it differently. For instance, just a few lines later she says the following: “Ground projects need not be collective or, if they are, need not have the state, or the nation, as their object. States, however, are obviously interested in their citizens adopting ground projects in which the state plays the central role and will therefore devote considerable effort to cultivating a preference for such projects.”56 55 56 Tamir, 233 Tamir, 233 32 From this it follows that the ground project she is concerned with has a state, or a nation for its object. This is a quite different claim than the previous one. Here, the state, or the nation (again she is unclear which one exactly, as if the two were synonymous, which they obviously are not), or their “continuation and growth” are taken as ends, not just as means of the ground project. In both cases, however, the objections are more or less the same so I am not going to insist on making a clear distinction but simply refer to this kind of ground project as to the “nationalist ground project”, as Tamir herself refers to it57, and consider the possible implications of different interpretations only where these would make significant difference for the argument. 3.1 THE NATIONALIST GROUND PROJECT AND LIBERAL MORALITY Let us start with the second objection, the one about the rationality and morality of encouraging citizens into acquiring national ground-projects. Williams also contends that ground projects, even the unselfish and altruistic ones, may often conflict with impersonal morality of either utilitarian or Kantian kind. In that case, Williams argues, impartial morality requires primacy, but it is not always reasonable to believe that it will actually get it. Says CEU eTD Collection Williams: “Ther...
View Full Document

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

Ask a homework question - tutors are online