dunnettreader + morality-critics   3

Brian Leiter - The Epistemic Status of the Human Sciences: Critical Reflections on Foucault (2008) :: SSRN
U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 279 -- Any reader of Foucault's corpus recognizes fairly quickly that it is animated by an ethical impulse, namely, to liberate individuals from a kind of oppression from which they suffer. This oppression, however, does not involve the familiar tyranny of the Leviathan or the totalitarian state; it exploits instead values that the victim of oppression herself accepts, and which then leads the oppressed agent to be complicit in her subjugation. It also depends, crucially, on a skeptical thesis about the epistemology of the social sciences. It is this conjunction of claims - that individuals oppress themselves in virtue of certain moral and epistemic norms they accept - that marks Foucault's uniquely disturbing contribution to the literature whose diagnostic aim is, with Max Weber, to understand the oppressive character of modernity, and whose moral aim is, with the Frankfurt School, human liberation and human flourishing. I offer here both a reconstruction of Foucault's project - focusing on the role that ethical and epistemic norms play in how agents subjugate themselves - and some modestly critical reflections on his project, especially the weaknesses in his critique of the epistemic standing of the human sciences. -- Number of Pages in PDF File: 18 -- Keywords: Foucault, Nietzsche, human sciences, epistemology -- downloaded pdf to Note
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july 2014 by dunnettreader
Brian Leiter - Moral Skepticism and Moral Disagreement in Nietzsche (2013) :: SSRN - Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Vol. 9 (Oxford University Press, 2014)
U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 257 -- This essay offers a new interpretation of Nietzsche's argument for moral skepticism.., an argument that should be of independent philosophical interest as well. On this account, Nietzsche offers a version of the argument from moral disagreement, but, unlike familiar varieties, it does not purport to exploit anthropological reports about the moral views of exotic cultures, or even garden-variety conflicting moral intuitions about concrete cases. Nietzsche, instead, calls attention to the single most important and embarrassing fact about the history of moral theorizing by philosophers over two millennia: namely, that no rational consensus has been secured on any substantive, foundational proposition about morality. Persistent and apparently intractable disagreement on foundational questions, of course, distinguishes moral theory from inquiry in the sciences and mathematics (perhaps in kind, certainly in degree). According to Nietzsche, the best explanation for this disagreement is that, even though moral skepticism is true, philosophers can still construct valid dialectical justifications for moral propositions because the premises of different justifications will answer to the psychological needs of at least some philosophers and thus be deemed true by some of them. The essay concludes by considering various attempts to defuse this abductive argument for skepticism based on moral disagreement and by addressing the question whether the argument "proves too much," that is, whether it might entail an implausible skepticism about a wide range of topics about which there is philosophical disagreement. -- Keywords: Nietzsche, morality, skepticism, metaethics, anti-realism -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  books  SSRN  intellectual_history  19thC  Germany  Nietzsche  moral_philosophy  morality-objective  morality-Nietzche  morality-conventional  morality-critics  scepticism  human_nature  metaethics  epistemology-moral  foundationalism  downloaded  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
Brian Leiter - Morality Critics [chapter] :: SSRN - in THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF CONTINENTAL PHILOSOPHY, B. Leiter & M. Rosen, eds., Oxford University Press, 2007
U of Texas Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 114 -- One striking feature of post-Kantian philosophy in Europe has been the emergence of morality critics, philosophers who, contra the popular consensus, dispute the value of morality and the moral life. Their views find a faint echo in the work of some Anglophone moral philosophers (Philippa Foot and Bernard Williams are the main exemplars), but, as we will see, the "Continental" criticisms of morality generally cut far deeper and more radically. -- These Continental morality critics object that morality in practice is an obstacle to human flourishing itself. So understood, this attack on morality raises two immediate questions. First, the Continental morality critics are plainly not without ethical views of their own - ..broadly, about the good life for (some or all) human beings - since it is on the basis of these views that they criticize "morality." -- we can usefully divide Continental critics of morality into two camps: .... In the first camp ... see the individual's acceptance of morality as such as an obstacle to the individual's flourishing; in different ways, Nietzsche and Freud .... In the second camp ... see morality as among the "ideological" instruments that sustain socio-economic relations that are obstacles to individual flourishing. On this second account - ..Marx and perhaps some of ..the Frankfurt School - it is not allegiance to morality per se that thwarts individual flourishing, but rather the role such allegiance plays in sustaining certain socio-economic relations.. We will call the former "Direct Morality Critics" and the latter "Indirect Morality Critics." (Foucault straddles both approaches, and so we will discuss him in a transitional section.) -- downloaded pdf to Note
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july 2014 by dunnettreader

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