Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Appearance Is Entirely Misleading
Just to demonstrate that this blog is not moribund, the Philosopher's Magazine has an interview with T. M. Scanlon. Unsurprisingly, in it, he says two things I very much agree with: first, that the traditional Humean division between reason and the emotions is much over-stated and distorts our understanding of ourselves and our moral lives; second, that if you're going to do moral philosophy, you need to do a kind of psychology, to be able to tease out the motivations which underlie our everyday living out of a moral existence. I'd add to the second that you need to be able to do a kind of anthropology, to understand not just individual psychologies, but the social practices in which they are embedded and which partially constitute them. But those two thoughts, which together bring moral philosophy back to the problems it is supposed to deal with, how to make sense of and so regulate the interactions of reflective animals, rather than the disembedded, disembodied problems which can seem to characterize far too much of the discipline, are ones I like. I don't think he's that difficult to read either.