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Moral Disquiet and Human Life
Monique Canto-Sperber
Translated by Silvia Pavel

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Acknowledgments ix

Part One: Moral Disquiet

Chapter 1: Ethics and the Challenge to Moral Philosophy 3
Critique of "Ethical Ideology": Truth and Falsehoods 10
Moral Philosophy and Ethics 17
Myths of Our Time: Moral Grandstanding and Ethical Self-Indulgence 20
Morals and Religion: The Misconception That Atheism Is a Prerequisite for Moral Deliberation 24
Ethics, Meaning, and the Sacred: Unlikely Consolations 32
The Myth of Modernity 38
Mauled Individualism 44
"All Books Are Open in Front of Me" 47

Chapter 2: Goals of Ethical Reflection 53
Moral Disquiet 55
A New Morality? Reflections on Responsibility 57
Law versus Morality: The Issue of Abortion 63
Description and Dissociation in Ethical Reflection: The Concept of Person 66
Practical Rationality and Moral Decisions 70
The Normative Character of Human Acts and Practices 72
Pluralism and Objectivity: The Debate on Human Cloning 74
Justification and Moral Theories 77
Ethical Reflection and Freethinking 79
Confusing Ethics and Democracy 81
Ethics without Solace 83

Chapter 3: French Moral Philosophy and Its Past Misfortunes 86
A Philosophical Revival: French Moral Philosophy in the Early 1900s 86
The International Congress in Philosophy, August 1900 89
French Moral Philosophy in the First Half of the Twentieth-Century: A Dwindling Discipline 91
The 1960s: Moral Philosophy's Rebirth in Great Britain, Germany, and the United States 97
The 1960s: French Moral Philosophy, Stranded between Suspicion and Neglect 101
What Caused These Developments? 104
The First Signs of Moral Philosophy's Revival in the 1980s 111

Part Two: Human Life

Chapter 4: The Absurd and the Meaning of Life 121
The Meaning of Life: A Meaningless Question? 121
Philosophers' Answer to the Existential Question 123
The Impossibility of a Final Justification 125
Immortality and the Vanity of Human Life 127
The Meaning of Life in a Naturalistic World 130
The Existential Question and the Feeling of Absurdity 131
Reflecting on Human Life and Confronting the Absurd 134

Chapter 5: The Invariants of Human Life 139
"Most Living" through Reflection 139
Existential Justifications and Self-Reflection 143
The Personal Perspective 146
Events in Human Life 153
The Boredom of Living Forever 157
Living Life Forward and Understanding It Backward 160

Chapter 6: The Good in Human Life 167
Morals and Existential Justifications 167
Happiness and the Subjectivity of Human Good 170
Objective Human Goods 172
Human Goods 173
Good Life and "Human Flourishing" 174
The Good in Human Life: Formal Good and Philosophy 176

Notes 181
Index 213

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File created: 4/21/2017

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