Charvet’s arguments revolve around very recent discussions in Anglo-American analytical ethics and political philosophy. He considers and rejects, for example, arguments in favor of both Thomas Nagel’s version of ethical realism and the view that value is constituted by fulfillment of our strongest desires. Both suffer from the inadequate “shared assumption as to the fundamental independence of desire and value, and hence desire and reason”. Instead, we should see both as “interdependent”; value “comes into the world through the medium (...) of the interacting desire and the belief systems of the organism as these articulate and project onto the environment the organism’s needs”. He likewise rejects Nagel’s and Parfit’s views on prudential rationality and personal identity, arguing that no “attempt to establish [personal identity] purely in impersonal terms” can succeed, that “the self is a basic primitive concept that is presupposed in all experience”. (shrink)
This book is about the grounds of ethical life, or the nature and basis of our ethical obligations. It contains an original account of these grounds and shows how this understanding requires specific forms of social and political life. Charvet considers the ideas of the freedom and equality of men in the many forms they have taken and shows that there is a radical incoherence underlying them which consists in the failure to integrate in a coherent way the particular (...) and the moral or communal dimensions of individual life. These two dimensions are separated and opposed to each other. In the final section of the book Charvet develops an original account of the grounds of ethical life which satisfactorily integrates these particular and communal elements of individuality. It is designed to show how the moral claims of individuals are grounded in their associated wills in a community and yet how such a conception preserves the separate individuality of the community's members. (shrink)
Originally published in 1950, this book contains an edited version of the French text of Ernest Renan's 1871 work La réforme intellectuelle et morale, in which Renan makes suggestions intended to improve France in the wake of its defeat by Germany in the Franco-Prussian War. Charvet supplies a biographical note at the beginning of the book explaining Renan's life and opinions. This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in French history and the work of Renan.
By fundamental equality is meant the idea of the equal worth of human beings understood as a constitutive principle of morality. The paper is concerned with how this principle may be justified. Attempts to justify it in an objectivist way by citing some quality of human beings in virtue of which they are supposed to be of equal worth are rejected. Such approaches in fact justify inequality to the extent that some people possess the quality to a greater degree than (...) others. The endeavour to avoid this trap, by attributing an inherent worth to each individual by virtue of their possession of the quality, succeeds only in generating a deep tension between the absolute principle of inherent worth and the relative principle of equal worth which the absolute principle is supposed to justify. The idea that the relation of equality as such is inherently valuable independently of any other consideration is also rejected. The paper then adopts a subjectivist view of equality grounded in an antirealist perspective on value. The argument for equality follows a Rawlsian contractarian procedure but not the Rawlsians' simple assumption of equality. Equality is shown to offer a stable principle of co-operation and so is more advantageous to the subjectivist contractors than the only alternative – to each according to his relative bargaining power. However, the appeal to advantage is necessary but not sufficient. An existential commitment to co-operate on the basis of mutual respect as equals is also required. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with certain connections and oppositions that Brudner perceives between liberty, equality and community. As I understand his project, he begins with a strong atomist conception of the worth of individuals, which he calls libertarian, and claims to show how egalitarian and communitarian ideas of individual worth are unavoidably contained in the original idea and must be developed out of it in order to arrive at a coherent and conceptually stable view. This is the inclusive conception, which (...) retains the libertarian and egalitarian moments as subordinate but essential aspects of a liberal ethical community. This paper is sceptical of the validity of the proposed deduction. It concentrates on a few passages, which purport to show how an initial position has implications that nevertheless are in contradiction with the premises from which they are derived. As a result of this concentration, the paper, unavoidably, ignores a great wealth of illuminating material that, together with the impressive sweep of the project as a whole, fully justifies the attention the book is receiving, even if, as I believe, the overall argument does not succeed. (shrink)
This rich collection will introduce students of philosophy and politics to the contemporary critical literature on the classical social contract political thinkers Thomas Hobbes , John Locke , and Jean-Jacques Rousseau . A dozen essays and book excerpts have been selected to guide students through the texts and to introduce them to current scholarly controversies surrounding the contractarian political theories of these three thinkers.
Ce compte rendu a déjà paru sur le site de l'association Le Latin dans les Littératures Européennes. A. Sueur, Vie de Joachim Burmeister, Paris, Rhuthmos, 2019, 103 p. C'est une heureuse et réjouissante initiative que ce petit livre consacré à la vie de Joachim Burmeister, cet humaniste né à Lunebourg en 1564, mort à Rostock en 1629, dont « le royaume fut de musique et de rhétorique », et dont les ouvrages, composés en latin, ont marqué la naissance en Allemagne (...) de la rhétorique musicale. Nous le - Recensions. (shrink)
Ce compte rendu a déjà paru sur le site de la revue Études. A. Sueur, Vie de Joachim Burmeister, Paris, Rhuthmos, 2019, 103 p. Joachim Burmeister est connu, dans toutes les histoires de la musique, comme celui qui, le premier, a proposé, autour de 1600, une analyse rhétorique des œuvres musicales : celles-ci ne sont plus désormais comprises comme de belles formes reproduisant la splendeur et l'unité des structures du monde, selon la grande approche médiévale, mais comme des discours - (...) Recensions. (shrink)