Samuel Fleischacker

in Divine Teaching and the Way of the World

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199217366
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728495 | DOI:

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Why do we so often fail to act as we ourselves think we should act? This question is often treated as a minor addendum to moral theory, but in certain important cases it has instead occasioned an entire account of morality—usually one that upends the moral thinking of other philosophers and of the author’s society. Examples can be found in the work of Plato, Nietzsche, Marx, and Kierkegaard, all of whom aimed at transforming individuals so that they no longer think in the terms to which ordinary moral systems (ordinary social contracts on morality) are addressed. Their efforts suggest that there is something missing in the way we ordinarily conceive morality: precisely what religious commitments, on the view of this book, also suggest. The transformative views of morality surveyed here thus point towards the move away from secularity that begins in the subsequent chapter.

Keywords: Plato; Nietzsche; Marx; Kierkegaard; transformation

Chapter.  5968 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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