The Life-world as Moral World: Vindicating the Life-world en route to a Phenomenology of the Virtues

Clarifying the essential experiential structures at work in our everyday moral engagements promises both (1) to provide a perspicacious self-understanding, and (2) to significantly contribute to theoretical and practical matters of moral philosophy. Since the phenomenological enterprise is concerned with revealing the a priori structures of experience in general, it is then well positioned to discern the essential structures of moral experience specifically. Phenomenology can therefore significantly contribute to matters pertaining to moral philosophy. In this paper I would like to contribute to the relatively small yet burgeoning field of phenomenological ethics. I endea­vour to do so by first identifying and consolidating the basic level of sense-bestowal, and then outlining the a priori structures of volition in order to demonstrate how such phenomenologically discerned structures are required for moral experience. Specifically, in section one I locate moral experience as at the level of meaning that is phenomenologically identified as the life-world, and then vindicate the life-world by illustrating how it is immune to naturalistic rationalisation. By thus both securing the level of meaning that is of concern and importantly delimiting the scope of our analysis, I proceed in section two to relate the volitional analyses of Aristotle, Husserl, and Heidegger. This relation is achieved thanks to a conceptual point of con­tinuity: ‘prohairesis’. By examining the function of this concept (as an intentional structure) and its phenomenological continuity, the ground is then prepared for further phenomenological analyses of the virtues.
Keywords Phenomenology  Ethics  Virtue  Prohairesis  Life-world  Husserl  Aristotle  Heidegger
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