A World without Why by Raymond Geuss

By Raymond Geuss

Wishful pondering is a deeply ingrained human trait that has had a long term distorting influence on moral pondering. Many influential moral perspectives depend upon the confident assumption that, regardless of appearances on the contrary, the human and flora and fauna during which we are living might, finally, be made to make feel to us. In A global with no Why, Raymond Geuss demanding situations this assumption.

The essays during this collection--several of that are released the following for the 1st time--explore the genesis and historic improvement of this confident configuration in moral suggestion and the ways that it has proven itself to be unfounded and faulty. Discussions of Greco-Roman antiquity and of the philosophies of Socrates, Plato, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Adorno play a significant function in lots of of those essays. Geuss additionally levels over such subject matters because the options 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 via Geuss's wide-ranging pursuits in literature, philosophy, and heritage, and by way of his political dedication and trenchant sort, A global with no Why increases basic questions on the viability not only of particular moral ideas and theses, yet of our most elementary assumptions approximately what ethics may possibly and has to be.

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If peace is incompatible with human life or with a truly human life, the moral problem would seem to allow of a clear solution: the nature of things requires a warrior ethics as the basis of a ‘power politics’ that is guided exclusively by considerations of the national interest. (NRH, p. 64) Warrior Morality and the Fate of Civilization 33 Strauss insists that Weber’s rejection of the commonsense possibility of a middle course that takes into account different values and makes trade-offs among them is not based on any refutation of the possibility of reasonable, justified contextual decisions about which values to prioritize in actual situations of social life; rather, it reflects a psychic-aesthetic preference for tragic conflict.

I also address a letter Strauss wrote to his friend Karl Lowith shortly after ¨ Hitler came to power, which has been used by enemies of Strauss as a smoking gun in their case that he is a right-wing extremist. In the letter, Strauss suggests that Hitler should be opposed by appealing to the principles of the fascist, imperialist right rather than of liberalism. Properly read, the letter largely expresses Strauss’s judgment of the political situation at the time, which was that liberalism had collapsed in Germany and any effective action against Hitler would depend on the revolt of military officers or others on the right who initially supported him.

140. Warrior Morality and the Fate of Civilization 37 attack on the inadequacy of legal positivism to subdue human dangerousness, an inadequacy obscured in times of social peace or stability, does not for Strauss lead in the direction of decisionism or nihilism but rather to a reconsideration of the positivists’ rejection of natural right, which cannot be fully positivized, “cannot be fully codified juridically in an unambiguous manner but that does provide . . ”21 The idea of natural right suggests that the limits of positive law, even in times of crisis or unrest, do not imply a vacuum of normativity or effective normative guidance.

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