By Michael Walzer, Stanley Cavell, Daniel C. Dennett, T. M. Scanlon Jr., Arnold S. Relman, Jurgen Habermas, Sterling Mcmurrin
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Extra info for Tanner Lectures on Human Values, Vol. 8
Don't do that! And these decrees are critical in character, critical from the beginning, for it would hardly be a revelation if God commanded us to do and not do what we were already doing and not doing. A revealed morality will always stand in sharp contrast to old ideas and practices. That may well be its chief advantage. But it is, necessarily, a short-lived advantage, for once the revelation is accepted, once the new moral world is inhabited, the critical edge is lost. Now God's decrees, so at least we pretend to ourselves, regulate our everyday behavior; we are what he wants us to be.
18 Can we find anything like that in (secular) moral experience? The principle of utility? The rights of man? Maybe; but moral transformations seem to occur much more slowly, and less decisively, than transformations in science and technology; nor are they so clearly progressive in character, as greater factual knowledge or expanded human capacities presumably are. Insofar as we can recognize moral progress, it has less to do with the discovery or invention of new principles than with the inclusion under the old principles of previously excluded men and women.
35. 8 A Theory of Justice (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971). 9 Communication and the Evolution of Society, trans. by Thomas McCarthy (Boston: Beacon, 1979), especially chapter 1. But there is a dilemma here: if the circumstances of what Habermas calls ideal speech or undistorted communication are specified in detail, then only a limited number of things can be said, and these things could probably be said by the philosopher himself, representing all the rest of us. As Raymond Geuss has argued, it isn't as if we have a real choice about what opinions we will finally form.
Tanner Lectures on Human Values, Vol. 8 by Michael Walzer, Stanley Cavell, Daniel C. Dennett, T. M. Scanlon Jr., Arnold S. Relman, Jurgen Habermas, Sterling Mcmurrin