"Kantianism is only superficially repulsive -- despite appearances, it offers an inducement, solace to a sense of the world's unfairness."

- Bernard Williams – “Moral Luck” from Moral Luck: Philosophical Papers 1973-1980 (Cambridge UP, 1981), p.21.

From: [identity profile] poldy.livejournal.com

>> an inducement, solace

That sounds wrong. I'd expect "a solace." Even so, I'd rather be "induced" to the worlds unfairness. The world seems to manage its unfairness well enough without my more active participation.

From: [identity profile] owl-of-minerva.livejournal.com

Well, Williams goes on to criticize Kantianism as being unworkable -- because Kantianism offers solace through somehow assuring us that our moral goodness is immune to luck, which Williams goes on to suggest doesn't quite work (it's one of the seminal papers on the problem of 'moral luck' -- on whether or not it is a matter of luck that we are justified in what we do).

From: [identity profile] owl-of-minerva.livejournal.com

Du konntest Recht haben (not sure if that's right). Inducement to what, I wonder. Ah well. Williams is dead, we can't ask him now.

From: [identity profile] poldy.livejournal.com

Ich habe ja immer Recht. I fear that Williams may have had a little mental hiccup when he wrote that sentence.

From: [identity profile] owl-of-minerva.livejournal.com

I think that the swagger with which he writes "only superficially repulsive" justifies the whole rest of the sentence.

(On a more serious note -- the questions about moral luck are part of Williams' skepticism about moral systems of any sort, and his wondering what we even really mean by justification to ourselves or others)

From: [identity profile] poldy.livejournal.com

Whenever I read philosophy I remember why I am a philologist and not a philosopher.

From: [identity profile] owl-of-minerva.livejournal.com

Why is that?

I have this conversation regularly with friends and students who are quite gifted in their own fields but for whom philosophy either doesn't click or seems to be a waste of time -- that its questions simply aren't their questions. Just wondering what the case is for you -- given the two fields do share the same first five letters. ;)

(or four letters, I suppose, if they were in greek?)

From: [identity profile] poldy.livejournal.com

too much speculation and system building. I prefer to much about in the languages and meanings of (preferably) real works. There is overlap, of course, but the questions and they way they are answered are different. It is the logos rather than the sophia that matters, after all.

From: [identity profile] apperception.livejournal.com

Oh yeah. I read this interesting/albeit-somewhat-pretentious book a little while ago called Bound by Recognition. The author's argument was similar to this. It wasn't about Kant but rather how recognition-theory itself has been used to bolster a kind of "insulation" of action from the contingency of the world.

Your interests seem pretty similar to mine, though in my experience, writing a doctoral dissertation on any set of interests quickly turns them to non-interests. How about you? Do you yet regret the day you set eyes upon German romanticism/idealism? :)

From: [identity profile] owl-of-minerva.livejournal.com

Hi there! Sometimes... I miss the 20th century. (Apparently we're even past that now? Scary. ;) )

I'll check out the book. It sounds interesting.

What's your dissertation on? (Roughly)

From: [identity profile] apperception.livejournal.com

I'm not writing a dissertation! I stopped after the MA for a bunch of reasons, not all of them having to do with the fact that everyone I know writing a diss is miserable.

What about you?

From: [identity profile] owl-of-minerva.livejournal.com

Smart! You are very very wise. What do you do for self-flagellation instead?

My dissertation examines the way in which recent feminist research into "relational autonomy" is structurally similar to the intersubjective nature of freedom in German idealism, specifically in Fichte & Hegel. Whew. That's the one-sentence version. I'm actually pretty happy with it -- since it is pretty broad, I get to tie it into a number of side-issues. So I don't get too frustrated with any one particular figure. So, I'm not too miserable. Most of the time. :)

Hey, skimming down your LJ, I see you're reading Alison Stone's book on Hegel's phil of nature. I've been thinking about checking it out -- how is it?

From: [identity profile] apperception.livejournal.com

Alison Stone's book? No, I just listed that there so people would think I was interesting.

Actually, I read the intro right before packing it to move. Her thesis is that you can't read Hegel just as an idealist the way Pippin wants to read him. Hegel actually has a metaphysical and realist view of nature. It's what she calls "rationalist", but not like Leibniz. She means Hegel argues for a kind of ethical purposiveness of nature. That nature tries to achieve its own rational ends.

Unfortunately, right now the book is probably sandwiched in a box between my Thomas Harris novels and a book on tofu cooking.

You did a remarkably good job of summarizing your dissertation. I can't even summarize what I want to eat for lunch that easily on a normal day. Where are you studying? Are you actually in a philosophy program, or are you doing this in a political theory setting? I ask only because I know how few programs there are in North America where you can do that sort of thing.

Your topic sounds really interesting. I'm far too self-conscious now to share any of my thoughts on Hegel. I find the Phenomenology endlessly fascinating though. It sounds pretentious, but I feel like it's helped me in my personal life. That and Spinoza's Ethics. Thank God you're not writing on Schlegel, though. I was worried when I saw your profile...

From: [identity profile] owl-of-minerva.livejournal.com

Nah, Schlegel's just for fun.

If you promise to be nice and not scary, I'll friend you and put you on my dissertation filter. There's not much on it yet, since I am still not exactly sure how I want to use it.

I'm in a philosophy program - which I won't name except beneath an f-lock, but I'll say that it's one that sees itself as pretty pluralist, so it works out pretty well.

And I can only summarize it well at this point 'cause I have practice writing it up to ask people for money. :)

From: [identity profile] apperception.livejournal.com

You know, I was just about to say to you that I'd friend you if you promise not to intimidate the hell outta me. I've actually written some things on my journal about Hegel and whatnot, but I don't have very many philosophy people on my f-list, so I can get away with making lots of sweeping claims and not prefacing things with "This is just my silly opinion/material regurgitated from people much much smarter than me."

But, yes, I promise to be nice and not scary.

And ... did you just say Schlegel is fun? Just last night I was reading Gasche's foreword to Philosophical Fragments. I'm sitting there thinking, "My God, that's what this has been about?" I gave a seminar presentation on Benjamin's paper on the romantics. That was a trip!

From: [identity profile] owl-of-minerva.livejournal.com

Nice icon. Who said no one is a hero to his valet? Sometimes I think that folks are less intimidating once one sees the stuff under their f-lock. :)

I have the same thing with my journal -- not a lot of philosophers. You can help keep me honest.

From: [identity profile] eve-prime.livejournal.com

I don't find much solace in systems that insist that it's desirable to ignore specific circumstances. To me, true fairness comes from engagement with particulars, not the blanket application of universals.

From: [identity profile] poldy.livejournal.com

Oh, good, there are some universals that I was planning to apply. You had worried there.

From: [identity profile] eve-prime.livejournal.com

None could accuse you of unfairness.

(I love your B.W. icon - he cheers me up.)

From: [identity profile] poldy.livejournal.com

I am often unfair, except for the times when I am not.

Wooster is what I prescribe for all ailments of the psyche. It comes from having a doctorate in mentally negligible.

From: [identity profile] eve-prime.livejournal.com

Are you a fan of Psmith as well?

(Help, help, I'm being held prisoner in my own home by the United Parcel Service.)

From: [identity profile] essius.livejournal.com

Hi. I enjoyed our conversation in [livejournal.com profile] theoryishotcrew, even if it did get cut short. May I add you, fair Owl?

From: [identity profile] owl-of-minerva.livejournal.com

Hey there. Thanks, but I'd rather not; I try to keep my f-list small and also if you plan on re-applying to theorycrew at any point, I feel having you on my list could prejudice the proceeding. Hope you are well, and if you ever need any Hegel just drop me a line.

From: [identity profile] tealslippers.livejournal.com

Just a heads up... I've started a community called cbc_radio


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