Dismissing the Question

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:
Dismissing the Question

Show Summary Details


The possibility that common sense might tell us what is worthwhile about life is explored further. A series of influential contemporary attempts to answer the question about life’s worth by appeal to intuition are considered; it is argued that they are all unsatisfactory. The chapter presses the claim that common sense and intuition are the wrong places to look for answers to this question, since they are likely to be tainted by collective self-delusions. The great anxiety human beings have about whether their lives are worth living inclines them to collude in affirming illusions that relieve that anxiety. A secular person should therefore treat all common intuitions about the worth of life with suspicion, affirming them only if they can be given further grounding.

Keywords: Moore; Nozick; Nussbaum; Finnis; intuition; common sense

Chapter.  9644 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.