Morality and Modernity (Ideas Series) by Ross Poole

By Ross Poole

Ross Poole monitors the social content material of a number of the conceptions of morality at paintings in modern society, and casts a strikingly clean gentle on such primary difficulties because the position of cause in ethics, ethical objectivity and the excellence among accountability and advantage. The e-book presents a severe account of the ethical theories of a few significant philosophers, together with Kant, Marx, Nietzsche, Habermas, Rawls, Gewirth and MacIntyre. It additionally offers a scientific critique of 3 of the main major responses to modernity: liberalism, nationalism and nihilism. It takes heavily the advice that women and men are topic to various conceptions of morality, and locations the difficulty of gender on the centre of ethical philosophy. Poole has written a helpful addition to the guidelines sequence.

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The gratification achieved with the attainment of a particular object must immediately give way to the quest for further objects. What is achieved in consumption is not satisfaction, but repetition. The goal of power is equally unattainable. In part, this is because the power sought is essentially comparative: it involves power over others, so that having must mean having more than others. 32 But it is also because the power which is sought is not the capacity to carry out a particular task or range of tasks, it is rather the means to MORALITY AND MODERNITY 37 acquire further means to further means, and so on indefinitely.

29 34 CAPITALISM: THE POWER OF REASON Individuals are formally rational in this juridical sense when they conceive of their actions as an instance of principles which also apply to other actions which are relevantly similar. Thus, the judge or bureaucrat is concerned to establish the appropriate description of some action and then to apply to it the relevant principle. If instrumental reason is concerned with efficiency, this form of reason is concerned with consistency. Juridical rationality will rarely exist in a pure form, even in the legal and quasi-legal apparatuses of the state.

It is as if the power that other ages had ascribed to nature and which has long been tamed by capitalism has reasserted itself at the level of history. If power is a value engendered by capitalism, it is a value which is denied to just those individuals who value it. It is massively present in capitalist society, but paradoxically it is always absent. This is because the powers that modernity call into existence—the forces of production and destruction, of capital, of bureaucracy, of the market and even of history— 38 CAPITALISM: THE POWER OF REASON are collective powers.

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