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72

Ethics Without Principles

3
terms
5
notes

this is no higher power to judge us; ethics is a matter of us being comfortable with ourselves

M. Rorty, R. (2000). Ethics Without Principles. In M. Rorty, R. Philosophy and Social Hope. Penguin, pp. 72-92

73

Morality and law, on the other hand, begin when controversy arises. We invent both when we can no longer just do what comes naturally, when routine is no longer good enough, or when habit and custom no longer suffice. These will no longer suffice when the individual's needs begin to clash with those of her family, or her family's with those of the neighbours', or when economic strain begins to split her community into warring classes, or when that community must come to terms with an alien community. On Dewey's account, the prudence-morality distinction is, like that between custom and law, a distinction of degree - the degree of need for conscious deliberation and explicit formulation of precepts - rather than a distinction of kind. For pragmatists like Dewey, there is no distinction of kind between what is useful and what is right. For, as Dewey said, 'Right is only an abstract name for the multitude of concrete demands in action which others impress upon us, and of which we are obliged, if we would live, to take some account.' [...]

—p.73 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 3 months ago

Morality and law, on the other hand, begin when controversy arises. We invent both when we can no longer just do what comes naturally, when routine is no longer good enough, or when habit and custom no longer suffice. These will no longer suffice when the individual's needs begin to clash with those of her family, or her family's with those of the neighbours', or when economic strain begins to split her community into warring classes, or when that community must come to terms with an alien community. On Dewey's account, the prudence-morality distinction is, like that between custom and law, a distinction of degree - the degree of need for conscious deliberation and explicit formulation of precepts - rather than a distinction of kind. For pragmatists like Dewey, there is no distinction of kind between what is useful and what is right. For, as Dewey said, 'Right is only an abstract name for the multitude of concrete demands in action which others impress upon us, and of which we are obliged, if we would live, to take some account.' [...]

—p.73 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 3 months ago

(adjective) relating to or concerned with earning a living / (adjective) utilitarian practical

74

confused duty with self-interest, the intrinsic authority of the moral law with the banausic need to bargain with opponents whom one cannot overcome

probably related to "banal"?

—p.74 by Richard M. Rorty
confirm
1 year, 3 months ago

confused duty with self-interest, the intrinsic authority of the moral law with the banausic need to bargain with opponents whom one cannot overcome

probably related to "banal"?

—p.74 by Richard M. Rorty
confirm
1 year, 3 months ago

(noun) the act of renouncing or rejecting something; self-denial

80

a wholesale abnegation of our aspirations to something 'higher' than mere animality

—p.80 by Richard M. Rorty
notable
1 year, 3 months ago

a wholesale abnegation of our aspirations to something 'higher' than mere animality

—p.80 by Richard M. Rorty
notable
1 year, 3 months ago
81

[...] So it is best to think of moral progress as a matter of increasing sensitivity, increasing responsiveness to the needs of a larger and larger variety of people and things. Just as the pragmatists see scientific progress not as the gradual attenuation of a veil of appearance which hides the intrinsic nature of reality from us, but as the increasing ability to respond to the concerns of ever larger groups of people - in particular, the people who carry out ever more acute observations and perform ever more refined experiments - so they see moral progress as a matter of being able to respond to the needs of ever more inclusive groups of people.

—p.81 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 3 months ago

[...] So it is best to think of moral progress as a matter of increasing sensitivity, increasing responsiveness to the needs of a larger and larger variety of people and things. Just as the pragmatists see scientific progress not as the gradual attenuation of a veil of appearance which hides the intrinsic nature of reality from us, but as the increasing ability to respond to the concerns of ever larger groups of people - in particular, the people who carry out ever more acute observations and perform ever more refined experiments - so they see moral progress as a matter of being able to respond to the needs of ever more inclusive groups of people.

—p.81 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 3 months ago

(noun) a change or variation occurring in the course of something; successive, alternating, or changing phases or conditions, as of life or fortune; ups and downs

82

something exempt from the vicissitudes of time and history

—p.82 by Richard M. Rorty
notable
1 year, 3 months ago

something exempt from the vicissitudes of time and history

—p.82 by Richard M. Rorty
notable
1 year, 3 months ago
82

[...] you cannot aim at 'doing what is right', because you will never know whether you have hit the mark. Long after you are dead, better informed and more sophisticated people may judge your action to have been a tragic mistake, just as they may judge your scientific beliefs as intelligible only by reference to an obsolete paradigm. But you can aim at ever more sensitivity to pain, and ever greater satisfaction of ever more various needs. Pragmatists think that the idea of something nonhuman luring us human beings on should be replaced with the idea of getting more and more human beings into our community - of taking the needs and interests and views of more and more diverse human beings into account. Justificatory ability is its own reward. There is no need to worry about whether we will also be rewarded with a sort of immaterial medal labelled 'Truth' or 'Moral Goodness' .

—p.82 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 3 months ago

[...] you cannot aim at 'doing what is right', because you will never know whether you have hit the mark. Long after you are dead, better informed and more sophisticated people may judge your action to have been a tragic mistake, just as they may judge your scientific beliefs as intelligible only by reference to an obsolete paradigm. But you can aim at ever more sensitivity to pain, and ever greater satisfaction of ever more various needs. Pragmatists think that the idea of something nonhuman luring us human beings on should be replaced with the idea of getting more and more human beings into our community - of taking the needs and interests and views of more and more diverse human beings into account. Justificatory ability is its own reward. There is no need to worry about whether we will also be rewarded with a sort of immaterial medal labelled 'Truth' or 'Moral Goodness' .

—p.82 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 3 months ago
85

[...] To say that God wills us to welcome the stranger within our gates is to say that hospitality is one of the virtues upon which our community most prides itself. To say that respect for human rights demanded our intervention to save the Jews from the Nazis, or the Bosnian Muslims from the Serbs, is to say that a failure to intervene would make us uncomfortable with ourselves, in the way in which knowledge that our neighbours are hungry while we have plenty on the table ourselves makes us unable to continue eating. To speak of human rights is to explain our actions by identifying ourselves with a community of like-minded persons - those who find it natural to act in a certain way.

—p.85 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 3 months ago

[...] To say that God wills us to welcome the stranger within our gates is to say that hospitality is one of the virtues upon which our community most prides itself. To say that respect for human rights demanded our intervention to save the Jews from the Nazis, or the Bosnian Muslims from the Serbs, is to say that a failure to intervene would make us uncomfortable with ourselves, in the way in which knowledge that our neighbours are hungry while we have plenty on the table ourselves makes us unable to continue eating. To speak of human rights is to explain our actions by identifying ourselves with a community of like-minded persons - those who find it natural to act in a certain way.

—p.85 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 3 months ago
87

More specifically, we see both intellectual and moral progress not as a matter of getting closer to the True or the Good or the Right, but as an increase in imaginative power. We see imagination as the cutting edge of cultural evolution, the power which - given peace and prosperity - constantly operates so as to make the human future richer than the human past. Imagination is the source both of new scientific pictures of the physical universe and of new conceptions of possible communities. It is what Newton and Christ, Freud and Marx, had in common: the ability to redescribe the familiar in unfamiliar terms.

god this book is SO GOOD

—p.87 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 3 months ago

More specifically, we see both intellectual and moral progress not as a matter of getting closer to the True or the Good or the Right, but as an increase in imaginative power. We see imagination as the cutting edge of cultural evolution, the power which - given peace and prosperity - constantly operates so as to make the human future richer than the human past. Imagination is the source both of new scientific pictures of the physical universe and of new conceptions of possible communities. It is what Newton and Christ, Freud and Marx, had in common: the ability to redescribe the familiar in unfamiliar terms.

god this book is SO GOOD

—p.87 by Richard M. Rorty 1 year, 3 months ago