By Maxine Sheets-Johnstone
This ebook argues the case for a foundationalist ethics centrally in line with an empirical knowing of human nature. For Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, 'an ethics formulated at the foundations of whatever except human nature, consequently on whatever except an identity of pan-cultural human realities, lacks strong empirical moorings. It simply loses itself in remoted hypotheticals, reductionist situations, or theoretical abstractions - within the prisoner's difficulty, egocentric genes, devoted mind modules, evolutionary altruism, or mental egoism, for instance - or it simply turns into itself a moral process over and above the ethics it formulates,' comparable to the deontological ethics of Kantian specific imperatives, the utilitarianism of Bentham and Mill, or the ethics of care.Taking her cue from Hume, in particular his Treatise on Human Nature the place he grounds 'the conscience' in human nature noticeable as continually in stress among the natural instincts of egocentric acquisitiveness and sympathy for others, Sheets-Johnstone pursues her phenomenological research of the average foundation of human morality via directing her cognizance, first partly I, to what's often thought of the darkish part of human nature after which, partly II, to the optimistic part. the stress among the 2 demands an interdisciplinary healing solution, which she bargains within the Epilogue by means of arguing for the worth of an ethical schooling that enlightens people approximately their very own human nature, highlighting either the socialization of worry and the significance of play and creativity.
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Extra info for The Roots of Morality
Gambling for ever bigger stakes’’ (Buruma 2005, 36). Whether described as will or compulsion, human reality indicates that war is a perseverating competitive state of mind. Indeed, in just the context of ‘‘the will to contend by battle,’’ Hobbes recognizes the need of ‘‘a common power’’ to keep men ‘‘quiet’’ (Hobbes  1930, 252): ‘‘without a common power to keep them all in awe’’ (252), ‘‘every man is enemy to every man; . . men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them’’ (253).
The other stimulus is the perception of movement of any kind’’ (Spitz 1983, 149). He later points out that at two or three months, a child’s reaction will be the same whether the human face is real or ‘‘an inanimate artifact, as long as they both fulﬁll the conditions of the privileged Gestalt plus movement’’ (149). A six-month-old infant, however, will no longer react in the same way: ‘‘Endowing the inanimate with the privileged Gestalt and with movement is of no avail. Indeed, it would seem that, the more the inanimate artifact approaches the living prototype, the more anxiety-provoking it becomes’’ (149; italics added).
All cultural elaborations of life in the form of abundance—all cultural cultivations of power—ultimately fail. However much wool we pull over our eyes, we are stuck with death. Depending on who we are and on what our life experiences have been, when the fact of our own mortality surfaces—not intellectually, contemplated as a vague future event, for example, but affectively as a vibrant but impermanent aliveness felt here and now—we feel impelled to protect ourselves from the thought or to offset knowledge of our own potential sufferings and ultimate death, particularly since the thought or knowledge may create monstrous anxieties, make us intolerably angry or unbearably sad, decrease our sense of power over our lives, and in fact make us not just feel acutely uncomfortable and uneasy but motivate us to act in ways commensurate with these feelings.