By James R. Otteson
'Actual Ethics' bargains an ethical protection of the 'classical liberal' political culture and applies it to numerous of today's vexing ethical and political matters.
James Otteson argues Kantian notion of personhood and an Aristotelian notion of judgment have compatibility or even complementary. He exhibits why they're morally appealing, and maybe such a lot controversially, while mixed, they indicate a constrained, classical liberal political kingdom. Otteson then addresses a number of modern difficulties - wealth and poverty, public schooling, animal welfare, and affirmative motion - and indicates how every one should be plausibly addressed in the Kantian, Aristotelian and classical liberal framework.
Written in transparent, attractive, and jargon-free prose, 'Actual Ethics' will supply scholars and normal audiences an summary of a robust and wealthy ethical and political culture that they won't in a different way examine.
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Just how unlikely would it be that we could change the balance of people’s motivations from self-interest to benevolence, or extend their natural concern to all mankind? It would be like trying to teach tigers not to attack and kill their natural prey. With concerted, persistent—and coerced, one might add—effort, you might make some headway in getting them to jump through hoops or stand on their hind legs, but if you let a baby wild boar loose in your trained Siberian tiger’s habitat, well, I think we both know what would happen.
Evolutionary biologists, for example, often try to account for it by recourse to something they call “kin selection,” whereby the presence of a genuine concern for the well-being of one’s kin might have increased the chances of the survival of the genotype shared among the kin, and thus would have been selected for. The idea is that what gets selected for is copies of genes, regardless of the individual housing the copies. Since an individual’s siblings and parents, for example, carry genes that are very similar to its own, the hypothesis is that what might be selected for is not only an interest in oneself reproducing—because, after all, that is putting all one’s eggs in one basket—but rather an interest in both oneself and one’s near relatives surviving.
Thus we should strive to maintain the connection between decision (or freedom) and consequences (or responsibility) as much as possible. Not only is that the way to respect people’s personhood—both of the actors and of those affected by their actions—but it also allows to operate the natural incentives that give people the motivations necessary to develop their judgment properly, and hence, we can hope, to make fewer bad decisions in the future. natural human motivation I do not wish to suggest that human beings are exclusively self-interested in any narrow or pernicious sense.