Antitraditionalism and ethics.

In actuality, this post is not going to be on the title topic, but in it. Just some food for thought.
It has been repeatedly suggested that the present limit of intellectual reconstruction lies in the fact that it has not as yet been seriously applied in the moral and social disciplines. Would not this further application demand precisely that we advance to a belief in a plurality of changing, moving, individualized goods and ends, and to a belief that principles, criteria, laws are intellectual instruments for analyzing individual or unique situations?

The blunt assertion that every moral situation is a unique situation having its own irreplaceable good may seem not merely blunt but preposterous.... A moral situation is one in which judgment and choice are required antecedently to overt action. The practical meaning of the situation... is not self-evident. It has to be searched for. There are conflicting desires and alternative apparent goods.... Hence, inquiry is exacted... This [faculty of] inquiry is intelligence. ...

To say a man seeks health or justice is only to say that he seeks to live healthily or justly.... When the endeavor to realize a so-called end does not temper and color all other activities, life is portioned out into strips and fractions.... This is the only logical alternative to subordinating all aims to the accomplishment of one alone--fanaticism. ...

Classifications suggest possible traits to be on the lookout for in studying a particular case... They are tools of insight; their value is in promoting an individualized response in the individual situation. ...

The belief in fixed values has bred a division of ends into intrinsic and instrumental....

No one can possibly estimate how much of the obnoxious materialism and brutality of our economic life is due to the fact that economic ends have been regarded as merely instrumental.
Dewey, Reconstruction in Philosophy.


Blogger Sneaky Sis said...

I was wondering where that came from.

4/4/06 12:35  

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