• 28.2.08
    «The best lack all conviction/While the worst are full of passionate intensity.»

    «Those whose business it is to think about morality have been remiss in other ways. Philosophers certainly examine moral concepts, but their language is often inscrutable, cut off from daily concerns. Recent philosophy has produced superb work in ethics, none better than that of John Rawls, who was not only a brilliant theorist, but a man whose personal integrity was legend. He fiercely condemned, for example, American use of atomic weapons, without ever mentioning that as a member of the U.S. infantry slated to invade Japan before Hiroshima, his was probably one American life the bomb saved. Yet his own work remained abstract enough to stand for all the ages, nearly devoid of historical specificity. Though he knew - and cared - an immense amount about the concrete moral cataclysms of the twentieth century, he kept them out of his texts and his classrooms. Years after I had the good fortune to be his student, I ventured to ask why he‘d never spoken directly about matters like the Holocaust. "Oh," said Rawls, in the warm Southern drawl the Ivy League never dented, "I don‘t understand them well enough to do that."
    This sounds like the stance that Irish poet W.B.Yeats described long ago: The best lack all conviction/While the worst are full of passionate intensity. Now Rawls, like others, had deep convictions about many things, but he was trapped by his own humility. Faced with dauntingly urgent moral problems the everyday world presents, what many honest philosophers feel is not lack of interest but inadequacy. But behind admirable attempts to avoid sanctimony and self-righteousness, there often lurks a fear of expressing moral judgments in particular cases. The non-interference pact that leads philosophers to refrain from talking about history, and historians from talking about morality, pretty neatly insures that few people with professional competence will jump into the fray - except in discussions too qualified to interest anyone but other specialists.»

    De um texto de Susan Neiman amavelmente facultado pelo leitor J.J.Amarante. (Para quando o próprio blogue, caro Amarante?)

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