By Raymond Geuss

ISBN-10: 1400848482

ISBN-13: 9781400848485

Wishful pondering is a deeply ingrained human trait that has had a long term distorting influence on moral considering. Many influential moral perspectives depend upon the positive assumption that, regardless of appearances on the contrary, the human and flora and fauna within which we are living may possibly, finally, 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 concept and the ways that it has proven itself to be unfounded and erroneous. Discussions of Greco-Roman antiquity and of the philosophies of Socrates, Plato, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Adorno play a relevant position in lots of of those essays. Geuss additionally levels over such themes because the recommendations 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 through Geuss's wide-ranging pursuits in literature, philosophy, and background, and via his political dedication and trenchant type, A global with out Why increases basic questions about the viability not only of particular moral strategies and theses, yet of our most elementary assumptions approximately what ethics might and has to be.

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Even ex ante almost anyone else should and would have been able to see the ambiguity in that divine response, and given the notorious ambiguity of oracles, which had already been extensively noted by the time of Pyrrhus, anyone ought to have and almost anyone else would have looked for possible ambiguity. The fact that Pyrrhus didn’t meant that he was dim, excessively self-­obsessed, or perhaps overly self-­confident, or all three. To have any one of these properties was to occupy a very bad 30 • Essay 2 starting point for attacking the Romans in the third century BC, no matter what other military skills one might have.

15 If the last of these possibilities seem increasingly far-­fetched, as indeed they are, one might recall that that is often a characteristic of the fulfillment of oracles, and in the Aeneid itself one can find equally recherché examples of the way oracles are claimed to have been fulfilled and thus what it is retrospectively claimed they “really” meant. Oracles are often worse in this respect—­more obscure—­than riddles in that good riddles should in principle be solvable by the person to whom they are propounded in the present circumstances in which that person happens to find himself, whatever they may be, but many oracles can only be interpreted ex eventu.

There are no gods, and what are called “oracles” are just inventions of the priests and priestesses who “serve” the oracle; except by accident, they have no more knowledge of anything than we do. Lack of clarity is their way of minimising the chance that they will be found out to be frauds and lose their livelihood. Although I am myself an atheist, I think this is far too quick a response, so I would like to bracket it and continue on the assumption that Apollo and the others did exist, and did in some sense “give” oracular responses A further possibility would be the Epicurean view that although gods probably did exist, they were completely unconcerned with humans and their trivial problems and thus had no real interest in giving useful responses.

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A World without Why by Raymond Geuss

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