Fooloso4 wrote: ↑
April 28th, 2018, 10:35 am
The Protestant Reformation helped overcome the hierarchical power of the Catholic Church and was a step toward the freedom of the individual
, but rather than freeing man it led to novel forms of inescapable spiritual tyranny.
Correct me if I am mistaken but I take it from your comment above that you are a proponent of individualism in ethics ? By this I mean you affirm the so-called "progressive" modern Liberal doctrine of ethical individualism, a doctrine which contends that all value and right reduces to value of, or for, individuals, or to the rights of individuals? If so, I put it to you that individuals abstracted from community are, in fact, nothing more than mere
abstractions, and if you believe otherwise you are either a fool or sadly self-deluded.
It was Aristotle, you will recall, who ,in his "Politics" first described man as "Zoon politikon
", that is, as a "political animal". Man becomes man Aristotle claimed, by living among others, by living in a society governed by laws and customs; in short, man only develops his potential and only realises his natural end within a SOCIAL CONTEXT. This ancient view of man as a social animal is also a common, fundamental principle that underpins and unites all of the different species of conservative political philosophy. Burke, for instance, repeatedly emphasised that human beings gain their actuality and satisfaction from social identities which confer obligations, standing and fullness of life. Communal obligations, he argued arise from the collectivities to which human beings belong - family, church, corporation, "platoon" and certainly nation and state. The crucial point to note is that these obligations are agent-relative
- that is, you
have obligations to your family or your nation and I
have obligations to mine. So, in order to know what communal obligations
you have you need to know who you are in the sense of where and how you belong
These communal obligations
are what Hegel was referring to when he asserted that: "The individual ...finds his liberation in duty
". When we start to unpack this notion the first thing we come across is Kant's point about morality and positive freedom, namely, that : you are free when you act from reason and obligations are requirements of reason. It seems to me that you clearly accept the Kantian (Enlightenment) connections between morality, reason and positive freedom when you state:
Fooloso4 wrote: ↑
April 28th, 2018, 10:35 am
It was only with the advent of modern philosophy and science, ... the audacity of Descartes to put the authority of the thinking self
above the authority of the Church, and the the natural rights philosophy of Hobbes and Locke
that broke the stranglehold of Christianity. Christianity created servants, the Enlightenment freed human beings
from this form of slavery which extended to every aspect of their lives, public and private.
, the essential point to note is that Hegel did not - like Hobbes, Locke, Kant,Rousseau and Co - believe the abstract reason of individuals
was capable of delivering duty. For him, - and he was correct -, rationality consisted in understanding and intrinsic/innate appraisal/evaluation of a particular
social morality; to achieve freedom was thus to be at home in a community which whose structure of obligations you could rationally be at one. Moreover, it must be kept in mind that those obligations always
remained irreducibly communal, and therefore agent-relative. There IS
, in sum, no agent-neutral, impartial, universal, ethical standpoint from which they can be derived; and this belief forms a common, core, fundamental principle that unites all conservative political philosophies. Here, for example, is a passage from Burke on liberty as social, not individual:
"Permit me then to continue our conversation and tell you what the freedom is that I love, and that to which I think all men entitled. This is the more necessary because, of all the loose terms in the world, liberty is the most indefinite. It is not solitary, unconnected, individual, selfish liberty, as if every man was to regulate the whole of his conduct by his own will. The liberty I mean is social freedom. It is that state of things in which liberty is secured by the equality of restraint. A constitution of things in which the liberty of no one man, and no body of men , and no number of men, can find means to trespass of the liberty of any person, or any description of persons in the society.This kind of liberty is, indeed, but another name for justice; ascertained by wise laws, and secured by well constructed institutions."
Conservatives are univocal in unequivocally denying that an agent-neutral, impartial, universal, ethical individualism can ever provide any kind of of foundation for ethics. For the political conservative, agent-relative obligations always
arise from the value of the collectivities to which the individual belongs; and the crucial point to grasp in this is that their value is both agent-relative and
unconditional, irreducible, non-instrumental. That is, the demands placed on me by my membership of a family are agent-relative, yet at the same time they are unconditional ( they do not arise, for example, from any promise on my behalf) and non-instrumental (they do not arise, for example, because if everyone fulfills such duties general well-being will be served).
This combination of agent-relativity and unconditionality cannot in any way
be reconciled the kind of ethical individualism that is promoted in the current conceptualization of human rights that is promulgated in legal documents like the UNUDHR, and in the dominant pro-human rights discourse in the West more generally. It is, I put it to you however, a self-evident fact that value is NOT
all relative to value for, of, or in a person.Rather, the obvious fact is that there are collectivities - family, church, nation, state - that have innate/intrinsic and non-instrumental value relative to their members; and value for,of, or in a person is necessarily relative to THEM
It is nonsensical to deny this.
This deals with one item of muddled thinking in your most recent post on this thread. The other main issue I have with what you have written concerns your offensive hubristic irreverence. What I find particularly deplorable is not so much your intemperate condemnation of of Christianity as a cruel and hateful, etc; religion ( for that is "merely" a consequence of your personal ignorance of the particular subject matter) but rather, the essential nature of the diseased thinking that underpins such an outrageous and dastardly attack.Briefly, it is important, I feel, to expose the utterly false and demonstrably dangerous and destructive philosophical notions that are the root spur of your vicious anti-Christian ressentiment
, and I will do so in my my next post on this thread. This post is already too long.