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e-book Nietzsche’s Justice: Naturalism in Search of an Ethics

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Ethical position that moral agents should act in their own self-interest. For other forms of egoism, see Egoism. Topics and concepts. Principal concerns. Springer Netherlands. August 24, Archived from the original on December 2, Retrieved Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

The clash within civilizations: coming to terms with cultural conflicts. Psychology Press. Ancient Philosophy. Many of its supporters apparently think its truth is self-evident, so that arguments are not needed. Ethical egoism does not bother itself with how others receive charity, irrespective of how degraded it makes them feel. The same reasoning applies to the previous two bullets, which use self-interest as a means to the end of beneficence, rather than for its own purposes, as the theory would dictate.

Journal of Business Ethics. Eine Theorie der Gesellschaft Envy. A Theory of Social Behaviour , , 1st English ed. Schools of thought. Mazdakism Zoroastrianism Zurvanism. Kyoto School Objectivism Postcritique Russian cosmism more Formalism Institutionalism Aesthetic response. Consequentialism Deontology Virtue. Atomism Dualism Monism Naturalism. Action Event Process. By region Related lists Miscellaneous. The pursuit of this ethic invites a revaluation of the principles explored in Nietzsche's last writings. Smart, concise, and accessibly written, Nietzsche's Justice reveals a philosopher who is both socially embedded and oriented toward contemporary debates on the nature of the modern state.

The work has many more virtues than can be enumerated here. Highly recommende "Sedgwick provides an extremely lucid and readable account of the development of Nietzsche's philosophy. His canny decision to focus on the theme of justice carries the reader to the very heart of Nietzsche's thinking.


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Track My Order. My Wishlist Sign In Join. Be the first to write a review. Add to Wishlist. Ships in 7 to 10 business days. Link Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. That is to say, fancy manipulates the systems of symbolism that thinking needs, although it usually skates over the surface of conscious thought and so is the least significant when it comes to the problem of elucidating good sense. Perception thus turns out to refer to a highly complex business involving ongoing negotiations between the conscious and the unconscious dimensions of experiencing.

Ethical egoism - Wikipedia

The situation, in short, leads Coleridge to distinguish between a sensual and a moral or spiritual side of the production of sense:. But they exist in all, and their first appearance discloses itself in the moral being BL, Indeed, as Merleau-Ponty indicates, to be alive is to be involuntarily, unaccountably, and ineluctably immersed in a world of sense: we have merely to open our eyes and we have it.

But to pause to contemplate this strange situation is to find oneself floating, as it were, in an ever-shifting scene whose provenance is a mystery. Nonetheless, we have only to compare our own putatively private image-world with those of others around us to become convinced that we live in a common world. Or at least in semi-private worlds that overlap in many places, although probably never perfectly. That this line of thought is not really new, but has only been systematically ignored by the majority of self-styled rational-empiricists, is thus not insignificant.

Thus when Coleridge charges materialistic thinkers with a certain moral laxity, he can be understood as alluding to a culpable neglect of or studied indifference to the need to develop and nurture the most vital organs of spirit—that is to say, not only the hidden power of primary imagination but also secondary or poetic imagination. This indication, that power holds the key to understanding the obscure relations between minds and world, is reinforced by both Whitehead and Deleuze whose mutually supportive event-ontologies elicit an image of the world as a complex and intricate dance of ensouled occasions of sensibility linked by perceptual perceptions.

Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 4, No 1-2 (2008)

So if one assumes that such relationships bespeak mutually affecting concerns, and hence networks of moral selves, the question of what a moral self is can be postponed no longer. One may ask, more particularly, concerns for what, exactly? As a first observation, concern is surely meaningless in the absence of centers of sensibility that have the capacity to affect or be affected by other such centers. Concern, in other words, refers to capacities to feel not the actual feelings of others but rather feelings that resonate with those feelings.

However, the story I am attempting to sketch must undergo a quantum jump in complexity at this point. As I noted earlier, everyday acts of perception bear witness to both active and passive modes of influencing and being influenced. The connective relationships between actual events thus testify to a certain tension between two essential principles, one pertaining to conformity with and the other to alterations in predominant types of organization. Whitehead in fact explicitly holds that a principle of conformity must be posited to account for the continuities exhibited in the flux of experience-events—continuities that warrant investing certain sequences of acts of becoming with personal identity.

More generally, then, one can say that the past has a certain power to ensure that it always be given its due in every new act of becoming. This factor of the immanence of the past always exists in tension with a factor of indeterminacy. That is, one must also posit a principle of modification to account for novelty or change so that becoming generally takes place under the aegis of an overarching complementarity of immanence-transcendence.


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In his formal exposition of the theory of organism these objects are not presented as the complements of actual entities as the law of polarity in a true naturalism would seem to require. Thus repetition accounts for the factor of permanence in worldly forms of organization, which always leaves plenty of room for change—since a repetition of differences is inherently open to displacements or alterations wherein novel differences are inserted into extant repetitive structures. One advantage of this approach is that it is consonant with a salient feature of matter as this is revealed by modern physics wherein periodicity figures centrally in the expression of the characters of elementary physical events.

The existence of what he calls repetition for-itself presupposes a differentiating power in nature that creates the differences that repeat, while allowing for a power of differenciation that can introduce novel differences into extant repetitions. He in fact calls for the resurrection of the discredited doctrine of faculties which he claims is entirely necessary in philosophy. According to this view, a faculty refers to a transcendental capacity to make meaning. It is thus important to stress that for Deleuze the Idea is immanent, for although he insists that some form of Platonism is unavoidable, he is not advocating a return to the traditional notion of an other-worldly realm of eternal verities, or ideas.

For even supposing that all the faculties are operating properly, a special faculty seems required; one with a passion to properly distribute the contributions from all the faculties.

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What else could such a passion be but a desire for justice? Justice like Beauty would seem to refer rather to peculiarly human ideals, which means that a passion for justice may well be accompanied by a passion for wisdom. One is thus led in the end to wonder whether the very idea of good sense presupposes an instinctive wisdom in Nature, for nothing else may be able to account for acts of minding that can sort out the valuable from the irrelevant or disruptive contributions of ill-developed or corrupted faculties.

If an adequate treatment of morality must pay as much attention to the sources of bad sense as good sense, and if the making of sense evokes the picture of a cosmic dance of interconnected, ensouled selves, one cannot ignore the state of moral health of the participating selves. Although it makes sense to speak of each embodied self as having a personal identity, and hence a distinctive soul, the popular notion of a self-identical self is a misleading fiction.

The notion of personal identity does not refer to an eternal, immutable soul, and ultimately a purely moral self, but rather only to a fleeting soul whose health can wax and wane in company with the mind-body it is intimately bound up with. This means there can be only more or less morally responsible selves—which is hardly surprising in a context which presumes that every human self exemplifies an actual entity. As noted above, the situation illustrates an unresolvable tension between a principle of conformity and a principle of modification.

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The latter principle indicates that the moral health of any self-soul is dependent on the state of cultivation of the powers of imagination at its command. And inasmuch as the power of imagination holds the key to the production of good sense, the manifestly variable quality of the functionings of this faculty a fact of ordinary experience that is familiar enough to everyone means that any quest for a naturalistic theory of morality ought to jettison the hoary ideal of the Good.

The existence of bad sense, indeed of limitless evil of the sort that Arendt depicts, must be taken into account. Nor can it tell the morally concerned thinker when it is high time to stop and think; that is, to step back and attempt to exercise properly developed powers of imagination wisely. At this point we once again are reminded of the importance of the topic of learning which is a lifetime activity that can neither be fully explained in scientific terms nor controlled by systematic methods.

If good learning requires, as Deleuze maintains, a long apprenticeship in the interpretation of signs, interpretation must be an art that depends on all the relevant faculties having first been educated to an appropriate level. Nonetheless, it is still possible to pursue the matter a little further with the help of C. In his view, the products of these activities are often always?

More specifically, Peirce depicts a semiotic transactions, or semiosis, as an irreducibly triadic process that involves communicative exchanges between objects, signs, and interpretants. These elements of a semiosis cannot, however, be dealt with independently of one another—which suggests that a semiosis generally involves a complex interplay of interacting powers. That is to say, objects betoken powers that issue in signs, interpretants powers to discern the meanings conveyed by signs, and signs themselves as powers capable inducing interpretants to respond to them.

For a Peircean semiosis invites comparison not only with a Deleuzian event-encounter but also with a Whiteheadian experience-event in which affectively guided percepts somehow result in a realization of meanings in the form of complexes of interrelated feelings. For what else but the power of imagination could interpret an intrinsically vague sign? And what else but a soul capable of launching a reality-producing power of imagination could transform signs, which are mere possibilities or potential meanings, into definite qualities of feeling?

And where else but in living, sentient bodies could those definite qualities of feelings actually be felt? Now the above necessarily rough sketch conjures up a thoroughly nonmodern picture of Nature in which every organism is best viewed, as Deleuze if fact suggests, as a sign-interpreter. Hence its capacity to survive is best elucidated not in the light of a principle of natural selection but rather in the context of law-like habits of interpretation. Not good solutions testify to wise decisions in respect to how the organism responds to the flood of signs and symbols in which it swims. For it is not incidental that signs do not force meanings so much as invite interpretations.

In other words, the Peircean view of semiosis opens up a space for the ghostly figure of Eros who is probably always accompanied by Thanatos inasmuch as bad sense can result from misguided, inadequate, or malicious decisions. The upshot is that if good sense attests to an overweening desire for a just distribution of the contributions of all the faculties, the notoriously vague ideal of justice may not only be indispensable to any story about the production of good sense.

Every attainment of justice in this evolutionary world may also reflect something like a dynamic wisdom. Especially in the case of the human organism which is endowed with an extraordinary range of faculties that can be betrayed as wells as enlisted in the business of making sense. Hence if he and Merleau-Ponty are right and learning holds the key to understanding the growth of sensibility as well as the advance of understanding, good learning can be understood as grounded in an innate constellations of instincts that, assuming the conditions are right for good learning, may be developed into a variety of mature faculties.

What else but an overarching Will could account for the work of Eros which results in an only a more or less vital and harmonious Cosmic Dance of occasions of sensibility?

Nietzsche, Naturalism, and Normativity

In so far as this dance has neither Choreographer nor Director, it can still be viewed as a drama moved ever onward by a Will to create ever more nuanced quicknesses in the movements of Life and Thought. Thus the story I am sketching can lead to no definite conclusion: it can only become ever more convoluted and contentious. What I have tried to show is that it is indeed possible to outline a picture of the world as a moral universe in which the vague ideals of both justice and wisdom bespeak instincts that may well include moral and ethical instincts.

But since the operations of faculties may not be properly developed or exercised, it is small wonder that human world-making proffers no end of examples of stubborn or clever or malicious stupidity as well as dynamic wisdom. Although incapable of being defined exactly, a moral or ethical instinct is no more or less hard to pin down than a rational instinct—which is surely evoked by every would-be true naturalist who believes in the power of reason to reveal aspects of the Logos. Indeed, in a nonmodern theory of actuality such as the one Whitehead limns, if an actual entity can be modeled as a living ensouled body, so can the society or living culture in which it is embedded.

Furthermore, if a moral self betokens a soul whose vitality can wax and wane in tandem with the functioning of the ethical faculty, the health of each individual soul may well reflect that of the soul of the surrounding culture; that is, the state of health of the enveloping collective imagination.

Nietzsche and Naturalism

That many such illusions turn out to be delusions is only to be expected if the most commonly deployed form of the power of imagination is what Coleridge calls fancy. Having a distinct tendency toward anarchy, this form of imagination indicates that a well-developed imagination ultimately depends on a predominance of wise instincts.

In any event, it seems that the worst place for the apprentice to try to learn the meaning and genesis of good sense is probably that which is at present the most popular one; namely, the biological, neurological, and cognitive sciences—where wisdom is notable for its absence from the curriculum.