The core of Walton's theory is the claim that make-believe, understood as imagination or pretense, is the common element in all representations--literature, visual arts, theater, film, and opera. He sets out to show that, taking seriously childrens' games as a starting point, we can learn a lot about various kinds of representation. He suspects that make-believe may be crucially involved even in certain religious practices, in sports, in the institutions of morality, and in postulates of "theoretical entities" in science. His (...) theory will help us see, he suggests, that "engaging in make-believe provides practice in roles one might someday assume in real life, that it enables one to come to grips with one's own feelings, that it broadens one's perspectives". (shrink)
The special merit of this book is that it not only focuses our attention on crucial drawbacks of modern liberalism but also offers a convincingly articulated alternative. In defending this alternative, Norton invokes the resources of Greek classical thought, especially the views of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Leaning on that tradition, he proposes that we foster a developmental, eudaimonistic conception of the human self, in contrast to modern liberalism's tendency to favor a static, atomistic notion of the individual, who is (...) primarily driven by economic motives and is encouraged to acquiesce in minimalist morality, reducing it to legalistic rule-following. Besides providing an illuminating historical account of cultural forces that are responsible for the neglect of classical liberalism in favor of the modern liberalism, Norton describes the consequences of that shift: "The effect of modern minimalism is to afford moral life little space for the aspiration that is a definitive human trait; it is a small room with a low ceiling and not much of a view. A telling consequence of this has been to redirect human aspirations away from the confines of morality and toward the apparently limitless horizons afforded by the laboratory and the market". (shrink)
Our interest in unconscious motives is not only theoretical; it is also practical, moral. Unconscious motives often perform a useful function, but this may be bought at too high a price. Special therapeutic techniques may be needed to liberate a person from the grip of an unconscious motive. Such a liberation is possible because unconscious motives operate within the larger area of conscious self-control. The goal of rational behavior is to enlarge this area of self-control by greater self-knowledge. The limits (...) of self-knowledge and self-control are flexible, and it is desirable to extend them as far as possible. (shrink)
2. To use the objective form, "X is the case," is to indicate prima facie that the above rules have been observed in making the assertion and that the hearer is expected to take this for granted. Otherwise, special qualifications are normally added which indicate that the speaker knows of special circumstances which may prevent the hearer from believing X or make him for some reason incapable of following the evidence for X.