As the title implies, this article asks what an adequate practical ethic is and what a hermeneutic of moral experience can mean for practical ethics. We will use some elements from Ricoeur’s work to examine our view critically and develop it further. We will ask how experience can be an object of hermeneutical study and how we can tie narrativity and normativity together.
The paper offers a counter- reading to Derrida's “utopian” reading of Nietzsche, focussing instead on Nietzsche's cynical view of friendship, based on the impossibility of being a friend to oneself. Unlike Aristotle, who sees the basis of human political nature in their shared rationality and mutual friendship, Nietzsche sees not only politics, but human beings themselves as being constituted by a violent act of submission, and characterised by an ongoing struggle for power. The paper further examines two intellectual traditions about (...) friendship and politics, one according to which the two are positively related and no real tension could exist between them. Another tradition holds friendship to be irreconcilable with politics. Elements of both traditions can be recognised in Nietzsche who, finding the radical deceptive nature of friendship unacceptable, moves to a solitude which is equally unbearable. For it is precisely the hermit that knows that his solitude makes him into an other to himself, which turns out to be a motive for real friendship, the third element which prevents the lonely hermit from sinking into the depth of self- interrogation. The paper concludes with the recognition that friendship, for Nietzsche, can only have an intermediary function on the way to full realisation of friendship, which will be a friendship of an inner difference or plurality, i.e. on our way to what is ultimately beyond the human condition, to the “over man”. (shrink)
Insofar as the notion of forgiveness stems from the Jewish and Christian traditions, it seems to point at something very extraordinary. Although Christianity recommends or even commissions forgiveness to everybody, it nevertheless seems to consist of something which is not humanly possible: how could one remember the evil committed , and at the same time not blame the one who committed it? By ultimately reserving the entitlement and ability to forgive to God, by describing human forgiveness as a theological virtue, (...) and by emphasizing the gratuitous or gracious character of forgiveness, this tradition seems most of all to show that forgiveness is generally speaking impossible. In this paper, this conception of forgiveness is presented with the help of Jacques Derrida. The question how this apparently impossibility nevertheless sometimes happens is first answered with the help of Thomas Aquinas. Against this background, the paper claims that a ‘secular’ interpretation of forgiveness is also possible, which does justice to its being humanly impossible. Such interpretation describes forgiveness as an intersubjective act. (shrink)
In this article I examine the question whether classical virtue ethics, specifically the virtue of moderation, can still be of any significance for one of the major problems of our times: the environment. Can the virtue of moderation make a meaningful contribution to environmental ethics?
In den Jahren, aud denen WL stammt , legt Nietzsche ein beachtenswertes Interesse für Aristoteles' politische Philosophie an den Tag, und WL kann aus der Perspektive einer Passage der aristotelischen Politik gelesen werden. In beiden Texten geht es um Wahrheit, Moral und Gemeinschaft. Während Aristoteles zufolge der Mensch als Logos-Wesen wesentlich in einer politischen Gesellschaft lebt und somit sich vom Tier und vom Gott unterscheidet, such Nietzsche nach einer Figue, die beide - gegensätzlichen - Positionen in sich vereint. Der Philosoph, (...) den Nietzsche sucht und der er sein will, muss sich einerseits außerhalb Gemeinschaft stellen, von welcher er andererseits Teil sein muss, um sein Aufgabe erfüllen zu können. Er muss sowohl Gott als auch Tier sein. Dass Nietzsche diese Figur jetzt noch nicht findet, macht seinen Text 'unfertig' und erklärt vielleicht, dass er 'geheimgehalten' werden musste.During the years in which Nietzsche write his essay On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense , he seems to have paid a remarkable interest to Aristotle's political philosophy, and TL can be read against the background of a passage from Aristotle's Politics . Both texts concern the relationship between truth, morality, and society. While, according to Aristotle, the human being is, as a logos-being, essentially a political being and therefore to be distinguished from animals as well as from god, Nietzsche seems to be searching for a being which brings both - contradictory - positions together. The philosopher whom he searches for and tries to be, should on the one hand distance himself from society in which he, on the other hand, should participate in order to be able to fulfill his task. He should be god and animal at the same time. Nietzsche does not find this figure yet, which makes his text unfinished and perhaps explains why he had to keep it secret. (shrink)
Aan het eind van Zur Genealogie der Moral kondigt Nietzsche aan dat hij later een boek zal schrijven over ‘de geschiedenis van het Europese nihilisme’ . Dat boek is er nooit gekomen, althans niet van Nietzsches hand. Het enige wat we hebben zijn de aantekeningen daarvoor in zijn nalatenschap. Een van die notities is het beroemde ‘Lenzer Heide Ontwerp’ , een tekst waaraan Nietzsche zelf de titel Het Europese nihilisme gaf.Nadat Nietzsche de winter van 1886/87 in Nice had doorgebracht, trok (...) hij in het voorjaar weer richting Zwitserland om zich voor de zomer in Sils Maria te vestigen. In Nice had hij juist Dostojevski ontdekt, van wie hij onder andere de Aantekeningen uit het ondergrondse las, een boek dat een zeer kritische psychologie van de nihilist bevat. Op zijn reis naar het Engadin bleef Nietzsche steken omdat het in het hooggebergte nog te koud was en de Julier-pas nog niet sneeuwvrij. Tijdens zijn gedwongen oponthoud in Lenzer Heide noteerde hij deze tekst, aan de hand waarvan we nu een paar elementen van Nietzsches analyse van het Europese nihilisme belichten. (shrink)
Can theological virtues be integrated in a secular moral philosophy?In the early days of the revival of virtue ethics the ‘theological’ or ‘Christian virtues’ played an important role. In contemporary virtue ethics they seem to almost be forgotten outside of theology. The question is asked whether these virtues can be integrated in a secular moral philosophy. This seems at first hand to be very problematic, because of their definition, which states among other things that these virtues are God-given and orientated (...) towards God. However: hypothesizing that religious conceptions are related to general human experiences, it may be worth the effort to try and also interpret these theological virtues in a philosophical theory about what makes a human life flourishing. The suggestion is made that these virtues remind us of the importance of a certain passivity or receptivity and of an transcendental openness of our conceptions of happiness. (shrink)
Today the problem of responsible parenthood is frequently reduced to the question of whether or not a couple actually desires to have a child. In medical circles the same question is reduced even further to a choice between the various forms of medical assistance available to a couple who might desire to have a child, but who have been unsuccessful in their own efforts. As a counterbalance to this narrowing process, it would seem appropriate to ask a number of questions (...) which in fact ought to precede it: Why do we want children in the first place? What are we really looking for in our desire to have children? What does it actually mean to have children?In attempting to answer these questions, our course will be a philosophical one, focusing on the meaning of our actions and the reality which surrounds us. Philosophy is unlikely to uncover new facts in such an investigation; its task is simply to examine the presuppositions present prior to our interpretation of the data that emerge from this. Our answers to the questions surrounding our desire for children and the meaning of parenthood must come prior to the available facts on the matter for the simple reason that it will define the significance that these facts will have for us.The questions frequently raised in ethical, pedagogical and juridical literature concerning the rights of parents and children with respect to one another must also precede our examination of the facts. Rights and obligations always pertain to a specific relationship. Knowledge of such relationships is presumed, therefore, when we go about discussing the rights and obligations of the parties involved. By exploring the presuppositions which make our questioning and understanding of the facts possible, philosophy endeavours to create a space wherein we can look at things differently, a space where new and different possibilities are opened up. While we admit that philosophy is not going to uncover new facts, it will, if it works, produce new possibilities for understanding the facts and give them meaning.In this paper, I would like to begin by offering a description of the love parents feel for their children. In the second section I will attempt to draw some conclusions from this description concerning our desire to have the children we do not yet have. In the final section I will endeavour to situate these conclusions in a somewhat broader context. (shrink)
In the general introduction to the first part of his Philosophie de la Volonté, Le volontaire et l’involontaire Paul Ricoeur writes that the phenomenological or ‘pure description […] of the Voluntary and the Involuntary’ is ‘constituted by bracketing’ two things: first the fault, which is essentially a perversion of the pure nature or the essence of human willing; and second ‘Transcendence which hides within it the ultimate origin of subjectivity’. Evil, the condition of brokenness or the reality of the fault, (...) asks for an empirical description of concrete myths and symbols. He will remove this first bracketing in the second part of his Philosophy of the Will and in the long ‘series of detours’ of his hermeneutical writings. The second bracketing, however, will turn out to be much more difficult to remove. It demands a ‘poetics’, which would threaten Ricoeur’s effort to separate his Christian faith from his ‘autonomous’ philosophizing. In this article I argue that Ricoeur eventually did present his poetics, though only in the epilogue to his penultimate book on ‘Difficult Forgiveness’. The article indicates why this epilogue might fulfil the promise of a poetics, explains why this could only be done in an epilogue and gives at least one possible reason why Ricoeur could write at the end of his oeuvre, what he could not at its beginning. (shrink)
When Nietzsche is called a radical philosopher, it is (among other reasons) because he claims to call into question what other thinkers take for granted. In the article I concentrate on the way in which Nietzsche asks his questions, and how his questions (and the vocabulary which he uses to express his questions) develop through his writings. The article points out how Nietzsche gradually discovers his guiding question and how this search reaches its climax around 1886. This guiding question turns (...) out to be a practical or existential one: ‘To what extent can truth endure incorporation?’ (FW/GC 110 KSA 3.471). Key-words: Question, task, Nietzsche’s development. (shrink)
Socialism, utilitarianism and democracy are, according to Nietzsche, secularised versions of Christianity. They have continued the monomaniac onesidedness of the Christian idea of what a human being is and should be, and they have even strengthened this monomania through its ‘immanentisation'. The article shows that this ‘immanentisation' is of crucial importance for Nietzsche's critique of democracy. This critique may suggest that Nietzsche's alternative for the disappeared Christian faith is not only a more radical rupture from the religious past, but also (...) a re-interpretation or recreation of the notion of transcendence implied in that faith.. South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 26 (1) 2007: pp. 5-16. (shrink)
A amizade ainda é possível em condições niilistas? Kant e Nietzsche são fases importantes na história da idealização de amizade, o que inevitavelmente conduz ao problema do niilismo. O próprio Nietzsche afirma que, por um lado, apenas algo como a amizade pode nos salvar em nossa condição niilista mas que, por outro, precisamente a amizade foi desmascarada e se tornou impossível baseada nas mesmas condições. Parece que estamos presos no paradoxo niilista de não nos ser permitido acreditar na possibilidade do (...) que não podemos prescindir. A imaginação literária, desde o século XIX, parece nos tornar ainda mais céticos. Talvez Beckett forneça uma ilustração de uma maneira que se adapta bem à afirmação de Nietzsche de que apenas "os mais moderados, aqueles que não necessitam de quaisquer artigos extremos de fé", serão capazes de lidar com o niilismo. Is friendship still possible under nihilistic conditions? Kant and Nietzsche are important stages in the history of the idealization of friendship, which leads inevitably to the problem of nihilism. Nietzsche himself claims on the one hand that only something like friendship can save us in our nihilistic condition, but on the other hand that precisely friendship has been unmasked and become impossible by these very conditions. It seems we are struck in the nihilistic paradox of not being allowed to believe in the possibility of what we cannot do without. Literary imagination since the 19th century seems to make us even more skeptical. Maybe Beckett provides an illustration of a way out that fits well to Nietzsche's claim that only "the most moderate, those who do not require any extreme articles of faith" will be able to cope with nihilism. (shrink)
Is er een verschil tussen theologie en filosofie, en zo ja, waarin ligt dat verschil? Dat lijkt me de kern te zijn van de punten die Johan van der Hoeven als commentaar naar voren brengt in zijn zeer sympathieke bespreking van mijn bijdrage aan het cursusboek van de Open Universiteit. Ik zal proberen duidelijk te maken waarom ik denk dat dit de kern is, hoewel hij zelf een andere “hoofdvraag” lijkt te formuleren. Maar eerst twee opmerkingen vooraf.