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Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden.


Without Guilt & Justice From Decidophobia to Autonomy

Walter Kaufmann

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973



Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973


1. Decidophobia 2. The Death of Retributive Justice 3. An Attack on Distributive Justice 4. The Birth of Guilt and Justice 5. Against Guilt 6. The Need for Alienation 7. The New Integrity 8. Are Autonomy and Happiness Compatible?

The Serpents Promise Notes and Bibliography Acknowledgments

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

Preface TO THOSE whose minds are not liberated, wars, revolutions, and radical movements will never bring freedom but only an exchange of one kind of slavery for another. That is one of the most tragic lessons of the twentieth century.

Liberation of the mind is no panacea, but without it angry rhetoric and cruel bloodbaths are of no avail, and tyranny endures. Most of those who see themselves as radicals and revolutionaries still cling to decrepit ideas like justice and equality and depend on guilt and fear, as our fathers and mothers did. What we need is a new, autonomous morality.

Those who hoped that the death of God would spell freedom from guilt and fear were wrong. The breakdown of religion as the great authority in moral matters has not brought us autonomy. It has brought us a variety of substitutes for religion. The quest for these surrogates is rooted in a fear that has hitherto had no name.

This book begins with an analysis of that deep fear. The first part of the book deals with what we should leave behind, the last part with what lies beyond. Liberation is a movement toward a goal: autonomy. Being autonomous and being liberated is the same thing. The first chapter explains the meaning of autonomy by showing what lures or strategies must be resisted to achieve it. Then the attack on justice and on guilt and the demonstration of the need for alienation develop a new conception of autonomy a new integrity a new morality.

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

1 HUMANITY has always lived in the shadow of fears. Yet next to, nothing was known about fear until Freud made a beginning with the study of unusual phobias. A little later, some existentialist philosophers suggested that one dread is common to all mankind: the dread of death. This suggestion was couched in such obscure language that discussions of it have generally revolved around the meaning of phrases in books and have not dealt with the facts. It might have been better to ask what leads some writers to express themselves in ways that seem designed to forestall understanding and hence also criticism, and why legions of professors and students thrive on texts like that. The creeping microscopism that meets the eye all over academia is related to a deep dread that still lacks a name.

Humanity craves but dreads autonomy. One does not want to live under the yoke of guilt and fear. Autonomy consists of making with open eyes the decisions that give shape to ones life. But being afraid of making fateful decisions, one is tempted to hide autonomy in a metaphysical fog and to become sidetracked and bogged down in puzzles about free will and determinism. It is far easier to define autonomy out of existence than it is to achieve autonomy in the very meaningful sense in which it can be attained. The difference between making the decisions that govern our lives with our eyes open and somehow avoiding this is all-important. The best way to begin to understand autonomy is to examine some of the major strategies people use to avoid it; and this I shall do.

It is important to be specific and concrete. Talk of freedom and the fear of freedom immediately invites irrelevant questions about freedom. That term has so many meanings that we need a more precise term. Autonomy has fewer associations, and once I have defined my meaning, other uses of the term should not keep creeping in. The fear of autonomy is a nameless dread, which leaves me free to coin a name for it: decidophobia.

In the fateful decisions that mold our future, freedom becomes tangible; and they are objects of extreme dread. Every such decision involves norms, standards, goals. Treating these as given lessens this dread. The comparison and choice of goals and standards arouses the most intense decidophobia.

Other -phobia words also mix New Latin with Old Greek: claustrophobia, for example. Moreover, the Latin decido has two very appropriate meanings. It can mean decide, which is the primary meaning intended here. But it can also mean falloff (hence plants are called deciduous if their leaves fall off in winter), and decidophobia has something in common with acrophobia, the fear of precipitous heights.

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Although the two Latin verbs have different roots (caedo and cado), our expression take the plunge suggests the relevance of both meanings. Decidophobia is also the fear of falling.

People do not fear all decisions. Decidophobes, far from dreading meticulous distinctions, may actually revel in them. For immersion in microscopic decisions is one good way of avoiding fateful decisions.

John B. Watson, the founder of Behaviorism, argued that only two fears are innate: the fear of sudden loud noises and the fear of falling of suddenly being without support. His thesis was based on experiments with infants, and it is widely accepted. Decidophobia cannot be proved to be innate, nor does it matter greatly whether it is. What does matter is that it can be mastered, although it is much more difficult to overcome old fears than it is to acquire new ones.

It is easy to understand why parents cultivate acrophobia in their children: precipitous heights are dangerous, and having been taught to dread them, one communicates ones dread to ones children. That is much easier than teaching them prudence, self-reliance, and the skills required to enjoy peaks. All this applies just as much to decidophobia.

Anyone making fateful decisions that affect others without feeling any apprehension would be a menace. Anyone who would unhesitatingly plunge into choices that are likely to mold his own character and future would be so unpredictable that he, too, would endanger the social fabric. The easiest way to insure stability is to engender fear. Teaching the skills required for responsible decision making is much harder.

Choosing responsibly means that one weighs alternatives. (This theme will be developed further in the chapter on The New Integrity.) But comparing fateful alternatives and choosing between them with ones eyes open, fully aware of the risks, is what frightens the decidophobe. Basically, he has three options: to avoid fateful decisions; to stack the cards so that one alternative is clearly the right one, and there seems to be no risk involved at all; and to decline responsibility. He need not even choose between these options: they can be combined. In brief: avoid, if possible; if that does not work, stack; and in any case make sure that you do not stand alone.

It would be reasonable to feel apprehension in direct proportion to the number of those whom our decision is likely to affect importantly; but people tend to attach disproportionate importance to themselves. The decisions they dread most are those that shape their character and their future.

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

I shall examine ten strategies that help decidophobes to avoid dizziness. All of them involve the refusal to scrutinize significant alternatives. When anyone shuts his eyes in a crisis, it is plausible to assume that he is afraid. But if he merely acts as if he were afraid, he is still open to criticism. My critique of decidophobia applies also to those who are not afraid but merely behave as if they were.

Before I consider the ten strategies, let me comment very briefly on two writers who have illuminated decidophobia and one who has not.

Kierkegaard was the father of existentialism. Fear and guilt were central in his thought, nowhere more so than in The Concept of Dread (1844). Here he wrote as a Christian about original sin, but he also showed how there is a close connection between dread and freedom, and he called dread the dizziness of freedom. The image of dizziness brings to mind acrophobia and the fear of falling. Indeed, Christianity called the first assertion of mans freedom and his first fateful decision the fall. But Kierkegaard failed to see his own leap into faith as an expression of decidophobia. In fact, he failed to recognize most of the major strategies.

Jean-Paul Sartre has gone further toward an understanding of decidophobia. His famous declaration in 1943 that man is condemned to be free suggests clearly that man finds freedom hard to bear. In his fiction and philosophy, Sartre has exposed some of the ways in which people try to hide their freedom from themselves: they pretend that their hands are tied, that they are the victims of their parents or of circumstance, although in fact the freedom to make fateful decisions is inalienable. Even a pris0ner condemned to death retains this freedom. Man, according to the early Sartre, is freedom but always tends to look upon himself as if he were a thing. Thus he succumbs to what Sartre calls mauvaise foi. In my language, this bad faith and these constant self-deceptions are prompted by decidophobia.

Unfortunately Sartres philosophical discussions of these mechanisms were heavily influenced by German existentialism, and particularly by Martin Heidegger and his fundamental ontology: they were designed to explicate truths about Being. At times Sartre approached Heideggers obscurantism. This kept him from seeing how his argument suffered from some serious confusions; and the later Sartre has followed the later Heidegger as well as Kierkegaard into exegetical thinking one of the ten major strategies of decidophobia. The great diagnostician has succumbed to the disease that he had analyzed.

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

Erich Fromm called an early book Escape from Freedom, but despite that title he shed little light on decidophobia. He remained within the framework of a sociological school that had undertaken studies of what it called the authoritarian personality, and he found the great example of this type and of the escape from freedom in Germany, particularly in the rise of Nazism. Now it might indeed seem as if the rise to power of totalitarian governments depended on decidophobia; but this is a serious mistake. Wherever totalitarianism has triumphed, other explanations are in order.

In Germany, for example, a minority of the voters favored Hitler when the president of the Weimar Republic called on him to form a cabinet, and he had to form a coalition government. His was the largest single party, but there were many parties; and most of those who did vote for Hitler had no conception of the loss of freedom that awaited them. They were far from fastidious about the liberties of others, but they did not crave liberation from their own freedom. Their motives included resentment of the Treaty of Versailles and of the inability of democratic statesmen to get it altered; fear of Communism; dreams of national glory; and hatred of Jews. But no combination of these motives would have brought Hitler close to power if the republic had not been undermined by economic disaster.

Before World War I Germany had been very prosperous. The loss of the war, the expulsion of the Kaiser, the advent of the republic, and an inflation that quickly reached the point where ordinary postage stamps cost twenty billion marks were experienced as a syndrome. People saw their savings evaporate, and soon the inflation was followed by a vast economic depression and intolerable unemployment. Desperation reached the point where millions became willing to try almost anything. Many became Communists, while others were willing to try Hitler to see if he could provide jobs. The choice did not seem irrevocable; many liberals saw Hitler as a rabble rouser who would quickly be discredited in a position of power that he was ill equipped to fill, and many Communists thought that a few weeks of Hitler would prepare the way for them.

Even after the Reichstag fire, which Hitler used to outlaw the Communist Party, to imprison many socialists, and to intimidate the opposition, the parliamentary elections of March 1933 still did not provide him with a majority, and he had to continue with a coalition government. The nationalists who joined forces with him did not want to escape from freedom or let him make all fateful decisions: they felt sure that he would be no match for them and that they would govern Germany.

There is no case on record in which the voters chose a government because it offered them less freedom. Where people did opt for rulers who took away their liberties, something seemed to be drastically wrong with all alternatives, and the men who were chosen did not make clear to the voters 8

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 how their freedom would be curtailed. Men do not crave slavery or concentration camps. On the contrary, such images evoke the will to fight and even to risk ones life for freedom. Nor are there two types of people: those who love freedom and those who prefer slavery. Such myths obstruct the comprehension of decidophobia. There are subtler ways to avoid fateful decisions. I shall examine ten.

One strategy for avoiding such decisions is religion. In Dostoevskys Brothers Karamazov the Grand Inquisitor shows at length how the Roman Catholic church has liberated people from the burden of having to make fateful decisions. His disquisition left its mark on Sartre and Fromm. Oddly, however, in Dostoevskys the case is made out only against the church of Rome. The Grand Inquisitor claims that the craving for community of worship is the chief misery of every man; for, I might add, any confrontation with fateful alternatives engenders dread. He argues that to save men truly one must take possession of their freedom, and he suggests that what people ultimately want is to be united in one unanimous and harmonious ant heap.

There is no suggestion in the novel that the same charges could be brought against the Greek Orthodox church, or that other religions, too, have told men what is good and evil, right and wrong, thus obviating difficult decisions. Religion says: Do this and dont do that! Or: Thou shalt, and thou shalt not. Instead of inviting us to evaluate alternative standards, it gives us norms as well as detailed applications. In fact, religions have evolved traditions that shield the observant from situations in which tragic choices might become inevitable.

The most obvious illustration is monasticism, which requires one great decision, once to renounce the freedom of making major decisions. A Jesuits position in his order is a little less extreme. As usual, there are degrees. But those who become monks or nuns no longer need to face such fateful decisions as how to live, with whom, where, what to do, and what to believe. As a rule one does not even decide to submit to the authority of a religion: one is born into the fold and then confirmed at the threshold of adolescence before one has had any chance to explore alternatives and make a choice. One does not so much decide to stay as one does not decide to leave. Decidophobia keeps one in the fold.

Of course, this is not all there is to religion; and I have dealt at length with other aspects of religion in other books. Nor is allegiance to a religion always prompted by decidophobia. Perhaps this point is best made by choosing suicide as an illustration. I am not including this among the ten strategies because relatively few people have recourse to it. Still, it is often prompted by the inability to stand alone and

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 make fateful decisions. Yet it need not be inspired by decidophobia. In many situations a human being may choose suicide with open eyes after considering what speaks against it and examining the major alternatives. Suicide can be wholly admirable. Nor need it be primarily an act of either fear or courage; it can also be an attempt at revenge or a form of protest. Similarly, not every member of every religion is a decidophobe.

Nevertheless, religion represents one of the most popular strategies for avoiding the most fateful decisions; in fact, it is nothing less than the classical strategy. On the whole it worked well not only during the Middle Ages but even quite recently in villages and small towns where almost everybody shared the same religion. In the twentieth century, however, this strategy has broken down more and more since World War II even among Roman Catholics. Clergymen of the same religion have taken to adopting widely different public positions on crucial moral questions. Still, many people shut their eyes to this plain fact and manage to persuade themselves that their own moral views do not depend on any decision of their own but are simply part of being Jewish, Christian, or, say, Hindu. If this strategy were not in a process of disintegration, there would be less need for so many other strategies.

Drifting represents another, even less deliberate, strategy. It comes in two forms. Model A is extremely popular with those over thirty without being confined to them: status quoism. Instead of choosing how to live, with whom, where, what to do, and what to believe, one simply drifts along in the status quo. All decisions are made, none need to be made. Some people need a regular supply of alcohol or tranquilizers to remain satisfied with Model A.

This form of inauthenticity is readily perceived by many students. A few go to the opposite extreme: Model B. One drops out, has no ties, and is not guided by tradition; one has no code, no plan, no major purpose. One lives from moment to moment, rarely knowing in advance what one will do next. Model B can also be lubricated with alcohol, but since World War II this kind of drifting has been associated more often with other drugs. Conversely, in the past opiates have often reconciled the oppressed to the status quo.

Some of those who have drifted into Model B are afraid of making almost any decision. If they hitchhike, they go wherever they are taken. They leave things to chance. Everything depends on whatever impulse happens to be felt at the moment. To be governed by caprice is to drift. The hero of Camuss novel The Stranger illustrates this orientation.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

When this way of life breeds a sense of emptiness and despair, one becomes receptive to the siren song of commitment. This state of mind was described by Hermann Hesse in his Journey to the East, a novel published in Germany in 1932, less than a year before the Nazis came to power. Deeply dissatisfied both with traditional life styles and with being adrift, many people join a movement or drift into a movement. There need not be any momentous decision to join. It may be a matter of conformity with those among whom one happens to find oneself. Allegiance to a movement is the third strategy.

Such allegiance, again, is not always decidophobic. Some movements have little bearing on faith and morals, goals and life styles. If so, membership is marginal, although it may still be prompted by a fear of standing alone and some sense that there is safety in numbers. Total immersion, in which no crucial decisions at all remain to be made, is the exception, not the rule. Most of the strategies I shall consider from now on have a less total effect than the first two: usually, they work only in some areas of life.

Of necessity, the party man becomes a liar, said Nietzsche. Those who realize how closely words like party and Parteigenosse were associated with the German anti-Semitic movement even then, may pardon his hyperbole. In any case, he explained his meaning more fully: By lie I mean: wishing not to see something that one does see; wishing not to see something as one sees it. And he added:

The most common lie is that with which one lies to oneself; lying to others is relatively exceptional. Now this wishing not to see what one does see, this wishing not to see as one sees, is almost the first condition for all who are party in any sense: of necessity, the party man becomes a liar.

These themes are developed in Eric Hoffers True Believer and Sartres Portrait of the Anti-Semite. Sartre himself never joined the Communist Party though for years he made common cause with it. Others have joined parties or movements or retained their religion without any sacrifice of the intellect. They live in a tension, occasionally acute, between their loyalty and their intellectual conscience. As usual, there are innumerable possibilities and degrees.

At one extreme is the type sketched by Nietzsche and portrayed more elaborately by Sartre: he has made a decision once and henceforth needs only to extrapolate from that. His views come nowhere near doing justice to the complexity of fact, but he makes a virtue of simplicity and despises subtlety and cleverness. In the words of Pascals famous wager, he has made himself stupid. He prizes certainty


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 above truth or considers it, untenably, a warrant of truth, and he takes intellectual scrupulousness for cowardice and a lack of manly decisiveness. He fails to recognize his own acrophobia, his own dread of standing alone without support.

In 1970 a spokesman for what was then simply called the movement in the United States kept saying we in an argument. Asked whom he meant, he hedged, but finally, being pressed, replied: Me and my mother. It was a sudden inspiration and obviously struck him as a witty way of putting down his questioner. Yet it revealed in a flash the infantile fear of standing alone.

At the time, Erik Eriksons first reaction to this story was that it was too good to be true. Yet it was exactly what had happened. Me and my mother was supposed to be funny because the movement represented a revolt against middle-class mothers. But it is no accident to use an expression dear to Marxists that the Communist Party thinks of itself as a mother, just as the Catholic church does. The movement, too, functioned as a surrogate mother, and the We-We orientation is infantile. All talk of community notwithstanding, it recognizes no singular You. Only an I can say You to an individual. The We-We orientation is not progressive. It is regressive and takes us back to the craving for community which Dostoevskys Grand Inquisitor associated with the desire to be united in one unanimous and harmonious ant heap.

In 1970 the movement in the United States was Left; in the thirties the movement in Germany was the Nazi Party, and visitors to Munich drove past road signs that proclaimed it The Capital of the Movement. But even some people who had joined the Nazi party found themselves confronted again and again by the need for hair-raising decisions, and a few actually made very courageous choices. Again, there were many different types. What was true even there applied much more obviously to the New Left, which was never a party in which one took out membership. To call all who belonged in some sense to this movement decidophobes would be stupid no less than applying the term to all who are religious in some sense.

By 1972, the movement in the United States referred more often to womens fight for equality than to the New Left. Here the goals were much better defined and mattered more to many women than did any sense of belonging. No woman could hope to exert enough pressure as an individual to end invidious forms of discrimination that made it far more difficult for women than for men to live autonomous lives; hence there was a real need for concerted action and no need whatever for any woman who approved of this movement to use it to avoid autonomy. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize the attraction of movements for decidophobes. And in individual cases one must ask how


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 important this attraction has been, and to what extent it may reduce all arguments with otherwise intelligent people to futility.

Those seeking liberation must ask themselves whether they are really advancing toward autonomy or whether they have merely exchanged one kind of conformity for another. Renouncing a religion, a creed, or a code and throwing off the blinders that went with it does not necessarily spell liberation. The question remains whether one has turned to a surrogate and put on a new pair of blinders.

Allegiance to a school of thought sounds like a mere variant of allegiance to a movement, but it is actually importantly different. Membership in a movement is generally palpable and overt, and ones consciousness of it is usually crucial: it helps to give one an identity. Allegiance to a school of thought can be like that but usually is not. Typically, it is quite unselfconscious and even denied outright. When granted, it is often felt to be irrelevant.

Those who belong to a school of thought are usually more interested in their small differences with fellow members than they are in what they have in common. These differences can be spelled out without much trouble, and in their publications those who write develop differences of this sort. What one has in common with those with whom one differs is much harder to specify. Distance is required to behold such family resemblances, and those inside the family lack this distance. But they rarely find it difficult to say who does not belong.

Can one say what the members of a school have in common, without even specifying any school? They tend to deal with a few clusters of problems, not with others, and they tend to deal with them in the same way. They share a way of thinking, a style, and a tradition that they see in much the same perspective. A few writers may be key figures in more than one tradition, but different schools will see them differently. Thus Heidegger and his admirers do not see Aristotle the way the Oxford philosophers do, and the Aristotle of the Thomists is different again.

Spelling out the shared assumptions of a school may require exceptional insight and skill. For most of these assumptions do not function like dogmas; they do their job without rising to consciousness. They provide a largely unquestioned framework in which a person can make all sorts of small decisions and tangible contributions without ever coming face to face with shattering decisions.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

Once basic assumptions are spelled out, they can be questioned. It is much safer to keep them buried. In Heideggers philosophical jargon, questions that might cast doubt on his whole edifice can hardly come up; and questions asked in a different language can be shrugged off as subphilosophical: they show no inkling of what it is all about; they expose the questioner; all is safe.

The same goes for Thomism and analytical philosophy, phenomenology and Marxism, psychoanalysis and other schools of thought. The basic decision has been made, usually without ones being conscious of making any decision, and the choices that remain are small enough to be enjoyable. One has chosen the game and the rules and can have a good time planning ones moves. Microscopism spells safety.

Choosing the college one attended and the teachers with whom one studied, one had no clear notion of alternatives. If one made a choice, it was a haphazard choice, determined by accidents of geography, financial conditions, and who happened to be where at a certain time. One became a member of a school of thought not by making a decision but by being trained by someone who was there.

Henceforth one no longer asks what are right methods, right questions, right style, right models, and right rejections. Alternatives do not call for painful choices but can be ruled out of court because one does not do things that way. Those who present them need not be taken seriously and therefore do not call the decidophobe back to freedom.

The most common reaction to members of a rival school is simply lack of interest. Rival schools are not so much tolerated as they are ignored. And those who go it alone are typically shrugged off as crackpots until one of them succeeds in capturing the public imagination and is therefore perceived as a threat. When that happens, material heresies do not elicit as much wrath as formal heresies; it is easier to be rational about what one takes to be false results than it is to deal deliberately with a radically different approach that calls into question ones whole style of thinking

Exegetical thinking differs from interpretation. Indeed, I shall use the term in a distinctive way to label the fifth strategy. Interpretation is inevitable; exegetical thinking is not. Exegetical thinking assumes that


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 the text that one interprets is right. Thus the text is treated as an authority. If what it seems to say is wrong, the exegesis must be inadequate: the interpreter is wrong, never the text.

Actually, the interpreter is on trial as well as the text; neither he alone nor the text alone. For the exegetical thinker the text is as God. The paradigm is a text that is supposed to be revealed by God. This case takes one back to religion and need not be considered here. One might think that Kierkegaard was an exegetical thinker only because he was a Christian, but the notion that there are two kinds of existentialism, Christian and atheist, is shallow; Heideggers and Sartres development closely resembles Kierkegaards. All three exemplify what I shall call the existentialist pattern.

First one adopts a subjectivism so extreme that it is found to be intolerable. One spurns the drifters, the crowd, das Man (the anonymous one), and summons the solitary individual to commitment, resoll1teness, engagement. Lukewarmness and routine are spurned; conviction, courage, and decision are called for. But then the terrifying question arises: does anything go, then, if only it is chosen with a will?

Heideggers Being and Time (1927) had left this question open. When the Nazis came to power, Heidegger joined the movement. After the war he hinted that he had soon become disillusioned. If so, he kept his resolution to himself without incurring any liabilities. This episode has attracted considerable attention, but Heideggers descent into exegetical thinking is far more instructive. It began with his book on Kant, became very clear in his exegeses of Hlderlins poems, and found its fullest expression in his writings on the pre-Socratic philosophers. The texts he chose in his later period share a fascinating incoherence and an oracular quality; they invite noncontextual and arbitrary readings; and the exegesis could be made to share their charismatic quality. From the start it was one of Heideggers avowed principles that an interpretation must necessarily use force. This cult of force (Gewalt) is fused with a scornful renunciation of logic and reason. To escape from an extreme subjectivism that invites intellectual and moral anarchy, the philosopher casts about for some authority to save him. But the leading existentialists have been too individualistic to accept for long the authority of any party or church. What option remains? Exegetical thinking permits the exegete to read his own ideas into a text and get them back endowed with authority.

The exegetical thinker avoids standing by himself and saying what he thinks; for he might be wrong and would not know what to say if others followed his example and said what they thought. Such a situation would call for the evaluation of alternatives and invite the use of reason and the assessment of evidence. He is suspicious of reason and associates evidence with science and positivism. There would be no telling in advance where the argument might lead. Moreover, the result would be provisional,


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 pending further evidence and argument. Confronted with the prospect of acrophobia, the exegetical thinker looks for a prop, for something to lean on. Being a man of words, he finds a text.

Heidegger, for example, casts a few aspersions on the Philistines who see the pre-Socratics as mere primitives or, in his own words, as a kind of high-grade Hottentots, and who believe that compared to them modern science represents infinite progress. In a similar vein one can easily disparage those who fail to see the grandeur of H6lderlins late verse. If one succeeds in communicating ones own reverence and enthusiasm for the texts and gets across their fascination along with their obscurity and their relevance, one is almost certain to be hailed as a great teacher. Then, having made clear how dark the text is, one makes some sense of it, using force but takes care that the meaning one discovers is not too plain lest one destroy the charisma. If all this were done in good faith, it would still be an example of mauvaise foi, of self-deception.

The later Sartre exemplifies the same pattern. By 1946 he felt dissatisfied with the extreme subjectivism of his early existentialism, and in his famous lecture Existentialism is a Humanism he cast about for some objective standards to meet the charge of irresponsibility. The discussion after the lecture convinced him that he had not succeeded. Eventually he turned to Marxism. But Sartres Marxism is rather like Kierkegaards Christianity: a highly subjective version that is unacceptable both to careful scholars and to fellow Christians or Marxists. It is a way of endowing ones own views with authority.

This suggestion may seem strange to those who concede no authority to Marxism or to Christianity, to Hlderlins or the pre-Socratics. The whole strategy, however, depends on the assumption that certain texts or figures or traditions have authority. Not every text is equally suitable, and some texts have to be built up by the exegetical thinker before he can proceed to read his own thoughts into them.

Sartre himself said in his lecture in 1946 that his existentialism was like Heideggers but unlike Kierkegaards because Kierkegaard was a Christian. But he himself sounded like a Christian theologian when he said in 1961: Russia is not comparable to other countries. It is only permissible to judge it when one has accepted its undertaking, and then only in the name of that undertaking. Such special pleading would be instantly familiar if the first sentence began: Christianity is not comparable to other religions. And Sartres concern in the same essay that we didnt even have the right to call ourselves Marxists brings to mind Kierkegaards anxiety about his right to call himself a Christian. Here the ways of interpretation and exegetical thinking part. A decent scholar of Marx, Nietzsche, or Plato does not fret about his right to call himself a Marxist, Nietzscheaan, or Platonist.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Exegetical thinking is also exemplified by the liberal who believes in inalienable rights to life and liberty, in the equality of all men, or in other similar articles of faith of which he feels sure that they are true, the only question being how they ought to be interpreted. He feels bound to interpret the old formulas in such a way that they will turn out to be true, and to his mind an appealing exegesis has a much stronger claim to assent than any impartial inquiry would suggest; for he feels that it has all the authority of the old dogma.

Even simple acts have many motives, and exegetical thinking is not always motivated in exactly the same way. In some traditions this way of thinking is so deeply ingrained and taught from such an early age that one could not point to any period in a persons life when he had succumbed to decidophobia. He is the slave of a childhood habit. He is part of a culture that has succumbed to decidophobia.

Within such cultures one may encounter odd variants. Thus there are Catholic scholars who, impelled both by a streak of independence and a powerful elective affinity, devote themselves to the exegesis of Heidegger rather than St. Thomas. Meanwhile Heidegger himself, after breaking with the Catholicism of his childhood and expounding radical subjectivism, found a refuge in exegetical thinking.

I have given so much attention to the existentialist pattern because it is so ironical that the existentialists who have given such pride of place to decision should have succumbed again and again to decidophobia. In many ways they are late romantics, and at this point they resemble those early romantics who first made their reputations as subjectivists and then converted to Catholicism, like Friedrich Schlegel. But exegetical thinking is subtler. Those who engage in it rarely understand what they are doing.

The first five strategies aim at making no fateful decisions at all, or at most the one decision to make no more fateful decisions from now on. Four of the five involve some recourse to authority; drifting does not. The next two strategies are basically different.

The sixth strategy is Manichaeism. The Maanichaean insists on the need for a decision, but the choice is loaded and practically makes itself. It is like being asked to choose between two dishes of food and being told that this one is poisoned and will make you sick, while that one tastes incomparably better


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 and will improve your health and expand your consciousness. All good is on one side, all evil on the other.

Inconvenient facts are ignored or denied; the falsification of history becomes an indispensable crutch; and uncomfortable arguments are discredited as coming from the forces of evil. There is no need for quandaries that keep men sleepless.

It is easier to ridicule this strategy than it is to resist it. Indeed, it has been so popular in so many different periods and contexts that one may wonder whether man is not doomed to think in black and white. But he is not. The ancient Greeks, for example, resisted this temptation to a remarkable degree.

Conflict is at the heart of Homers Iliad and of Greek tragedy, but Homer and the tragic poets found humanity on both sides of the contests they described. When the gods participated, some took this side and some that, and like the heroes they were neither wholly good nor altogether evil. In Aeschylus Libation Bearers, Orestes actually says: Right clashes with right. This theme is no less obvious in Aeschylus Eumenides. It is a central motif in his work. Hegels notion that it is the essence of tragedy to represent collisions in which both sides are justified was based squarely on Greek tragedy; but he overshot the mark when he claimed occasionally that both sides are equally justified. As a rule, wrong clashes with greater wrong, not only in Greek tragedy but also in life and in history.

When Thucydides, who called himself the Athenian, recorded the epic war between Athens and Sparta, he breathed the same un-Manichaean spirit. He did not even suggest that both sides were equally justified. He realized that as a rule wrong clashes with greater wrong.

No doubt, most Greeks were not that free of the tendency to think in black and white; but Manichaeism as a world view is part of the legacy of Persia, the rising world power that Aeschylus helped to defeat at Marathon. It was probably less than a hundred years before this battle that Zarathustra had taught his people that there were two great cosmic forces: light and good versus darkness and evil; and he summoned man to help the former to vanquish the latter.

Some Zoroastrian ideas gained entrance into Judaism without achieving any great prominence in the Old Testament. But the New Testament speaks of the sheep and the goats, the children of light and the children of darkness; and according to both Matthew (12:30) and Luke (11:23) Jesus said: He who is not with me is against me. In Christianity the Devil became a far more powerful figure than Satan had been


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 in the Hebrew Bible; he became the Evil One, the Lord of Hell; and humanity was split into two camps those headed for salvation and those headed for everlasting torment.

Even so, Christianity did not follow Zarathustra all the way. In the third century another Persian prophet, Mani, preached a more Zoroastrian version of Christianity: Manichaeism. For a while its impact in the Roman Empire rivaled that of Christianity, and Augustine came under its spell. Eventually the church condemned the Manichaean heresy, and as a religion it died. But Manichaeism is far from dead if the name is used inclusively to label views in which history is a contest between the forces of light and darkness, with all right on one side.

The perennial appeal of Manichaeism is due not only to the fact that it flatters its followers but also to the way in which it makes the most complex and baffling issues marvelously simple. There is no need for difficult decisions; the choice is perfectly obvious.

In times of war, Manichaeism flourishes; and during the cold war that followed World War II it did, too. What is more surprising is that this strategy is also encountered in the work of some philosophers who at first glance seem rather subtle. Thus Heidegger contrasted two life styles in Being and Time: authentic and inauthentic. He described the latter at great length before finding the mark of authenticity in resoluteness. He never showed that resolution was incompatible with inauthenticity. Of course, it is not, as his own decision for Hitler in 1933 illustrates. A resolute leap into faith or into a movement is quite compatible with dishonesty, decidophobia, and heteronomy. But in his Manichaean way, Heidegger assumed that all good must be on one side; and since he considered resoluteness good and inauthenticity bad, he failed to see that they can occur together. Manichaeism permeates much of traditional morality, and beyond that also Western thought about reality. Indeed, many people assume that Manichaeism is based squarely on the facts. But there are no opposites in nature. What would be the opposite of this rose or that Austrian pine? Or of the sun, or of this human being? Only human thought introduces opposites. Neither individual beings nor classes of such beings such as roses, pines, or human beings have opposites; nor do colors, sounds, textures, feelings.

But are not hard and soft opposites? As abstract concepts they are; but the feel of a rock and the feel of moss are not. It is only by disregarding most of the qualities of botl1 experiences and classifying one as hard and the other as soft that people think of them as opposites. Playing with fire and rolling in the snow are not opposites far from it but hot and cold are. No specific degree of heat or coldness has any opposite, only the concepts do. The starry heavens and a sunny sky are not opposites, but day and night are. And the Manichaean looks everywhere for day and night concepts.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Temperatures are arranged on a linear scale, like hard and soft, fast and slow. Day and night, like summer and winter or spring and fall, are best represented by a circle, like colors. Colors that are across from each other on a color wheel are not opposites; no two colors are any more than two times of day. Nothing temporal, nothing living, nothing that is in process has an opposite.

To understand the world and to bring some order into the chaos of human impressions one needs concepts and abstractions; one disregards what in some particular context is less relevant. Scientists, engineers, and analytical philosophers generally realize how indispensable analysis is. The neoromantics who extol direct experience and feeling are much more prone to catch the virus of Mani. Why?

Thoughtful people are at least dimly aware of the claims of both feeling and understanding. Even those who incline heavily toward one side usually feel some need for the other. Thus the analytically minded tend to leave the realms of faith and morals, if not politics, to feeling and intuition, while the romantics, who stress the importance of feeling and intuition, indulge in a bare minimum of analysis and tend to favor polarities.

Neither analysis nor direct experience entails any form of Manichaeism. The Manichaean limps on both legs: he curtails both the understanding and direct experience, settling for very little of each. He all but shuts both eyes and is a decidophobe.

He supposes not only that truth and error are opposites but even that there are children of truth and children of error. The notion of degree, and especially degrees of truth, is anathema to him. His thinking is as simplistic as a true-or-false test. Abraham Lincoln was born on February 11, 1809: True or False? False, but hardly the opposite of the truth, seeing that he was born February 12, 1809. Even a multiplechoice test would allow a little more subtlety if it distinguished between degrees of falsehood or approximations of the truth. But such complexities frighten those who seek refuge in Manichaeism. They like decisions that make themselves. The Manichaeans think in black and white; the autonomous think in color.

The seventh strategy is much the subtlest of the lot. I shall call it moral rationalism. It claims that purely rational procedures can show what one ought to do or what would constitute a just society. There is


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 then no need at all to choose between different ideals, different societies, different goals. Once again, no room is left for tragic quandaries or fateful choices.

Various philosophers have devoted considerable acumen to the development of different versions of moral rationalism, and one cannot prove all of them wrong in a few paragraphs. But my critique of the idea of justice in the next three chapters will join this issue and should show that moral rationalism is untenable.

My repudiation of moral rationalism does not entail an acceptance of what I call moral irrationalism. Anyone supposing that it must would commit the Manichaean fallacy. I repudiate both.

Moral irrationalism claims that because reason by itself cannot show people what to do, reason is irrelevant when one is confronted with fateful decisions. This view is exemplified in different ways by Kierkegaard and Heidegger and widely associated with existentialism. It is compatible with any of the first six strategies and need not be considered here at length as a separate strategy. The moral irrationalist says more or less explicitly that when it comes to ultimate commitments reason is irrelevant; and the choice of a religion or a movement or a school of thought, of a life style like drifting or a way of thinking like exegetical thinking or possibly even Manichaeism, involves to his mind an ultimate commitment. This is a way of saying that while it may be reasonable to keep your eyes open when making relatively petty decisions, it makes no sense to keep them open and examine your impulsive preferences as well as the most significant alternatives when a choice is likely to mold your future. In other words, be careful when you drive slowly, but when you go over fifty miles per hour shut your eyes!

Both moral rationalism and moral irrationalism involve an inadequate conception of reason and responsibility. Kant, an exemplary moral rationalist, thought that his ethic had the great distinction of being autonomous. Heidegger, an exemplary moral irrationalist, suggests that his stance, and only his, is authentic. Both claims are untenable.

I have considered seven ways of avoiding autonomy: (1) religion, (2) drifting, (3) allegiance to a movement, (4) allegiance to a school of thought, (5) exegetical thinking, (6) Manichaeism, and (7) moral rationalism. It is possible to systematize these seven strategies under two headings: First, avoiding fateful decisions, possibly excepting the one decision not to make any more fateful decisions (methods 1 to 5); second, making fateful decisions, but stacking the cards in some way so that the choice will make itself and there is no possibility of tragedy (6-7).


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

More important, one can combine several of these strategies. Thomists, for example, combine 1, 4, 5, and 7 with a dash of 6; and Thomists who joined the Fascist party in Italy, the Nazi party in Germany, or some of their cognates in Hungary or Slovakia get six out of a possible seven points. They miss out only on drifting.

Herbert Marcuse does almost as well. In his work one finds all but the first two strategies: religion and drifting. His fusion of Manichaeism and moral rationalism in his widely read essay on Repressive Tolerance is instructive because it furnishes such a gross example of both.

His Manichaeism finds expression in his central plea for intolerance against movements from the Right, and toleration of movements from the Left. He attacks the active, official tolerance granted to the Right as well as to the Left, to movements of aggression as well as to movements of peace, to the party of hate as well as that of humanity. His whole case depends on the assumption that there are two camps, the Left and the Right, the children of light and the children of darkness, and that the former are for peace and humanity, and are intelligent and informed, while the latter are for aggression and hate, stupid and misinformed. His plea for the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc. hinges on the notion that all good, all humanity, intelligence, and information are on one side.

His moral rationalism finds expression when he says that the distinction between liberating and repressive, human and inhuman teachings and practices . . . is not a matter of value-preference but of rational criteria. Three pages later this becomes the distinction between true and false, progressive and regressive. The early Heidegger, under whom Marcuse had studied and to whom he had dedicated his first book, had fused Manichaeism with moral irrationalism.

When one considers how many different combinations are possible, seven strategies may seem to be enough, but when it comes to avoiding fateful decisions people are most inventive and use other means as well. No exhaustive list is possible, but something will be gained by adding three more to my list.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 The eighth strategy for avoiding autonomy is pedantry. It plays a central part in the creeping microscopism mentioned earlier; and I have noted previously that as long as one remains absorbed in microscopic distinctions one is in no great danger of coming face to face with fateful decisions.

Of course, careful attention to detail is not only compatible with autonomy but a requirement of intellectual integrity. Pedantry becomes decidophobic at the point where a person never gets around to considering major decisions with any care or actually closes his eyes to macroscopic alternatives. The same criteria apply to all the other strategies.

Pedantry is often part of a mixed strategy and may appear as an ingredient of religion, belonging to a school of thought, exegetical thinking, or moral rationalism. In Heideggers early work (1927) it appears along with moral irrationalism and Manichaeism. But pedantry can also be a persons one and only strategy. If so, he is not likely to become famous; hence no great examples come to mind. But Grand, a character in Camuss novel The Plague, may serve as an illustration: He has, he says, his work, which consists of writing a book, but the first sentence is giving him no end of trouble, and he keeps rewriting it spending whole weeks on one word.

The ninth strategy is the faith that one is riding the wave of the future. This, too, is usually part of a mixed strategy and frequently associated with religion, allegiance to a movement, belonging to a school of thought, or Manichaeism. But even if the later Sartre did not succumb to these four lures, he certainly deserves a point for this faith in addition to the point he gets for exegetical thinking, and this is a very telling objection to his later work. Sartre endows Marxism with authority because it is the philosophy of our time (1960) and the wave of the future, and this exempts him from any need to see what speaks against it and what speaks for various alternatives. In fact, the wave of the future would possess no moral authority even if we could predict it. Anne Morrow Lindbergh, who first said, The wave of the future is coming and there is no fighting it, meant Hitler in 1940. Even if the future had belonged to him, an autonomous person might well have chosen to go down fighting against the Nazis.

Those who employ the ninth strategy never stand alone or unsupported: they always feel backed up by force majeure. Consider a very different example. Wallenstein, the great seventeenth-century general who commanded the imperial army for almost a decade during the Thirty Years War, has been brought to life on the stage by Friedrich Schiller as an exemplary decidophobe: he keeps delaying his crucial break with the emperor and rationalizes his indecision by recourse to astrology. Schiller suggests that if Wallenstein had acted sooner he probably would have succeeded; but he waited until events forced his hand, and he failed and was murdered. Astrology, oracles, and the Chinese I Ching, which achieved such immense popularity in the United States during the 1960s, have always attracted decidophobes. Nor is it


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 merely a great help in specific cases to have an authoritative prognosis of the future. Millions find it frightening to face up to the lack of necessity in human affairs. For the Soviet Writers Secretariat, which considered Alexander Solzhenitsyns Cancer Ward unpublishable as written they were generous with offers to help him rewrite it! one of the major provocations was the concluding image of the novel: An evil man threw tobacco in the Macaque Rhesuss eyes. Just like that . . . The affront was not so much that Stalin was likened to an evil man, but that the author implicitly denied the Marxist philosophy of history and insisted on the element of caprice in human affairs. One does not have to be a member of the Soviet Writers Secretariat to be dizzied by the thought that what some individual decides just like that might determine the misery and death of millions. To avoid this dizziness, people have always found it tempting to believe in a divine government, the stars, or History.

Solzhenitsyns opposition to all forms of historical determinism is central in his August 1914. Here he develops a view of history that stands squarely opposed to Marxism and to that Tolstoyan philosophy, with its worship of passive sanctity and meekness of simple, ordinary people which one of his Soviet detractors had found in his early work. For obvious reasons, the polemic against Marxism is not formulated explicitly, but Tolstoys ideas about history are rejected expressly. The subtlety and richness of this novel cannot be discussed here, but the points that bear on autonomy can be stated succinctly.

In the first part of August 1914 the author shows how decrepit, obsolete, and hopeless the Tsars army was. Soon one feels that there is no need to go on in this vein; the disastrous Russian defeat at Tannenberg was overdetermined, and anyone or two of the endless reasons mentioned would have been enough. The reader is led to feel that it did not require the superlative efficiency and technological superiority of the German army to defeat such a wretched force. But then Solzhenitsyn tries to show that if the celebrated German victors, Hindenburg and Ludendorff, had been obeyed, the Russian army would not have been encircled and destroyed: the shattering Russian defeat was accomplished by two German generals who disobeyed orders. And the Russian officers who defied their stupid orders and fought courageously inflicted serious defeats on the Germans and broke through the encirclement. Solzhenitsyn calls upon his readers to reject the false faith in the wave of the future and to make decisions for themselves, fearlessly.

Yet Solzhenitsyn is far from feeling contempt for those who lack the rare qualities required for successful insubordination and autonomy. His compassion for the sufferings of the less gifted Ivan Denisovich, Matryona, and the wives of some of the prisoners in The First Circle, for example sears the heart. In August 1914 his sympathetic portrayal of General Samsonov, the commander of the encircled Russian army, becomes one of the glories of world literature precisely when we are shown how a severely limited man dies from the inside out, how despair and death permeate his body. Had Samsonov been more independent, defying his orders, he might have avoided defeat and failure; but he had some


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 sense of decency, courage enough to wish to die with his troops and, when that proved impossible, to commit suicide and he did not tell lies.

Solzhenitsyns hatred of dishonesty is a physical thing and finds superlative expression in the overwhelming final scene of the book, in which a colonel simply cannot keep quiet even though his explosion may not do any good and is almost certain to ruin him. Nothing in Solzhenitsyns works is more obviously autobiographical than the description of the feelings of this man. But the same passion for honesty finds succinct expression in an aside in the early story, Matryonas House: There was nothing evil about either the mice or the cockroaches, they told no lies. Autonomy does not entail any elitist scorn for simple folk. But it does require courage and, as I hope to show, high standards of honesty. And it precludes any deference to the wave of the future.


The tenth strategy, finally, often spells total relief, like the first two: marriage. At first glance, it looks quite different from the others and therefore out of place. But it is probably the most popular strategy of all. When getting married, legions of women have echoed Ruths beautiful words (which in the Bible are not spoken to a husband): Your people shall be my people, your god my god. Henceforth they agree to make no more fateful decisions; they will leave that to their husbands. This pattern is deeply ingrained in many cultures: it is what a woman is expected to do when she gets married; and she is supposed to get married.

Actually, it does not always work that way. The man who boasts of making all the big decisions while he leaves the small ones to his wife may admit when asked to explain: Big decisions concern what we should do about China; small decisions deal with such matters as buying a house and where to live. Figuratively speaking, many men marry their mothers.

It would be wrong to suppose either that marriage must involve decidophobia or that when it does only one spouse can have succumbed. This strategy can work for both husband and wife. Often a couple is a committee of two and makes decisions the way committees usually do: a consensus is presumed and not questioned if all goes well. But if things turn out badly, one does not feel altogether responsible; one merely went along; left to ones own devices one might have acted quite differently. In a bad marriage such excuses are stated expressly; in a good marriage they are entertained privately. However unworthy it may be to harbor such thoughts, there is much more than a grain of truth in them. Left to their own devices, both partners or on a committee, most or even all members might indeed have


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 made a different decision. As it happened, nobody made any decision at all, and that was one of the main features of the whole arrangement from the start: marriage is a way of avoiding the necessity of having to make fateful decisions. Instead of making a decision, one talks until something transpires.

Another way of putting this point is less nasty and is unassailably true. In marriage one no longer stands alone. Both partners have somebody to lean on if all goes well.

It does require a fateful decision to get married in the first place. But that decision may have been prompted by decidophobia, by the desire to escape loneliness, by an unwillingness to make decisions in solitude. There is nothing paradoxical in that. Kierkegaards famous leap into commitment is quite typically the plunge one takes from a solitary height to be rid of freedom. It would require a fateful decision to go to a surgeon and say, Please, doctor, give me a frontal lobotomy! But it would not be in the least paradoxical to say that anyone who made that choice was a decidophobe who had come to the conclusion that he could not take it any more.

Getting married does not have to be like that; it is never quite like that; but it is often a little like that. Marriage can be an expansion of consciousness. Getting married can involve the will to incur additional responsibilities and to see a myriad things in two perspectives. Climbing with another person may be prompted partly by the will to reach peaks that one cannot reach alone.

The same is often true of some of the other strategies. A religion or a movement may be embraced because it holds out the same promise. But it is easy to deceive oneself and to credit oneself with a courage that one lacks. One should realize at that point that one is actually hedging ones bet; however bold ones intentions, one is making it easy for oneself to succumb to decidophobia in the future if not immediately. It is the exceptional person who keeps resisting this temptation.

The ten strategies could be arranged in a table as follows:

A. Avoid fateful decisions 1. Strategies involving recourse to authority: 1, 3, 4, 5, 9. 2. Strategies that do not involve recourse to authority and are compatible with going it alone: 2, 8. B. Stack the cards to make one alternative clearly right and remove all risk: 6, 7.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 C. Decline responsibility: 10.

But it is only by exploring some of these strategies in detail that one can show what is involved in autonomy, and what lures have to be resisted. Obviously, one must also resist the temptation of thinking of autonomy in Manichaean terms. Autonomy provides no guarantee of happiness or even goodness; and decidophobes may be very decent, altruistic people, good scholars, or fine artists. Their lives may be blessed with warmth, security, and the comfort of strong convictions.

Too often those who denounce conformity see it merely as an expression of cowardice and laziness. It can be that. But the tendency to believe that views held strongly by people whom one knows well and likes must be largely right is extremely powerful and difficult to overcome. One cannot begin to understand the appeal of some of these ten strategies if one ignores this fact.


Two questions about decidophobia remain to be answered. First: is a new word really needed? Wouldnt self-alienation or loss of freedom do just as well? The point of coining a new term is to move the phenomena discussed here clearly into focus. Alienation is a very troublesome word, and it is extremely important not to fudge the differences between decidophobia and other forms of alienation. Moreover, alienation immediately suggests to many people a specifically modern phenomenon, as if things used to be better in the past. Finally, it is widely felt that the cure for alienation must be sought in some sort of community; but I have shown that the search for community looms large among the strategies of decidophobia.

Loss of freedom suggests that one had freedom before one lost it. Escape from freedom has similar overtones. Such phrases are therefore grossly misleading. Again, an illustration may help. One chapter in Charles Reichs immensely popular book The Greening of America (1970) bears the title The Lost Self. We are transposed into a fairy tale: We had a self before some ogre (the Corporate State) took it away, and When self is recovered, the power of the Corporate State will be ended, as miraculously as a kiss breaks a witchs evil enchantment.

This fairy-tale quality pervades the whole book. We are asked to suspend our critical faculties when we are told of World War II (!) that the source of the war is in the barren, frustrated lives that are led in America; lives that lead men to aggression, force, and power. The war in Vietnam, too, becomes part of


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 the fairy tale: Report after report from Vietnam shows that G.I.s, sent out to search and destroy those whom the State considers enemies, simply seek the safety of some foliage and peacefully smoke marijuana, rap, and sleep.

Thus those who are troubled about themselves and their children are urged to take heart: The children of light who are numbered in the millions are even now approaching on the wave of the future, sitting on the Left.

The other question we must face is whether it is at all possible to resist all ten lures, to master decidophobia and become liberated. If I point to some illustrious examples to show that autonomy is attainable, you may feel that what was possible for people of such stature is not necessarily possible for ordinary human beings. But if I mentioned people who are not famous and therefore not widely known, I would be asking you in effect to take my word for it that it is possible and actually has been done. Clearly, the first course represents the lesser evil, the more so because autonomy is difficult to attain.

Characters from literature are beside the point, but it is worth noting that Aeschylus created at least two autonomous figures: Prometheus, who is almost autonomy incarnate, and Clytemnestra, who reminds us that autonomy is no warrant of virtue. (Aeschylus did not mean to suggest that married women, if liberated, must kill their husbands.)

Western philosophy has been to some extent a quest for autonomy, and the pre-Socratics are considered the first Western philosophers because they were free thinkers who leaned neither on religion nor on exegetical thinking but took stands of their own. Heraclitus comes to life as an individual rather more than the others, and although knowledge of him is limited it seems clear that he did not employ any of the ten strategies. The most dramatic illustrations in the long history of Western philosophy, however, are Socrates and Nietzsche. A few interpreters, to be sure, have tried to saddle Socrates with Platos moral rationalism; but the Apology, the conclusion of the Theaetetus, and some other passages suggest forcibly that Socrates made a point of not knowing what he did not know. But even if he should not have defied the fear of freedom with complete success, he clearly went much further than most men, and contemplation of his thought and posture helps us understand what is involved in mastering decidophobia.

The case of Nietzsche illustrates not only autonomy but also two phobic gambits, employed by those who feel stung by such freedom. The first gambit is to turn those who have mastered decidophobia into something else say, by posthumously baptizing Socrates as an Anglican or by claiming that Nietzsche


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 was a fascist. The second indeed, the classical phobic gambit, equally popular with religious apologists and members of political movements, Left as well as Right is to say: Those who examine their own preferences as well as alternatives end up by never making up their minds; they keep arguing when the time for argument is long past; they never get around to drawing a conclusion and taking a stand; they shrink from decisions. No doubt, there are people of that kind, but it is also possible to make decisions responsibly.

The autonomous individual does not treat his own conclusions and decisions as authoritative but chooses with his eyes open, and then keeps his eyes open. He has the courage to admit that he may have been wrong even about matters of the greatest importance. He objects to the ten strategies not on account of their putative psychological origins but because they preclude uninhibited self-criticism.

There is no need here to recapitulate my interpretation of Nietzsche as a man of this type or to show that he did get around to drawing conclusions and taking stands, My disagreements with him are legion, but his books reveal a truly liberated spirit. It will suffice here to quote a single epigram from his notebooks: A very popular error: having the courage of ones convictions; rather it is a matter of having the courage for an attack on ones convictions!!!

Among poets there are few whose lives are as well documented as Goethes, and nobody can accuse him of having succumbed to any of the ten strategies. Incidentally, he married, as Socrates did, illustrating the point that marriage does not necessarily involve decidophobia.

Coming to our own time, Eleanor Roosevelt was an autonomous woman but did not come fully into her own until after her husbands death. In some ways, being a Presidents wife offers a woman exceptional opportunities; but it is also confining because she must always consider how her words and actions will affect the President. This helps to explain why no other Presidents wife played a comparable role. It is harder to understand why others did not use their experience and prestige for the good of humanity once their husbands were out of office or dead, especially in cases in which widespread sympathy and admiration would have made it relatively easy. But the women who marry extraordinarily ambitious men are rarely looking for autonomy; they are much more likely to use marriage as a decidophobic strategy, perhaps even along with religion and allegiance to a party. Moreover, years in the limelight, in which every move must be scrutinized lest it undercut the husbands career, must be crushing. All this makes Eleanor Roosevelts achievement even more imposing. She did not allow her difficult marriage to one of the strongest personalities in the world destroy her own will and spirit, and she never simply accepted his political or moral views, nor those of the Democratic Party. She kept her own counsel and


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 after his death showed all the world what it means to be autonomous, using every resource at her command for the benefit of those who needed help.

My final example exhibits the most awesome courage: Solzhenitsyn. Rarely has it been so difficult for any man to stand alone, utterly alone, without any prop of any kind. The First Circle, Cancer Ward, Solzhenitsyn: A Documentary Record, and August 1914 show how he succeeded in resisting all ten temptations, making one fateful decision after another against seemingly insuperable odds. His life is autonomy in action. An Attack on Distributive Justice 12

THE ROAD to autonomy is blocked by a two-headed dragon. One head is Guilt, the other Justice. Justice roars: You have no right to decide for yourself; you have been told what is good, right, and just. There is one righteous road, and there are many unrighteous ones. Turn back and seek justice!

Frightened, man stops and marvels at his own presumption, when Guilt cries: Those who succeed in getting past Justice are devoured by Guilt. Seek the road to which Justice directs you and dare not to strike out on paths of your own. Guilt has a thousand eyes to swallow you, and the lids above and below each are lined with poison fangs. Turn back: autonomy IS sacrilege. Whoever wants to reach autonomy must first slay this dragon and do battle with Justice and Guilt. But Justice has many wiles and is not always as fierce as her roar. She can change herself into a beautiful woman no longer young, to be sure and say: In my youth the Hebrew prophets loved me, and Plato sang my praises. Christianity taught generations to think of me as divine and linked me to Gods righteous judgment of all men. When faith in God declined, philosophers of widely different views tried to dissociate me from religion and linked me with reason. At that point the voice of Justice becomes less wistful; she continues firmly, even imperiously: Legions now no longer appeal to God as moral arbiter; they invoke me.

Asked how they know what is just, large numbers of people would deny that they were relying on their upbringing or on their personal intuition; they would insist that their claims were rational and that any reasonable person who was not blinded by prejudice could see what was just. People who think that way are decidophobes who have fallen for the seventh strategy: moral rationalism.

They believe that there is one righteous way and that justice demands one particular punishment or one specific distribution. There is no need to weigh alternatives and then make difficult decisions; there is no


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 room for excruciating choices: reason they think tells us plainly what we ought to do. Formerly it was religion that was thought to tell us what was just, and God was the ultimate authority. With the death of God, the prestige of justice rose, if only temporarily, and now she receives some of the reverence hitherto reserved for God.

Justice is widely held to be objective if not absolute, precise and not subject to emotion, timeless and above mere preferences. These attributes are crucial features of what people mean by justice. When justice demands something, it is no longer up to mere human beings to try to decide what to do; the individual is supposed to submit and do the bidding of justice.

In fact, justice is not at all timeless. Yesterdays just punishment or distribution may be considered blatantly unjust today. Soon I shall give examples to show how what was once demanded in the name of simple justice is now felt to be outrageous. To the skeptic, any claim that justice has been done looks arrogant and foolish right away. A generation or two later, it will also look absurd to those who are not skeptics and who use the same rhetoric themselves. I shall argue that the demands of simple justice are simple indeed but not just.

There is more than one way in which justice is not timeless. It will be helpful to distinguish several stages in the development of the idea of justice.

First, justice was conformity with custom, and injustice meant a violation of tradition. Even at this stage, justice blocked the road to autonomy; it was not up to the individual to make fateful decisions for himself. An extraordinary passage in the Iliad seems to illustrate this stage. Menelaus is about to take a Trojan prisoner of war in order to collect ransom, when Agamemnon reproaches him: No let us not leave even one of them alive, down to the babies in their mothers wombs not even they should live. The whole people must be wiped out of existence, and none survive to think of them or weep. And Homer continues: He turned his brothers heart, for he urged justice. This seems to mean that he reminded his brother of the hallowed custom of genocide. In time, the tragic poets and the Sophists questioned the authority of custom and convention, and Euripides attacked this particular custom in The Trojan Women.

At the second stage, justice becomes the sum of the virtues. The classical formulation is found in another Greek poet, Theognis, in the second half of the sixth century B.C.:


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Justice contains the sum of all virtue, and every just man, Kyrnos, is good.

This is a development of the first stage and originally meant that those who conformed to custom were good. But when convention was felt to be problematic, a higher law was postulated both in Athens and in Jerusalem what later came to be known as natural law and whoever lived in conformity with that was considered just. This second stage was consummated by Plato and the Hebrew prophets.

The third state is reached when justice becomes a particular virtue. Aristotle, in the fourth century, expressly distinguished the justice that is the sum of the virtues from the justice that is one of the virtues. Further, he distinguished distributive and rectificatory justice, associating the latter with restitution not with retribution.

When justice is no longer primarily a virtue but rather a quality of punishments and distributions, the fourth stage has been reached. On the rare occasions when a person is still called just at this stage, this is either an archaism that harks back to the second stage, and the meaning is that he is, in Hebrew, a tsaddik a man who is just in the sense that he has all the virtues or what is meant is that the distributions he makes or the punishments he imposes are just. In the modern age, justice is primarily a predicate of punishments and distributions, and the ascription of justice as a virtue to individuals is derivative.

The conception of justice that underlies retributive and distributive justice is the same: distributions and punishments are considered just when each gets what he deserves, and unjust when this is not the case. In other words, justice consists of meting out to men what they deserve. When they are punished because they are held to deserve evil and suffering, one speaks of retributive justice. When what is distributed is good one speaks of distributive justice. I propose to criticize this kind of justice retributive justice in the remainder of this chapter, distributive justice in the next. The notion that distributive justice is better understood as fairness will also be taken up in the next chapter.

The four stages in the development of the idea of justice are not so distinct that one could say when each began and ended. Even when justice was considered the sum of the virtues, giving each what he deserved was often held to be an especially important part of it; and when justice became a particular virtue it came to consist more and more of punishing and rewarding every man in accordance with his


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 deserts. God embodied this kind of justice, and in the Last Judgment it was made manifest to all. But now the fifth stage is upon us: the death of retributive justice.

Retributive justice has been subjected to so much criticism that one might suppose the time had come to say that one should not speak ill of the dead. But the fifth stage, in which we are living, is a time of moral confusion. The aversion to retributive justice is rather sentimental, and even philosophers who find her utterly repugnant still cling to distributive justice as if that were an entirely different matter. They go to great pains to dissociate distributive justice from her ugly sister, who is dying; they speak of distributive justice as if she alone had a right to the name; and they outdo each other in their reverence for her.

Consider two of the most respected moral philosophers in the United States. William Frankena calls retributive justice quite incredible, but considers distributive justice one of the two cardinal moral virtues, along with benevolence. John Rawls writes A Theory of Justice and devotes a single page out of six hundred to retributive justice merely to reject out of hand the notion that it is the opposite of distributive justice. This page is not marked by the subtlety that distinguishes much of the rest of the book: A propensity to commit such acts [i.e., 'acts proscribed by penal statutes'] is a mark of bad character, and in a just society legal punishments will only fall upon those who display these faults. I shall argue that punishment should be dissociated completely from any judgment of character. Rawls is not arguing at all at this point: he is merely trying to dismiss retributive justice. But as long as retributive justice is ignored, the nature of justice can hardly be understood.

I want to do my best to usher in stage six: the death of distributive justice. To accomplish that, one must begin at the stage in which we live now, the fifth, and consider the death of retributive justice first. For the case against distributive justice closely parallels that against retributive justice. The faith in retributive justice is going fast; and distributive justice cannot long survive the death of her Siamese twin.


In the Old Testament and the New, in Judaism and Christianity as well as Hinduism, retributive justice has always been of the essence of justice, and it has actually tended to overshadow distributive justice. To this day, the claim that justice has been done brings to mind punishment first of all, and the phrase justice demands . . . is as often completed with a specific penalty as it is with something good. Gods justice was always held to consist in large measure of his punishment of the wicked. That so many


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 evildoers flourished raised doubts about Gods justice, but eventually the justice of God would be made manifest to all as each received what he deserved. Human justice was held to consist of an emulation of the divine judgment, and it was often very cruel indeed.

Rawls insists on his own Kantianism but quite overlooks that even in the Philosophy of Right (Rechtslehre, 1797), which has been translated into English under the title The Metaphysical Elements of Justice, Kant hardly ever speaks of justice (Gerechtigkeit), except in the section on punishment For him justice meant pre-eminently retributive justice. He did not even speak of justice when in his postulate of Gods existence (1788) he implicitly demanded distributive justice in the hereafter.

Hegel also published a Philosophy of Right without ever discussing justice at any length; and he, too, found justice above all in punishment. Distributive justice has never held the place in German moral philosophy that it obtained in British and American ethics. Karl Marx stood squarely in the German tradition and pleaded not for distributive justice (Robert Tucker has shown this conclusively) but for selfrealization and, in a sense, autonomy. (I shall return to Marx in the chapter on alienation; for what he fought against was not distributive injustice but alienation.) The modem liberal champions of distributive justice tend to ignore retributive justice, but before our own time almost everybody except David Hume recognized that retributive justice was of the essence of justice.

This recognition was by no means confined to Catholics, Calvinists, and Kants heirs. Take Thomas Jefferson, the very model of an enlightened opponent of Calvinism and Catholicism. When Napoleon was in St. Helena, Jefferson said of him, in a letter:

The penance he is now doing for all his atrocities must be soothing to every virtuous heart. It proves that we have a god in heaven. That he is just, and not careless of what passes in this world. And We cannot but wish to this inhuman wretch, a long, long life, that time as well as intensity may fill up his sufferings to the measure of his enormities. But indeed what sufferings can atone for his crimes . . . !

The final exclamation suggests the limits, if not the absurdity, of the dream of proportionality. Yet the notion that justice is done only when every crime is punished proportionately is extremely widespread. Jefferson shows this, too. In his First Inaugural Address he proposed Equal and exact [!] justice to all men. To his mind this did not entail the abolition of slavery. But he had spelled out some of his relevant ideas in 1779 in A Bill for Proportioning Crimes and Punishments, which ends: Slaves guilty of any


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 offence punishable in others by labor in the public works, shall be transported to such parts in the West Indies, South America, or Africa, as the Governor shall direct, there to be continued in slavery.

In Jeffersons Bill, petty treason and murder are to be punished by death, and Whosoever committeth murder by poisoning shall suffer death by poison. Whosoever shall be guilty of rape, polygamy, or sodomy with man or woman, shall be punished, if a man, by castration, if a woman, by cutting through the cartilage of her nose a hole of one half inch in diameter at the least. And

Whosoever on purpose, and of malice forethought, shall maim another, or shall disfigure him, by cutting out or disabling the tongue, slitting or cutting of a nose, lip, or ear, branding, or otherwise, shall be maimed, or disfigured in like sort: or if that cannot be, for want of the same part, then as nearly as may be, in some other part of at least equal value and estimation, in the opinion of the jury, and moreover shall forfeit one half of his lands and goods to the sufferer.

Many people nowadays associate an eye for an eye with the Old Testament, and many liberals believe that this conception of justice was transcended in the New Testament. Often one goes on to associate the former with justice and the latter with love, and one contrasts the laws of Moses not with the laws of the Christian Middle Ages, some two thousand years later, or with the laws of Christian countries in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but with the most edifying dicta about personal conduct in the Sermon on the Mount. Yet this Sermon is studded with promises of rewards and punishments, and the Gospels are punctuated by threats of judgment, damnation, and hell. It is also in the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus offers the classical formulation of a notion of justice that embraces retribution as well as distribution: the measure you give, shall be the measure you get. But the distinctive conception of justice in the New Testament is that on the day of judgment few will be saved from eternal torment. The idea that any man not even to speak of most of mankind should be punished with eternal torture is so repugnant to liberals that millions refuse to acknowledge its presence where it stares them in the face.

A typical liberal reaction to Jeffersons Bill for Proportioning Crimes and Punishments would be to consider it a relapse into Mosaic cruelties. It would be less out of touch with historical fact and Jeffersons spirit to see it as an advance over the cruelty of his own time and of the Gospels.



Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

In eighteenth-century England the punishment for treason began with hanging; then the offender was taken down while still alive and his entrails were cut out and burned before his eyes; and then he was beheaded and quartered. In 1694 an attainder for treason was reversed by the Kings Bench after a man had been duly drawn, hanged, and quartered because the judge, after saying that the traitors entrails were to be cut out, had omitted the words and burned while he is still alive. To rule that this phrase could be left out because a man would scarcely survive after his entrails were cut from his belly, said the Kings Bench, would make judgments in high treason . . . discretionary, which indeed is only a softer word for arbitrary.

This might invite all kinds of decisions, including a Jewish judgment, that the offender should be stoned to death; or a Turkish judgment, that he should be strangled; . . .or a French judgment, that he should be broken on the wheel. . .

In France two men were broken on the wheel for petty theft as late as 1770; one had stolen a piece of cheese. In England, a nine-year-old child was sentenced to death in 1832 for smashing a window and stealing two-pence worth of paint. It was only in 1837 that two hundred offences hitherto punishable by death ceased to be capital crimes in England.

Paul Reiwald is right when he says:

Men were not even able to confine themselves to the law of talio, the law of eye for eye, tooth for tooth, which seems so primitive and barbarous to us. In truth, the principle of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, with which the Jews are occasionally reproached to this day because it is held to be typical of their God of vengeance, belongs with the great and decisive advances of humanity, as is now generally recognized in the world of scholarship.

Reiwald is also right when he says in his discussion of medieval punishments: The barrier of the lex talionis is torn down. Compared to what was actually done, its application would have signified gentle mercy.

As for the Gospels, consider how Jesus comforted his disciples: 36

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

If anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town. Behold I send you 01.&, as sheep in the midst of wolves . . .

But these lambs pack some clout! Anyone who does not care to listen to their preaching will be punished worse than the most notorious evildoers of all time. It is of the essence of liberal Christianity that it feels sure without any need for evidence that Jesus did not really say this and that Matthew and Luke must have misquoted him. That there are many similar passages, also in the other two Gospels, one does not recall any more than one remembered these sentences. Whatever the evidence, one simply knows that Jesus did not say any such thing.

There is a Manichaean streak in the Gospels: the enemy is beyond the protection of proportionality. If he will not listen, the worst punishment is still too good for him. Liberals are appalled by such cruelty and favor a sense of proportion, certainly as far as rewards are concerned; but when it comes to punishment, they are confused. It certainly should not be disproportionate. But liberals prefer to think of justice as having nothing to do with anything as unpleasant as punishment. In one context they uphold the superiority of love and speak of justice as transcended by Christianity. In another, they are all for justice and associate it with causes they believe in. In short, many are against retributive justice but for distributive justice.

It would make no sense to saddle either the New Testament or the Kings Bench in England or the lawmakers of the Middle Ages with moral rationalism. Here we are still in the realm of religion with Gods awesome justice as the model. But some of the men of the Enlightenment sought to counter the inhumanity of their Christian predecessors with appeals to reason. They thought that retributive justice had a mathematical quality and that murder called for capital punishment in much the same way in which two plus two equals four.

Not only Jefferson tried to find proportionate punishments for other crimes. In a similar spirit, Kant tried to prove that reason requires thieves to be sentenced to forced labor in a penitentiary:


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Whoever steals makes everybody elses property insecure; he thus robs himself (in accordance with the law of retribution) of the security of all possible property; he has nothing nor can acquire anything but still wants to live, which is not possible unless others feed him. But since the state will not do this for nothing, he has to place his powers at the disposal of the state for whatever labor it deems fit . . .

Such sophistry is the direct consequence of the attempt to approximate morality to mathematics: What kind and what degree of punishment does public justice adopt as a principle and standard? None other than the principle of equality (the little tongue of the scales of justice) . . . Against those who even in Kants time were arguing against capital punishment he insists:

Even if civil society were to dissolve with the full agreement of all its members (e.g., a people on an island resolved to scatter over all the world), the last murderer still confined in prison would first have to be executed in order that everybody received what his deeds deserved, lest a blood guilt should stick to the people that had not insisted on this penalty . . .

Most modern readers will find this as uncongenial as Jeffersons Bill for Proportioning Crimes and Punishments. Those who revere Kant or Jefferson will find much of this downright embarrassing. Why? Because the faith in retributive justice is all but dead. What are the causes of its death? The answer to this question will also show why today, for the first time in human history, autonomy has become a live option for millions.


The first phase of the movement that is leading to the death of justice might be called moral skepticism. This could be traced back to the Greeks; Plato could be seen as a reaction to it, and Christianity as a great countermovement. But for our purposes it will suffice to consider the familiar resurgence of moral skepticism in the modern era. This development is so well known that we need only recall very briefly a few of its major elements. First, religion lost its authority in moral matters for most of mankind. Then, the habit of considering alternatives and weighing pros and cons spread with the rise of modern science; and when this approach is applied to moral claims, the result is moral skepticism. The development of comparative sociology and anthropology has done its share to make this explicit. So has the study of comparative religion this, too, is a way of considering alternatives in spite of the last-ditch holy lie of some decidophobes that all the great religious teachers taught the same morality.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

On another plane, it has become more and more unusual for all the children in a family to stay in the town where they were born. People are exposed to different environments and mores. Tens of millions have been uprooted and moved since World War II, and vast numbers have left farms and villages and small towns for big cities. Travel has also proliferated; hitherto isolated people who are far too poor to travel are suddenly brought face to face with foreigners; and magazines, films, radio, and television have done their share to expose men to different value systems.

Our moral philosophers have on the whole been more conservative than many of their students. It makes a difference if one has grown up in a relatively stable environment, under the tutelage of parents and teachers who were still closer to absolutism. Those who grew up after Auschwitz and Nagasaki cannot recall a normal, stable world. That many students became Manichaeans in the 1960s and reverted to a form of moral absolutism in some cases, moral rationalism was due to the fact that they had traveled further down the road of skepticism and had reached nihilism and despair. The wars in Vietnam and Algeria and the slaughter in India and Pakistan, in the Congo, Indonesia, and Nigeria, and the worlds reaction, made a mockery of the morality to which Western societies as well Asian and African governments paid lip service. These vast atrocities and the numbing anonymity of metropolitan life had contributed to a desperate sense of futility. Many had gone beyond moral skepticism into moral nihilism: from the reasonable position that whatever we do is not likely to make any difference a thousand years hence, they inferred fallaciously that it therefore made no difference not even now. It was from this nihilistic despair that some students sought salvation in a new absolutism.

Skepticism about natural law is implicit in moral skepticism. The very concept of natural law is not widely familiar philosophers, theologians, and lawyers know it; few others do. Not only is the term mildly esoteric, but the idea that a single moral law is binding for all men, regardless of time and place, lost its plausibility as moral skepticism spread. Few except Catholics still cling to this notion, and fewer and fewer Catholics do. Even many Catholic theologians now defend the Inquisition by saying that it was justified in its time but would not be justifiable today.

The man who did most to promote skepticism about positive law the law actually in force in a state was Hitler. The war crimes trials from Nuremberg to Jerusalem convinced millions that obedience to the laws of the state in which one lives is by no means always ones duty. What a few had learned earlier from Sophocles Antigone, Tolstoy, Thoreau, or Gandhi, millions learned from these trials. Some learned it directly, as it were; but there was no lack of mentors.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 One of the most influential of these was Sartre. During the Algerian War he kept exhorting intellectuals to speak out and defy their government. He reached an international constituency. At the same time Martin Luther Kings civil disobedience campaign in the American South did its share to shake the faith in positive law. King had taken his doctorate in philosophy, but again it would be misleading to understand the change in attitude in purely intellectual terms. In the United States, for example, the Draconic laws against possession of marijuana and other drugs carried masses of young people beyond skepticism about law into downright contempt for law. The prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s had had a similar effect. But the constellation of incomparably more severe penalties with the civil rights struggle and opposition to the war in Vietnam made this new contempt far more impassioned.

In time, moral skepticism will be seen to entail doubts about justice, but so far skepticism about distributive justice is not yet widespread at all. Why, then, is retributive justice dying? In addition to the historical developments summarized here, three major points are worth stressing.


First, attitudes towards criminals have changed to the point where the demand not to hate them but to remain mindful of their humanity no longer sounds utopian. This change is due in no small measure to some nineteenth-century novelists. Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo come to mind along with Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. Their depiction of suffering was nothing new, and the image of prison conditions in the nineteenth-century novel is no more cruel than much that can be found in earlier literature, including Dantes Inferno. What is distinctive is the novelists attitude toward these conditions and the sympathy for the criminals that is evoked in the reader. The culmination of this movement is reached at the turn of the century in Tolstoys Resurrection, the novel for which he was excommunicated by the Orthodox Church in 1901.

Second, we have developed a kind of second sight. To say that we have become more perceptive in psychological matters would be an understatement, not because our age is so perceptive, which it is not, but rather because the psychological obtuseness that prevailed until quite recently is almost unbelievable. Again, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy deserve much of the credit for this change, along with Nietzsche and, above all, Freud.

To tear down the wall that respectable people had built up between themselves and those who were abnormal, these writers approached it from two sides. Unlike Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, Freud did not think much of the dictum that one ought to love ones enemies, but far more than any Christian saint or


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 theologian, he showed that our enemies, and criminals for that matter, were not essentially different from ourselves. One did not have to accept his theories in detail to be strongly affected by this implication of his work.

The other approach to the wall is much less obvious. In Paul W. Tappans massive standard text on Crime, Justice and Correction, for example, all ten references to Freud (in seven hundred fifty pages) concern the light he shed on criminals. But Freud like Nietzsche, whom Tappan does not mention at all also turned a searchlight on respectable society, illuminating the unedifying motives that come to the fore in punishment. Not only is the criminal a human being like you, but you, alas, are like the criminal.

It is not surprising that this insight is much less popular than the first approach, which goes so well with the liberal faith in humanity. But even where this second approach is not accepted explicitly, it has come to color our way of thinking. When one reads a typical defense of retributive justice by a nineteenthcentury philosopher who claims that Indignation against wrong done to another has nothing in common with a desire to revenge a wrong done to ourself, one is struck by its psychological navet. Philosophers, to be sure, always have a tendency to stick to words and thrive on neat conceptual distinctions, but after Freud even a philosopher may be pardoned for asking how indignation against wrong done to another looks in practice.

Consider the institution of the pillory. The following report from the British Morning Herald of January 28, 1804, is typical:

The enormity of Thomas Scotts offence, in endeavouring to accuse Captain Kennah, a respectable officer, together with his servant, of robbery, having attracted much public notice, his conviction, that followed the attempt, could not be but gratifying to all lovers of justice. Yesterday, the culprit underwent a part of his punishment: he was placed in the pillory, at Charing Cross, for one hour. On his first appearance, he was greeted by a large mob with a discharge of small shot, such as rotten eggs, filth, and dirt from the streets, which was followed up by dead cats, rats, etc., which had been collected in the vicinity of the Metropolis by the boys in the morning. . . .

Here we see indignation against wrong done to another in action. Of course, such indignation does not always look like this, and soon I shall analyze the various functions of punishment. But what I have quoted is not an odd item about the behavior of a crowd that has got out of hand; it is rather a


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 representative description of a form of punishment that was quite popular for a long time. Why are we unconvinced by all attempts to prove that what was meted out to Thomas Scott was exact justice? He had endeavored to undermine respect for Captain Kennah; now he was subjected to loss of respect. Similar arguments could be offered for other Curious Punishments of Bygone Days, to cite the title of a book by Alice Morse Earle (1896) which is set in America. Her chapter headings give some idea of the contents: the ducking stool, the stocks, the pillory, the whipping post, the scarlet letter, branks and gags, branding and maiming. Branks were an iron frame placed over a womans head, with a sharp metal bit entering the mouth, and were used to punish scolds. One would not need the subtle ingenuity of Kant to show that this punishment was in a way appropriate and not by any means completely disproportionate; and yet few readers nowadays would concede that simple justice demanded it. Why not?

Or consider one of the oddest passages in Curious Punishments: Truly long hair and wigs had their ulterior uses in colonial days when ear-cropping was thus rife. . . . Life was dull and cramped in those days, but there were diversions; when the breeze might lift the locks from your friends or lovers cheek and give a glimpse of ghastly hole instead of an ear. . . (sic). Or this: One woman at the whipping post created much amusement by her resistance. We do not even ask for what crimes ear-cropping or whipping might be proportionate, though it stands to reason that a Jefferson or Kant might have come up with a thoughtful answer. Why?

The answer to these questions has been given above: skepticism about positive law, sympathy for and even identification with the criminal, and a horror of the unedifying motives that find expression in punishment. But one final point may help to illuminate the other developments considered here. The death of retributive justice is linked to the death of God. As long as men believed in the Last Judgment and in hell, they could hardly question retributive justice. Pope Pius XII made this point plainly and emphatically when he addressed the Sixth International Congress of Penal Law, October 3, 1953: Against modern theories that fail to consider expiation of the crime committed. . . as the most important function of punishment he cited Matthew 16:27 and Romans 2:6 and 13:4, concluding:

The function of protection disappears completely in the after-life. The Omnipotent and All-Knowing Creator can always prevent the repetition of a crime by the interior moral conversion of the delinquent. But the supreme Judge, in His Last Judgment, applies uniquely the principle of retribution. This, then, must be of great importance.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 As long as traditional Christianity flourished, retributive justice did, too. When the faith in hell and the Last Judgment lost its grip, Jefferson and Kant, as well as other writers, still tried to save the faith in retributive justice by providing a new, rationalist foundation for it. While men still had the old religious faith in their bones, such efforts seemed to have some plausibility; but no more. Millions realize that neither God nor reason has determined once and for all what each person deserves and that it is up to us to weigh alternatives and to make difficult decisions.


To decide whether and when punishment is needed, one must first of all be clear about what precisely punishment is and what its functions are. It is such a familiar institution that most people never realize how subtle it is.

Punishment involves at least two persons (call them A and B) and two acts. A holds a position of authority in relation to B, claims that B has done some wrong, and by virtue of his authority causes something unpleasant to happen to B in return for (as a punishment for) this claimed wrong. This is what is meant by punishment. If A does not claim that B has done some wrong, one speaks of maltreatment or torture, not of punishment; and if A does not hold a position of authority one speaks of revenge.

B could be an animal, but only if A treats B more or less as a person. Thus B could well be a dog or a cat; but we do not call it punishment when we kill a mosquito that has just bitten us. If A and B are one and the same person and we say, Why do you keep punishing yourself? we are using the term figuratively but still in a manner that is wholly consistent with our explication: B assumes the role of A and punishes himself. Finally, A could be a deity who in that case would act more or less like a person specifically, like a father, a judge, or possibly a teacher.

What is the purpose of this institution of punishment? It is encountered in many, if not all, societies and is used not only by political authorities but also by parents and teachers and even in games. Its ubiquity makes a mockery of any search for the purpose, as if there were always one purpose only, the same everywhere. In different societies, contexts, and ages, punishment served various functions. Its entertainment value was more important in some places than in others. But the desire to see justice done, to do to the offender what he deserved, was never the primary reason for instituting punishments. The primary purpose of proclaiming a penal code is to prevent some evil. But this does not mean that the penalties are intended solely for deterrence. In Deuteronomy 19, eye for eye is actually


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 introduced: The rest shall hear and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil in your midst. Deterrence is very important indeed, but often understood far too narrowly.

A penal code deters people from committing crimes not only (1) by engendering fear but also (2) by inculcating a moral sense. A trivial penalty (say, a five cent fine) suggests that an offense is trivial, while a severe penalty conveys the sense that the crime for which it is decreed is grave. The code may also deter people simply (3) by informing them of what is forbidden. At first glance, it may seem to be overly subtle to distinguish this function from the first two. In fact, in many cases one is neither frightened nor led to feel that anything is immoral, and it is quite common for people to know that certain acts are forbidden without having any idea what penalties have been decreed for offenders. In such cases the third function is in evidence, but not the first two. But crimes occur in spite of all this, and the penalties are intended to undo, or at least to minimize, the damage. How?

4. By preventing private vengeance, lynchings, and a general breakdown of order. Often the offense injured others who, in the absence of a penal code, might have taken the law into their own hands.

5. By seeing to it that the breaking of a law does not become an invitation to other men to emulate the lawbreaker. The punishment is meant to deter others and thus to re-enforce the code. The offender has weakened the law and come close to annulling its deterrent effect; now the punishment is meant to undo this negative consequence and thus to restore the deterrent effect.

6. By providing a safety valve for the unlawful desires that smolder below the surface and are fanned to the danger point by the commission of a crime. Many people have wanted to do what the criminal did but were kept from doing it by the law or by their conscience. Now he makes them look silly; they were timid, he was bold; they were weak, and he was strong if he gets away with it. And he seems to have gotten away with it. Hence many people are burning to de what he did. The penal code provides an outlet for this criminal desire. He has killed someone, and now you many of you also want to kill? All right; kill him! He has maimed someone, and now many of you also want to maim someone? All right; maim him! Thus the desire for talion for doing to the criminal what he has done to someone else does not evidence any profound sense of justice or a primordial conviction that this is clearly what the criminal deserves.

These last three functions (4-6) interpenetrate. But the desire to proportion punishments to crimes is not born of the feeling that anything less than this would not be justice; it represents an attempt as in Jeffersons case to keep cruelty in bounds. For as soon as people are invited to vent their criminal


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 desires on the criminal, the same dangers reappear that we have just considered (under 4 and 5): as long as he is to be killed in any case, why merely kill him? Why not. hang him first, then take him down alive, cut out his entrails. . . Why not have an orgy? Historically, the call for talion has generally signified a great advance over wanton cruelty (see page 44 above).

The fourth and fifth functions still come under the heading of deterrence. The sixth might be called cathartic, to use an ugly word for an ugly fact. Punishment purges the society not, as often claimed, by removing some mythical pollution, but in a more palpable psychological sense. The purge, of course, affords only temporary relief, and unfortunately there is evidence that it is addictive. But this function of punishment has often been mistaken for a demand for retributive justice.

The traditional distinction between three functions of punishment deterrence, reform, and retribution is not subtle enough. One should distinguish ten functions four more in addition to the six considered so far.

7. Punishment is often justified as a means of reforming the offender. Thus a child is punished to teach him a lesson and to make him a better person. Lawbreakers have been pilloried, whipped, sent to prison, branded, maimed, and fined to re-educate them. Hardly solely for that purpose, but we need not doubt that this was often held to be one aim of punishment and more rarely also one function of punishment.

8. Recompense or restitution is scarcely a punishment as long as it is merely a matter of returning stolen goods or money. But suppose one has insulted another person and is required to make a public apology, or one has to make up to someone else some other form of humiliation, inconvenience, or suffering. When the offender is humiliated, inconvenienced, or made to suffer in turn because this is held to be some recompense for the offended party, we enter the realm of punishment. Similarly, when it is claimed that the lawbreaker has harmed society and must now pay his debt to society, recompense is invoked as the purpose of punishment. The point is not that the offender deserves to suffer; it is rather that the offended party desires compensation. Again, the various functions often interpenetrate.

9. Expiation is also a form of recompense, but here the underlying idea is that some god has been offended and must be appeased. The notion of expiation depends on religious beliefs and makes no sense apart from them. Here I am sticking closely to the traditional meaning of expiation. If it were objected that the notion also makes sense in relation to a sovereign, a parent, or anyone at all who sees himself as standing in Gods place, I should say that such cases are best included under number 8.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

10. Finally, there is the claim that justice requires retribution, and that justice is done when, and only when, the offender is punished: he deserves to be punished, and until he actually is punished he fails to get what he deserves. This claim, which figures prominently in the rhetoric about punishment, is open to several criticisms:

a. The notion of desert is questionable and will be criticized at length in the next two chapters.

b. The first seven functions are clearly future-oriented. The eighth (recompense) is at least partly futureoriented, but it also hinges on the notion of desert. The ninth (expiation) is a variant of the eighth that introduces the supernatural. But retribution is past-oriented. This contrast of two orientations and my objections to any such fixation on the past will be developed in the chapter on guilt. Specifically, this claim (10) is frequently based on the conviction that a past event needs to be and can be undone. This is a superstition. The past is not a blackboard, punishments are not erasers, and the slate can never be wiped clean: what is done is done and cannot be undone.

c. The intuitive certainty that nevertheless often accompanies the belief that an offender fails to get what he deserves until he is punished will be explained in the chapter on the birth of guilt and justice.


The decidophobe loves retributive justice because she tells him precisely what is to be done: wrongdoing must be punished, and there is one penalty that is just and therefore mandatory. But I say:

1. Punishments can never be just.

2. Even if a punishment could be proportionate, it would not follow that it ought to be imposed.

3. The preoccupation with retributive justice is inhumane.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 The first thesis means that a punishment can never be deserved or who11y proportionate. If the nineyear-old child sentenced to death in 1832 for smashing a window and stealing two-pence worth of paint had actually done these things, and if the penalty conformed with precedent and custom, that would not entail that the punishment was deserved and just. The same goes for a man broken on the wheel for stealing a piece of cheese.

Jefferson plainly felt that at least some of the punishments provided in existing penal codes were unjust; but he believed in the possibility of proportioning crimes and punishments. To be just, a punishment must satisfy three conditions: the accusation must be proved; the punishment must accord with precedent and custom; and the punishment must be proportioned to the crime. Our clear sense that some punishments are outrageous even though they satisfy the first two conditions results from the feeling that they seem out of all proportion to the crime. (One could introduce further complications by stipulating how the accusation must be proved; for example, in accordance with established procedure, without recourse to torture, and so forth. But this would take us too far afield.)

The first two conditions concern particular instances of punishment. The third condition, proportionality, concerns the penal law and is far more interesting. The crucial point is that the admission that some punishments are cruel and unusual does not commit one to the view that for every crime or even any crime there is a proportionate and hence deserved and just penalty. Indeed, it seems very plain that for some crimes there is not, and I shall try to show in the next chapter that there is no just punishment for any crime.

To begin with crimes for which there is clearly no proportionate punishment: how could one possibly establish what a man deserves for seducing a child, for raping a child, or for arson or treason? The question of how one should deal with such crimes calls for excruciating decisions. The moral rationalist avoids the frightening task of weighing alternatives; he claims that reason demands such and such a penalty, backs up his claim with a proof a la Kant, and shuts his eyes to objections and alternatives. The moral irrationalist relies on authority, most likely on Gods revelation or the law, and then engages at most in exegetical thinking. The autonomous human being uses his reason to eliminate various alternatives, but finds that after this he is still left with several tenable positions between which he must make a choice. He may have little doubt that his choice is better than many that are clearly inferior, but he will not have the arrogance to claim that the penalty he chooses is the one that is proportionate, deserved, and just.

This question about desert is as difficult as it is important. It is as relevant to distributive justice as it is to retributive justice, and I shall deal with it more fully in the next chapter.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973


When Adolf Eichmann was kidnapped to stand trial, a truthful verdict was possible, a just punishment was not. Still, a punishment can be more or less inappropriate. Thinking in terms of degrees like this is anathema to the Manichaean, who likes to insist that a punishment is either just or unjust. He dreads being confused by multiple choices. Putting a child to death for stealing two-pence worth of paint may be crueler than cutting off its right arm, and perhaps giving it two hundred lashes is not quite as outrageous as maiming it, but it is hardly just. Fining the child a shilling and then getting it a job at which it can earn that much might make more sense. But is that what the child deserves, or might one find a preferable penalty?

Thinking in degrees of just and unjust is actually still far too Manichaean. Such one-dimensional thinking assumes that all possibilities can be arranged in a single sequence, on a linear scale. In fact, there are countless variables and endless possibilities.

The child was accused of a petty crime. Now consider Eichmann. Visiting on Hitlers leading henchmen at least some of the tortures to which they had subjected millions of people, and all but putting to death these mass murderers again and again would have been more proportionate to their crimes than hanging them. But the punishment that is more proportionate and more nearly deserved is not necessarily preferable even on purely moral grounds. That is the point of my second thesis.

This thesis cannot be proved. The best way to back it up is to consider concrete cases, like those of Eichmann or, better yet, Hitler and Himmler, Stalin and Beria, and to ask whether the more nearly proportionate punishment for their systematic mass tortures and mass murders would necessarily be preferable. Those whose moral sense was formed by the doctrine of hell may say yes. Nevertheless, some intuitive grasp of my thesis is almost as old as criminal justice itself: justice is sometimes tempered by mercy, and there is the sovereigns right to pardon.

This traditional way of taking my point into account is, however, utterly inadequate. It gives expression to a deep confusion. Selective mercy and selective pardon raise grave doubts about the cases in which it is claimed that justice has been done. They call into question the claim that in cases where mercy does not come into play justice was done.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Consider St. Augustines claim that all men deserve damnation; that God elects a few for salvation although they do not deserve it; and that the damned cannot complain that God is unjust. After all, says the saint, nobody is punished worse than he deserves, and the fact that a few fare better than they deserve merely shows the infinite mercy of God.

Such reasoning is specious. First, such arbitrary inequality of treatment is what philosophers call a paradigm case of injustice. For it is a necessary, though not a sufficient, condition of just treatment that like cases are treated alike. Second, Augustines God exemplifies anything but infinite mercy. In connection with this last point, consider Dante, whose concern with proportioning punishments to crimes was second to no mans. He gave the most beautiful and eloquent expression to the traditional Christian view of justice. In his sublime inscription over the gate to the inferno he stressed the eternity of suffering the word eternal recurs three times in the nine lines before concluding:

Abandon, as you enter, every hope.

But it is the central triplet about hell that requires comment here:

Justice moved my Architect above, What made me was divine Omnipotence, The highest Wisdom and the Primal Love.

The power of Dantes poetry in the original Italian evokes admiration, and almost twenty centuries of Christian teaching have helped to keep most readers from being struck by the enormity of this incredible perversion of the meaning of justice and love. The only parallel that comes to mind is bound to sound like blasphemy, but it requires some shock to awaken those who are not shocked by Dantes lines and by the Christian view. Over the gate of Auschwitz those who entered saw the words: Arbeit macht frei work liberates.

One can still wander about this camp for hours, walk through barracks, stare at mountains of shoes and hair, at ovens, and then see those words when leaving. Those who take language lightly and have no love for words may feel that this inscription adds nothing to the horror. Yet it is the ultimate in brazen cynicism and dishonesty a final, almost unbelievable, affront.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

The whole Third Reich lasted barely more than twelve years, Auschwitz only about three a drop in the bucket compared to the eternal torments of hell. But what on earth could one liken to the Christian hell if not a concentration camp? And what to the Auschwitz inscription if not the infinitely more fateful claim that eternal tortures are compatible with, and were actually devised by, the greatest love that ever was and by justice?

Augustines and Dantes God does not really treat the mass of men in accordance with their deserts. But as long as men believed that he did and that this meant that eternal torments awaited most men after death, it made good sense to torture men for a few days or weeks if need be to save them from hell and to silence all who might endanger the faith and salvation of their fellow men.


These reflections on Dante lead to my third thesis, that the preoccupation with retributive justice is inhumane. But my analysis of the functions of punishment shows that this thesis does not entail any demand for the abolition of punishment. Punishments are needed, invocations of justice are not.

In deciding what to punish and how to punish, we should banish from our minds the chimaera of justice. The suggestion made by Rawls that in a just society legal punishments will only fall upon those who have a bad character is ill considered. Having a bad character is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition of being punished legally even in a morally admirable society. It makes sense to punish people for parking violations, but it does not make sense to insist that those who have violated various parking regulations have thus shown that they are wicked. Parking laws, if sensible, are enacted to make for a better society: they should eliminate or reduce traffic congestion, or insure some turnover of cars to make it possible for many people to visit a certain area. The reason for instituting penalties is that a prohibition that is not backed up by any penalties is generally useless if there is any great temptation to disregard it.

When a person has been duly convicted of a violation of the law and punished in accordance with precedent, it does not follow that he deserved the punishment and that justice was done. He may be a very decent person who has more than enough troubles and ailments as it is, while many people who cause much more suffering to their fellow men go free and flourish. It is bad enough that we cannot


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 dispense with punishments. We do not have to add insult to injury by claiming that the poor man who gets caught receives his just desert. Desert is out of the picture.

Of course, we can and should ask whether the prohibition is reasonable, and whether the penalties provided by the law are reasonable or excessive. The critical evaluation of a law is centered in three questions: What purposes does it serve? Are these purposes good? And does it serve them efficiently?

It is important to be clear about the purposes because the law must be judged in relation to them; and if it serves no purpose, it ought to be abolished. Whether the purposes are good will sometimes be a matter for debate, but debate is futile if it does not come to grips with purposes.

None of these points depends on the relative triviality of the parking illustration. If the purpose of a law were to prevent aggressive wars or the killing of unarmed civilians by armed forces, these aims might well win wide assent, although the definition of aggressive war and the application to specific cases might pose very serious problems. That would still leave the question of efficiency. If there were no penalties, the law would almost certainly be ineffective, but even if it provided stringent penalties, a la Nuremberg, it might still prove ineffective. If the purpose can be agreed on, reasonable discussion should center on the question of how the law can be made effective; how the crimes that we want to prevent can be prevented. Asking about the price one has to pay for probable gains is part of the question of efficiency. But one does not have to fret about what those breaking the law deserve.

It may be objected that if desert is out of the picture no good reason remains for not punishing the innocent. But that is not so, as I shall show in the chapter on guilt.

Jeffersons and Kants quest for the just punishment for various crimes was ill advised, illusory, and inhumane. A man who steals a piece of cheese does not deserve to be broken on the wheel; neither does he deserve forced labor in a penitentiary, as Kant argued. It would be more sensible, fruitful, and humane to ask altogether different questions about penitentiaries; for example, whether the following claims made by two penologists are true:


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Prison as organized today is a real sewer that continually pours into society a flood of pus and contagious germs of a physiological as well as moral kind. It poisons, dulls, depresses, and corrupts. It is a factory that simultaneously produces the tubercular, madmen, and criminals.

A few semesters of prison or penitentiary do more to perfect the professional criminal than years of practical work in freedom.

I cannot here determine to what extent these statements still apply to prisons in various parts of the world. What I have tried to show is this: we cannot dispense with punishments, but we should realize that punishments cannot be just; that a less disproportionate punishment is not always morally preferable; and that the preoccupation with retributive justice is inhumane.


It is widely assumed that the sense of retributive justice the sense that certain crimes clearly call for certain punishments is primordial, instinctive, and universal. It still remains to be shown that this is false. The moral sense of different ages and communities differs very widely, and there could hardly be a better illustration of the fact that conduct viewed with utter horror by one society is frequently enjoined by another than the way in which we ourselves react to the punishments imposed by Europeans and Americans in the not distant past.

On reflection, murder is probably the only crime of which large numbers of people still believe that it is somehow self-evident that it calls for a particular penalty: capital punishment. It is assumed that the feeling that murderers deserve death is inscribed in the hearts of men, and that only modern reformers have forgotten this ancient truth. I shall confine myself to this example and show how wrong this assumption is.

In his study of Primitive Law, A. S. Diamond has shown that all early and what he calls Early Middle Codes punished homicide with fines, and in the many more or less primitive tribes he studied, pecuniary fines for homicide outnumbered capital punishment by a ratio of better than five to one: 73 percent versus 14 percent. In the remaining 13 percent the punishment was also a fine; the slayer had to turn over to the family of the slain a number of persons women, children, or slaves. It is only in Late Middle and Late Codes (including England, 1150 and onwards) that intentional homicide is taken to require capital punishment.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

In his discussion of the old Icelandic saga, Burnt Njal, Diamond quotes the narrator as saying admiringly of one of the heroes: He was a strong man well skilled in arms, and has slain many men, and made no atonement in money for one of them. The same kind of admiration is not uncommon to this day; but the point here is that homicide was considered a purely civil wrong, a matter for the individuals or families affected to avenge or compromise as they think fit. In fact, they always or almost always compromised by the giving and acceptance of an agreed sum of money.

We need not even go that far afield. In the Iliad, Ajax explains how unreasonable he finds Achilles refusal to accept amends for the beautiful slave girl whom Agamemnon has taken away:

Men have accepted a fine from their brothers slayer and even accepted it after a son had been slain, and having paid a great deal, the slayer remains in the country, while the injured mans heart and pride are appeased when he has received the fine.

Our term punishment, like the French punition, comes from the Latin poena, which originally designated the fine that the accused paid to the plaintiff; and poena is a loan word from the Greek the Greek word that Homer uses twice in the passage cited above. The liberal mind was fond of seeing all of human history as a steady progress from primitive cruelty to modem humanity. Seen in this mythical perspective, Hitlers atrocities looked like a scarcely credible throwback into barbarism. In fact, many scholars have come to the conclusion that neither primitive tribes nor antiquity match the cruelty that gradually developed in the penal codes of Christian Europe. Ancient Rome went the same way, though not quite so far, and was far crueler in the end than in early days. In Mexico none of the earlier civilizations matched the cruelty of the last one, that of the Aztecs. And the five books of Moses have no inkling of the Gospels eternal torment or the tortures of the Inquisition.

The last point that still needs to be made about retributive justice can be put into three words: desert is incalculable. Not only is it impossible to measure desert with the sort of precision on which many believers in retributive justice staked their case, but the whole concept of a mans desert is confused


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 and untenable. This claim is as fatal for distributive justice as it is for retributive justice, and I shall deal with it at length in the next chapter. 22

IT REMAINS TO BE SHOWN that distributive justice cannot long survive the death of her Siamese twin. The purpose of this chapter is to hasten her demise. This is no trifling undertaking. Justice has been the heart of traditional morality. Even after the notion that she was the sum of the virtues had been given up, justice did not become merely one of the virtues or nothing but a quality of punishments and distributions. She never lost her old charisma and was still regarded as personifying the objectivity and timelessness of the old morality. In the turbulent flood of human preferences, emotions, and desires, justice was still held to be a rock with precise outlines that defied the ebb and flow of history.

The frightening freedom to choose could be held in bounds as long as there were stable and precise norms. Confronted with a flood of claims, by our fellow men and by our own desires, one could turn to justice and ask her precisely what one owed to each. The death of justice marks the end of the old morality. But it also creates an opening for a new, autonomous morality.

To mount a fatal attack on distributive justice is certainly much harder than to give reasons for clinging to her. Because such an attack ought not to be undertaken lightly, three such reasons should be considered.

The appeal to justice is rhetorically powerful and therefore useful for social reformers. Distributive justice, unlike charity, does not hurt the self-respect of those whom she benefits. And justice seems to be an irreducible principle that cannot be given up without inviting inhumanity.

The last claim is false, as I shall show, and the first two reasons are obviously inconclusive. Many myths and confused notions have their uses, but the question of whether they are true and stand up under critical examination cannot be settled by an appeal to expediency. On the contrary, contentment with confused ideas and misleading myths has bad social consequences that are relevant to the expediency of continued appeals to them. That receiving something good does not hurt ones self-respect if one is told that justice was done and everybody got what he deserved is true and important. But the very same claim adds further humiliation to the plight of those who received little or nothing. Thus it is precisely the claim that justice has been done that is inhumane especially if it can be shown that this claim is false.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

In the last chapter I defended three theses: (1) punishments can never be just; (2) even if a punishment could be proportionate, it would not follow that it ought to be imposed; (3) the preoccupation with retributive justice is inhumane. The present chapter will be devoted largely to a single thesis: (1.a) except for simplistic cases, distributions can never be just. The counterparts of the other two theses about punishment will be touched on briefly.

This concentration on a single thesis should make it possible to offer a tighter argument that will not only dispatch distributive justice but also drive the last nail into the coffin of retributive justice. Justice, I have said, consists of giving each what he deserves. My aim now is to show that desert is incalculable.

Let me dispose of simplistic cases at the start. Suppose you were grading a true-or-false test. There are a hundred questions, and it is understood that one receives one point for every correct answer. It seems easy to give each the mark that he deserves. On reflection, however, the task of scoring this test does not raise any problems of justice; what it calls for is honesty. If you give a student an eighty even though he got half the answers wrong, you are dishonest. You are saying in effect that he got eighty answers right. Here the appeal to justice can be replaced with an appeal to honesty. We can dispense with justice.

Moreover, there is no scarcity in this case; if nobody made any mistake, everybody would score one hundred. For this reason also, no problem of distributive justice is involved.

Now take a slightly more complicated case. Somebody has provided prize money: $100 for the best score, the money to be divided evenly between all who tie for first place. Now there is an element of scarcity: the money available is limited. Still, no problem of distributive justice or desert arises; what is required is honesty, precisely as in the original example. You determine the scores, and everything follows as long as you do not stop to ask about desert. Here is a rich, lazy, and rather stupid troublemaker, who announces as the test starts: This test stinks; Ill just alternate true, false, true, false, all the way down. And he scores one hundred and gets the first prize, provided you do not ask whether he deserves it and whether this is just.

These two examples are simplistic because the reward and the criteria for winning it are clearly stipulated, and there is only one relevant variable: the number of right answers. Consider the parallel case regarding punishment: if all that is required to get the death penalty is a petty theft, then the child


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 who steals two-pence worth of paint may be said to deserve capital punishment; and when the child is executed, justice is done. But in that case we object that the law is inhumane and the child did not deserve the punishment. It makes good sense to say this even though we cannot say what it did deserve.

If the judge has discretion to fix the penalty, we ask whether what he does in this case accords with custom and precedent. If it does, it does not follow that the punishment is just. As we move away from simplistic cases and face up to choices to which many variables may be relevant, we have to decide which are relevant and how much weight to give to each.

In sum, problems of distributive justice arise when scarce resources are to be distributed among several people in accordance with their deserts. As long as there is water enough for all, no problem of justice arises about water. And if desert is out of the picture, so is justice. But we can never say that justice has been done when a person is punished or when a distribution has been made.

Those who feel very attached to distributive justice may protest that she is not at all the Siamese twin of retributive justice they may even hold that the two are only distantly related. One such rescue attempt has won a good deal of attention among philosophers, and will be considered a little more fully later: John Rawlss conception of Justice as Fairness. As I mentioned earlier, retributive justice has no place in his A Theory of Justice. In effect, he does not offer a theory of justice; he develops a theory of fairness, and justice and fairness are not the same thing. Fair procedures do not guarantee a just outcome.

In some cases fair and just are almost synonymous; but each word also has some meanings quite remote from this common area. It is revealing that one of the most characteristic uses of fair is in the phrase fair play; but it would be such a solecism to speak of just play that the sentence this is just play can only mean this is merely play. Why can play be fair but not just? Because fairness is preeminently a quality of procedures and not of results (if a result is called fair, one may wonder whether what is meant is that it is middling), while just is pre-eminently a predicate ascribed to results and specifically to what is meted out. Just, unlike fair, has a note of finality. Thus a trial can be fair but not just. Even if it is fair, the punishment that is imposed may be unjust. The way we proceed to make a distribution can be fair but not just. Even if it is fair, it does not follow that everybody gets his just deserts.



Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

It might seem that distributive justice is really unlike retributive justice because the former always involves several people in addition to the distributor, while punishment need involve only one person besides the judge. But an individual might claim a reward simply because it was promised to him, or to anyone at all, solely for fulfilling one condition that he had in fact fulfilled. This case would be strictly parallel to a situation in which a punishment had been promised to a person, or to anyone at all, provided only that he did a certain thing that he had in fact done.

If it should be said in the former case that this situation is somewhat elliptical and that distributive justice in the full-fledged sense does not come into play until more people enter into the picture and the distributor is forced to compare them, exactly the same is true of retributive justice: as soon as there is a dispute, both sides make comparisons with other cases, past and present.

One difference that is genuine is that problems of retributive justice do not depend on scarcity. But this does not seriously affect my claims. That there are differences, we know. Punishments are predicated on the assumption that they are not desired but nevertheless required for some reason; distributions are predicated on the assumption that something is desired but nevertheless in insufficient supply for some reason. In both cases I make the same claim: the good and the evil men receive cannot be said to be deserved.

We can criticize punishments and distributions on moral grounds without invoking the fiction of just punishments and distributions. What matters is that punishments as well as distributions can be cruel and unusual, capricious, utterly at odds with rules announced beforehand, and defended with dishonest claims and arguments. It does not follow that when none of these strictures applies justice has been done. It is easy to imagine specific cases in which many different punishments or distributions would not be open to any such charge, but it would be absurd to call all of them just. If one did call all of them just, a criminal who received any of these tenable punishments would be told that justice had been done. But suppose that he received one of the harsher punishments when a lighter one would have been tenable, too. Surely, it would be absurd to claim that justice required it. In precisely the same way, a person who received less than he would have received in another distribution that was also tenable could hardly be told that he had received what he deserved, no more and no less.

The fact that many solutions are untenable is not disturbing because what is untenable can be rejected. But that many mutually incompatible solutions are tenable is felt to be profoundly disturbing because this plurality calls for excruciating choices and engenders decidophobia. Having found a tenable position, people like to rest on their laurels and think of themselves as the children of light. But even if their 57

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 solution should be superior to past solutions, this does not mean that all who oppose it are either wrong or downright wicked. The opponents solutions may be tenable, too, and possibly even superior. How much easier life would be if we could claim that justice demands what we favor!

My concern here is with moral rationalism, but my analysis can be extended beyond ethics. Decidophobes assume that if their position is tenable it must also be true. But it is not enough to go out of ones way to consider objections to ones own position; one must also consider alternatives.

It would be simple to make a list of offenses and to defy anyone to say what was the just punishment for each of them: rape, seduction of children, torture, mass murder, espionage, blackmail, embezzlement, fraud. There is really no stopping point because there is no crime at all of which it could be said that those committing it clearly deserve a particular punishment. Similarly, it is quite impossible to say how much income surgeons, lawyers, executives, or miners deserve; or what kind of housing each deserves, or how much free time per day, per week, or per year. It makes no sense to call any particular distribution of such goods among them just.

The basic problem regarding both retributive and distributive justice concerns the code: the decisions about how punishments or scarce resources are to be allotted generally. Once these fateful decisions have been made, it is quite possible that some individual cases present no difficult problems at all if only the code is simple-minded, rigorous, and insensitive. But in such cases it would be obtuse to claim that justice has been done.

Suppose a college can admit only one-fifth of the students applying for admission. (Many Americans believe that this kind of unpleasant competition is a specifically American evil. In fact, this problem is international, and the competition for admission to the University of Tokyo or to the medical school at the University of Teheran is much keener.) It would be preposterous to claim that, say, a thousand, and only a thousand, deserved to be admitted, and that the decision to admit these students, while turning down the rest, was just.

Of course, an objective test, approximating the true-or-false test considered previously, could be made to do the job. The prize would be not $100 but admission: the top thousand would get in. A system rather like that was used in Japan until the students rebelled against it. The system was certainly neat, but could it be said that justice was done and that everybody got what he deserved?


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 The problem is clearly what variables are relevant to desert in such cases, and how many of them are measured how accurately by a test like this. Hence scrupulous adherence to the results of an entrance test does not insure that justice is done.

Incidentally, it is revealing that in the case of rewards, too, there are judges. The parallel between retributive and distributive justice is very close.


What is wrong with the concept of desert? The obvious answer is that it is not clear whether desert should be determined in accordance with ability, need, or merit, or whether all men ought to be treated equally. Instead of immediately examining these traditional notions, I shall first consider seven categories that do not smack of philosophy. The point is not that there are only seven, but seven should suffice to show why one cannot tell in practice what a person deserves.

In many cases some of these seven categories, or at least some of the subheads, would be clearly irrelevant, but it is impossible to restrict desert to only one or two of these categories and to rule out all the others as generally irrelevant. One can say, of course: we choose to disregard them; we concern ourselves with only one. We shall see shortly that even doing that may not enable us at all to say what various members of a group deserve. But in any case, as soon as we do this, others may protest with reason that we have decided, in effect, to ignore what people actually deserve, and that our distribution is therefore unjust.

The first category is what one is. Here one might distinguish what one is by birth and what one is at the time of the distribution. Within each of these subcategories one could then distinguish many subheads. Admittedly, this makes for a rather complex picture, but then the whole point is to bring out how exceedingly and even hopelessly complex the matter is.

Under what one is by birth, it may suffice to mention a few subheads: sex, ethnic group, place of birth, and relationship to the distributor. Treating people differently on account of their sex or ethnic group provides some obvious examples of injustice, but for all that it is far from obvious that these two characteristics are always irrelevant. Some people may feel that they should be; but this is precisely the sort of question that needs to be discussed in specific cases.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

Discrimination against outcastes in India and Blacks in the United States provides clear instances of social injustice, but it does not follow that ethnic group is always irrelevant. On the contrary, in India members of the so-called depressed classes are held to deserve preferred treatment in some cases, such as university admissions, and in the sixties the same practice developed in the United States with regard to Blacks. It is sometimes claimed that this is done merely to offset prior disadvantages, but if that were the case, then it would make little sense to apply it only, or almost only, to untouchables in India and to Blacks in the United States. Why not to Poles, dwarfs, and homosexuals? But this is a big and intricate problem, and it should suffice to note that the main reason for offering preferred treatment to one group is surely that a society is desired in which such a large and readily identifiable class should have something like proportional representation in the higher occupations. Hence members of some ethnic groups are admitted even if they do less well in various ways than students with fairer skins who are rejected. It should be obvious how impossible it is to say, no matter what we do, that justice has been done. As a rule, wrong clashes with greater wrong.

Whether a man is a native Londoner should make no difference in any distribution, one might think. But this accident of birth usually determines ones citizenship and thus also whether one is entitled to the many advantages that accrue to citizens. Relationship to the distributor, finally, is relevant when it comes to inheritances, but not only then. It is generally assumed that a man owes his wife and children something while he is alive, too. The case of the wife brings us to the second subcategory: what one is at the time of distribution. Here one might include to give a few examples age, health, and residence. The second category is what one has. Here one might include property, family, and abilities. All three are often relevant when distributions are made.

The third category is what one does not only at work but also in public life, in ones family, and on ones own.

The fourth category, what one needs, has two subcategories: what one needs for oneself; and what one needs for ones dependents. Both have the same four subheads: for subsistence, for comfort, for a particular project, and for ones optimal development. The great vagueness of these notions will be considered soon.

The fifth category, what one desires, is ignored in most discussions. This category is clearly relevant in many cases, however, unless we assume that a person often deserves something as a reward although he does not desire it at all.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

The sixth category is what one has contracted. If one has received a formal contract or a promise, or even if there is room for debate as to whether there was an implicit promise, this category is clearly relevant. If an employee took a job with the understanding that he would receive a certain salary, or annual raises of $1,000, such commitments cannot be ignored when the money is actually allocated.

Finally, there is the seventh category: what one has done. At least one of the seven should be considered in more detail, and I shall concentrate on this one. Without much trouble, one can subdivide it into seven subcategories, e.g., education, military service, civilian jobs (kinds, length of time, achievements), public services and offices, extracurricular accomplishments (including lives saved or publications and prizes that do not fall under the heading of achievements in ones job), sufferings (since one may deserve compensation for them), and crimes.


Suppose you had to decide about salary raises for five assistant professors, and the sum available were only $3,000. Chances are that in one or two cases a decision must simultaneously be made as to whether to reappoint, promote, or offer a terminal appointment. Some of the points considered above under various categories are clearly irrelevant, while age, abilities, and need might be judged relevant, and promises would certainly have to be taken into account. One might debate which of the seven subcategories under what one has done ought to be considered in this case and how they should be weighted, but the decision is difficult enough even if you confine your attention to a single subhead under one of them: achievements in civilian jobs. To make things still simpler, disregard all jobs except that of being a faculty member and proceed as if it made no difference whatsoever that one is thirty and another fifty; one is a bachelor, while another has nine children; one is a millionaire, another total1y dependent on his salary; one has served the government with rare distinction; another has heroical1y saved twenty lives. If you took all that into account, how could you possibly say in the end that each had got what he deserved?

Even if you try only to assess their achievements in their present profession, a further breakdown is needed. There is (a) teaching; and here you must further distinguish (i) levels and (ii) techniques. Somebody may be very popular at the introductory level but poor in more advanced courses, and impossible as a teacher of graduate students. Another professor may be highly respected by a few graduate students who share his interests, but an almost total loss with underclassmen. Under techniques one might profitably distinguish lecturing, conducting discussions, and supervising independent work. 61

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

Then there are (b) publications. It would be nave to suppose that here we have to deal with only two variables: quantity and quality. In a letter of recommendation for a Fulbright professorship, a dean once wrote about a candidate: during the past year he has published five times. This is ridiculous even as a purely quantitative measure. Five short book reviews, each about a page in length, would constitute five items; and a book of seven hundred pages, one. Even so, quantity is one variable that has to be considered, but it is not easy to measure. Counting pages or words would be rather crude. Still, it is possible to distinguish between people who have published nothing, very little, and a lot.

From (i) quantity, you proceed to (ii) levels, meaning much the same as under teaching. That leaves the question of quality. Here you might distinguish (iii) initial reception, such as printed reviews, (iv) actual impact, and (v) probable long-range importance. A book might have met with a glowing reception without ever having had any perceptible impact, not to speak of lasting significance. Other books have entered the world with doves feet, like some of Nietzsches books, or fallen dead-born from the press, like David Humes Treatise, and eventually have changed our way of thinking.

Teaching and publications are the most obviously relevant achievements in deciding about the five assistant professors. But in the absence of important publications, especially when the question is one of reappointing or promoting an assistant professor or letting him go, one might also consider (c) unpublished research. A book review may get published relatively fast, while a major work may be slow to appear in print; it may be years in the writing; then a publisher may send it to referees who take their time before making recommendations; and after accepting the book, the publisher may still take a year to bring it out. Moreover, it might be better if fewer schools made a fetish of publications; after all, a teacher can write something and show it to his colleagues without adding to the ever growing tidal wave of printed ephemera.

Some journalists who make a living by contributing to this flood complain when a teacher is not reappointed because he has not published anything, that by that criterion Socrates would not have been promoted either, and that teaching is what ought to count. Actually, it is not clear at all how Socrates would have fared if judged as a teacher. After all, he insisted that he could not lecture, and he stubbornly refused to do it. He liked discussion, but one may doubt that he was at his best with students. Other less distinguished cases come to mind and lead us to consider (d) discussion with colleagues. Being very good at that is not a sufficient reason for promotion, but it has to be considered.

Finally, there is (e) administrative work. Such work is often overestimated but not altogether irrelevant.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

Enough has been said to show how impossible it is to tell what people deserve, and it is absurd to say when one individual gets $1,000; two, $750; one, $500; and one gets nothing, that justice has been done. Of course, if one thinks in black and white and reduces an essentially pluralistic situation to a dualistic model, stripping away a multitude of possibilities and eliminating all but one candidate, one can ask imperiously: does this man deserve a $1,000 raise or not? It is all or nothing, and the need for a yes or no answer may then seem plausible, depending on the facts of the case.

My illustration involves five candidates, but actually many prior decisions are required. How much money should be made available for salary raises throughout the university, at the expense of scholarships for needy students, new academic programs, library acquisitions, and all sorts of other purposes? How much of that money should be allocated to the department in which the five professors are teaching? And how much of that sum should be set aside for assistant professors? Nobody who is aware of all these complexities will be tempted to say that any distribution that one could imagine could lay claim to being just. In practice, there are strategies for usually reaching agreement without much debate. Rule I: submit a specific proposal to those who have to vote on the decision. This is essential. Rule 2: discourage the consideration of alternatives. There are many ways of doing this, but old hands realize that such consideration could be endless and therefore tend to go along with the initial proposal, provided that it is not blatantly capricious. Rule 3: discourage general discussion of norms. It is far easier to reach agreement on five candidates than it is to agree in principle on the weight that should be given to various factors. Let nobody suppose that the case considered here is so difficult because it concerns a specific distribution rather than the code. On the contrary, the question of agreement on a code is much more important and intractable.


My scheme of seven categories with a great many subcategories may seem to be needlessly complex. Might it not be sufficient to invoke only needs and merits?

The case of the assistant professors shows how, even if one confined oneself to merits, one would still be quite unable to determine how much each person deserves. Thus my thesis is not reducible to the claim, however true, that merits and needs often conflict. Moreover, my scheme brings out many points that cannot be reduced to needs or merits but that are quite often crucial for decisions about distribution.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Another illustration may help. When it comes to the right to vote, no community could possibly consider merit alone relevant. Age and citizenship and often also place of residence are considered crucial in almost all societies, and membership in the community that is, citizenship or residence or both must be required because otherwise the system could not be made to work.

Second, even if one considered merit all-important within these restrictions, there is such a crisscross of merits that one might well despair of the possibility of devising any workable system based on merit. It might be the lesser evil to give the vote to every citizen who is, say, at least eighteen.

The objection to giving no vote to those who had not graduated from primary school, one vote to those who had, two votes to high-school graduates, three votes to college graduates, and four to those with a Ph.D., an M.D., or a law degree, is not so much that this would be making too much of merit; it is rather that it would come nowhere near an accurate reflection of mens merits. Vast numbers of people who have not graduated from college are incomparably more intelligent and better informed, not to speak of other merits, than millions who have. It is fatuous to assume that all members of one group say, all college graduates without a doctorate are equal. It might be more to the point to require all who want to vote to take a public-affairs test. But a high score on such a test would be another highly dubious way of measuring merit.

Finally, the vote is not a reward for merit but a means of preventing various evils. The crucial question about various requirements for the vote is not how these requirements are related to the past of the potential voters but rather what their effects will be and what kind of a society we are likely to get as a result.

It is also impossible to measure need. I have already distinguished eight points that would have to be considered: what one needs for subsistence, for comfort, for some project, and for ones optimal development for oneself and then also for ones dependents. Some people, of course, have no dependents, but others have a great many dependents, leading to many additional complications.

On reflection, the four key terms are utterly unclear. What is literally needed for subsistence is so pitifully little that it is generally understood that this is not what is meant, but what is meant is not understood.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Comfort involves a crucial subjective component. Once one. is used to certain things cigarettes, television, so many meals a day, such and such furniture, a car or perhaps several cars in the family, plumbing, possibly even three full bathrooms, two-day weekends, a month where it is warm in the winter, a three-months summer vacation, or a forty-hour work week one is more than apt to be uncomfortable without these things. It is therefore quite possible to make every member of a large group comfortable while the distribution of goods is quite unequal, and people with fewer needs and goods may be more comfortable than some who have far more goods but needs that outstrip their possessions. Needs are not fixed data but can be created, cultivated, and though this is much more difficult diminished and even eliminated.

What is needed for a project is often far from clear; foundations are frequently persuaded that extremely questionable needs are authentic, and often they assume that the significance of a project is proportionate to the claimed need for money. This widespread assumption is obviously silly. Moreover, does not justice require a weighing of the needs for the completion of various projects and a comparative ranking of how much each project is needed? No matter how a large sum is divided between cancer research, pollution control, aid to the poor, various projects in the arts, scholarship funds, and aid to people starving abroad, it would be obtuse to claim that justice had been done.

If you want to give each enough for his optimal development, how do you determine what he needs for that? To answer this question and to decide how much various projects are needed requires a decision about goals an idea or vision of man and society as one should like them to be.

Ultimately, every attempt to spell out a material conception of justice involves a decision about the kind of society we want. It requires a decision about goals and standards. But the moral rationalist takes his standards for granted and refuses to consider alternatives.


It may seem as if one conception of justice did not involve difficult value judgments. Some people would disregard differences in merit and need, insisting that justice demands absolute equality.

Does this mean that one should give each the same, regardless not only of his needs and desires, his merits, and his ability to make use of what he is given, but also of what he already has? (Call this notion of equality E 1). If food is distributed, for example, is it just to give equal amounts to those who have


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 plenty and those who have nothing? If this suggestion were rejected as palpably unjust, need would be introduced. But it might still be argued that absolute equality really means that all should be equal after the distribution has been made, or at least as nearly equal as the distribution can make them. In that case, those who have would receive nothing till all have-nots had received as much as they have (E 2).

Although this system is not followed in any civilized country anywhere, it has some plausibility when the goods at stake are food or vaccinations, but hardly any when the goods are books, violins, canvas boards, insulin, offices, or honors. Different criteria are appropriate for different kinds of goods. Some things may reasonably be distributed in accordance with peoples merits, others with their abilities, still others with their needs, without being open to the charge that the distribution has been unjust in principle.

In short, E 1 is so absurd that one can understand it only as a counsel of despair, a way of saying that no better system can be made to work. E 2 is also absurd if it is applied to all things that are to be distributed. To mention only one further objection to E 2: in that case no incentives would remain.

If food, lodging, and money were to be distributed in accordance with this plan, sufficient nonmaterial incentives might remain. It would not be too difficult to imbue a society with an ethos in which rank and honors would provide enough incentives for performance, while material goods were distributed almost equally. But in a highly merit-conscious society, like that pictured in the Iliad, nonmaterial inequalities are felt so deeply that they might make for more unhappiness than most material inequalities in our society. In any case, inequalities in the distribution of some goods, material or otherwise, are necessary as an incentive. Without it, some jobs will not get done, unless we abolish a great deal of personal freedom.

It is only in a situation in which no relevant differences exist among the individuals concerned that an equal distribution could reasonably be called just. Dividing eight apples among eight children at the end of a party at which all have had plenty to eat might be a case in point. But suppose that some of the children are much too full by now to eat the apple right away and will take it home to a house in which apples and other kinds of food are plentiful, while other children are about to return to their hungry brothers and sisters: then even this case supports the thesis that distributions can never be just.

This example does not depend on some prior social injustice. All that is required is some relevant inequality, say, that some children need to eat more than others, or that some are allergic to apples, or that some are allergic to other foods but not to apples. An equal distribution is no guarantee of justice.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

When the appeal to equality fails, it is customary to fall back on equality of opportunity. But equality of opportunity is unobtainable. People are born with radically unequal opportunities. Their health, constitution, talents, and capacities are widely different.

We could come closer to equality of opportunity by outlawing random breeding. Allowing only the most favored specimens to beget children would, paradoxically, give them a vital opportunity denied to the vast majority. One could permit sexual intercourse as now, while restricting impregnation to artificial insemination, and people would not have to be told who were the fathers of the children born under this system. Even then some women would have the opportunity or perhaps the duty to give birth again and again, while most women would be denied this opportunity or excused from this obligation. In such a society millions could have a single father. But brothers and sisters, and even more so halfbrothers and half-sisters, often differ widely in health, constitutions, talents, and capacities. Only cloning could really produce equality of opportunity at birth if one made all people almost literally equal; but presumably, one would prefer at least two models: one female, one male.

If all these schemes strike you as so many nightmares, you do not really favor equality of opportunity. Such schemes would involve an incalculable loss in genes; a vast fund of potential talents and capacities would be lost to mankind forever. And family life as we know it would cease.

The abolition of the family has to be countenanced by anyone who seriously favors equality of opportunity. The schemes considered here would be rather pointless if the inequalities of being brought up in different families were continued as now. But even if one opposes these schemes, the abolition of the family is certainly a minimal prerequisite for equality of opportunity.

Environment during the preschool years remains decisive for ones character, intelligence, and whole development. This is not only a Freudian tenet, but recent work by child psychologists confirms conclusively how much intelligence depends on the mothers attitude toward the infant, on her encouragement or detachment. Children from utterly different backgrounds plainly do not have equality of opportunity.

The notion that integrated schools provide equality of opportunity for all is untenable as long as children live in widely different homes. And it is downright ridiculous as long as teachers do little real teaching,


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 assign a great deal of homework, and expect the parents to help with the homework and explain what is not clear.

The abolition of the family structure is wholly feasible, and the communal nurseries of some Israeli kibbutzim have proven beyond any doubt that such a system can be made to work well and need not at all be lacking in human warmth. Some of the kibbutzim have gone far toward equality of opportunity, but no more than about 4 percent of Israelis choose to live in kibbutzim, and the figure remains remarkably constant.

Equality of opportunity also involves some reduction in opportunities. Wherever equality is held to be crucial, some leveling is inevitable. It is told that Alexander the Great was offered a drink of water on a hot day when he and his army had gone without any water for a long time, and that, seeing that there was not enough water for all, he refused the offer and spilled the water into the sand. If every opportunity that cannot be offered to all is refused and goes to waste, few opportunities can be accepted.

People neither desire nor are able to make use of the same opportunities. To deny a man opportunities that he desires and could put to use simply because many others do not wish for the same opportunities would be pernicious.

In any case, what is equality of opportunity? At what stage in their lives are people supposed to have it? If they are to have it always, we must rigidly control their lives from birth to death, in order to make sure that they do not make choices that will deprive them of various opportunities. Granted freedom, people make different choices, learn different things, acquire different skills and habits, run different risks and sometimes pay the price, tie themselves down in various ways, and before long have very different opportunities. There is thus a tension between freedom and equality of opportunity, and we should not do everything we can to bring about the latter.

Those who claim to be for equality of opportunity do not advocate measures that would really promote less inequality of opportunity at birth than we now have. They are not mainly concerned about the time of birth. If equality of opportunity is wanted, but neither at birth, or not only at birth, nor always, some time when people are supposed to have it must be specified. This might be the age when children first attend school, say, at five. If so, it would be indispensable to provide the same controlled environment for all youngsters, giving a centralized authority the power and the means to bring up all children


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 communally in just the same way. Extreme egalitarians might even wish to stifle all expressions of originality and individuality.

If one then gave each child the green light at the age of five, it could be claimed that at that point all children had equal opportunities. But even this would be no guarantee against gross inequalities a few years later.

Equality of opportunity is a slogan, and those who employ it are not really in favor of the means required to bring it about. Men are not equal. Men should not be made equal. And equality of opportunity is either a hollow clich or a pernicious goal.

(In the Far East the phrase is associated with the open-door policy in China and considered odious. The French phrase la carriere ouverte aux talents is unobjectionable and does not invoke the myth of equality.)

My claim that men are not equal and that equality is a myth does not entail any bigotry. On the contrary, bigots assume that all Jews are equal or all Negroes, Germans, or women. My point is that no two men or women are alike. Some statistical generalizations about these groups are well founded, but they do not indicate that all members of the group are alike, and I am far from suggesting that distributions, any more than punishments, should be guided by such generalizations. All men and women are brothers and sisters, and each should be considered as an individual. Giving the same to all is not particularly reasonable, seeing that they are not alike, do not have the same desires, and cannot all use the same things or opportunities.


When the appeal to merit, needs, equality, and even equality of opportunity breaks down, the champions of distributive justice abandon material conceptions of justice that specify what should be given to each, and fall back on a formal conception of justice: they say that justice consists of treating like cases alike.

This popular claim is actually false. Treating like cases alike is merely a necessary but not a sufficient condition of what is meant by justice. When this condition is not fulfilled, one speaks of injustice, 69

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 whether it is a case of punishment or distribution. But when this condition is fulfilled one may still speak of injustice, as, for example, when all nine-year-old children are put to death if they steal two-penceworth of paint.

Moreover, no two cases are alike. No two students applying for admission are alike any more than two candidates for an increase in salary. To avoid injustice, one must ignore irrelevant differences and base decisions on relevant likenesses and unlikenesses, and even then one still needs a sense of proportion.

The demand for justice has three parts. It is, first, the demand for reasons for unequal treatment. If one person is treated better than several others, one wants to be shown how his case is different from the others, and one desires a rational account meaning an explanation and defense of the relevance of the differences. If no relevant differences can be pointed out, one feels that wrong has been done. This part of the demand for justice is closely related to the demand for honesty, assuming that honesty involves being scrupulous and not merely telling no lies.

The second part of the demand for justice poses more serious difficulties. Having discovered a vast crisscross of more or less relevant differences between people, one has to decide on the weight to be assigned to each factor. Here both the precision and the objectivity that are widely associated with justice come to grief. Even where reasonable people can agree that one difference should be weighed more heavily than another, any precise assignment of weights is bound to be more or less arbitrary. (If this should seem unduly abstract, recall the case of the assistant professors, in section 25.) Moreover, reasonable people will differ frequently even about the relative weight of various factors (for example, what weights should be given to popularity with freshmen, to an interesting but difficult article in a journal, and to efficiency in an administrative job). Here personal preferences enter into the picture preferences that need not be at all selfish. The best one can do but if one wants to reach speedy agreement with others on a practical decision (say, about the distribution of a sum of money among five candidates), the worst one can do is to bring these preferences out into the open, to state them honestly, and to consider objections and alternatives. This is the last thing a decidophobe would want to do, and the notion that justice is objective and precise is reassuring because it suggests that nothing of the sort is called for.

The third part of the demand for justice is the demand that what is meted out, whether penalties or rewards, should be proportioned to the relevant differences between individuals. I have shown that this is impossible in the case of punishments, notwithstanding valiant attempts by brilliant men, like Kant


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 and Jefferson. It is also impossible to proportion rewards, whether financial or not, to the relevant differences among people. This becomes obvious as soon as one tries to construct a code.

The nature of rationality and the extent to which honesty can replace justice will be discussed in the chapter on The New Integrity. For the present, it is sufficient to note that what is felt to be outrageous in cases of palpable injustice is usually dishonesty. The Scottsboro trial as well as any number of other trials in which it is notorious that injustice was done involved obvious perjury: the court accepted testimony that was plainly dishonest. But unlike some partisans of justice, I am far from considering one virtue the be-all and end-all of morality. Later, I shall argue for several virtues.

This explains the counterpart of my second thesis about retributive justice: Even if a distribution could be proportionate, it would not follow that it ought to be imposed. This is obvious if justice is not the only cardinal virtue. If there are other virtues besides justice, then this thesis is clearly true, unless it is assumed that injustice takes precedence over all other evils. Some decidophobes prefer the tyranny of one virtue that relieves them of the necessity to weigh conflicting considerations. If there are several norms, it is clear that a higher score according to one of them does not automatically settle disputed questions; it might be offset by a much lower score on several other standards. In my code, moreover, not only are there several virtues but justice is not even one of them.

This is also the place for the counterpart of my third and last thesis about retributive justice: the preoccupation with distributive justice is misguided and unfruitful. There are at least two reasons for this. First, if there are other standards we might well be better advised to pay more heed to them. Secondly, the concern with desert looks to the past, but it is more fruitful to consider the future. This is true not only of the right to vote but also to refer to just one other example of the distribution of college admissions. The counsel to be just and admit those who deserve admission is not only unhelpful because it is unclear how desert should be computed, it is also misguided because admissions, like the vote, are not mainly a reward for past performance but an opportunity to do something in the future. But as soon as promise is taken into account and it would be foolish indeed to ignore it one transcends the preoccupation with desert and justice. Now the question becomes rather: how should one determine promise? And then also: promise of what? The first of these questions is difficult to answer, but at least different answers can be tested by observing the results. If it is claimed, for example, that a students score on a particular test or his grades in science courses at some secondary school show promise in scientific work, one can study the correlation between these indicators and work actually done after admission. The second question promise of what? poses the problem of goals. How much weight should be given to promise of this rather than of that? What kind of men and women do we want to accept, to educate, to graduate? What kind of a society is desirable? The decidophobe would rather avoid such questions of goals, and he often does it by concentrating on justice. 71

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

Many cases of injustice are reducible to the simple fact that one set of criteria was announced while another was used when the distribution was actually made. Thus color or sex may not have been among the criteria proclaimed publicly but nevertheless crucial when the decision was made. In such cases, injustice consists of dishonesty. But even when the decision-makers adhere to the standards announced in the first place, they may still be inhumane or capricious because the standards themselves are objectionable. This is like the case in which the penal law is unjust.

The norms invoked in distributions can be morally objectionable in two ways. First, they may be arbitrary, being irrelevant to ones stated goals. The standards applied openly to justify favored treatment for certain groups may bear no rational relation to the avowed purpose of the institution to which they are admitted. In that case the appeal to justice can once again be replaced by an appeal to honesty.

Second, standards may be well designed to implement social goals, but the goals themselves may be objectionable. They may, for example, include male supremacy. Many disputes about justice, including some of the more troublesome questions about college admissions, are ultimately disputes about different visions of society and the future one desires for humanity. Since it is so difficult to weigh the pros and cons of different goals and visions, decidophobes prefer moral rationalism or moral irrationalism. The strategies used by the irrationalists have been considered at length in chapter 1. Typically, reason is ruled out of court and one appeals to some authority, or one begins as an extreme subjectivist but then ends up with exegetical thinking. Moral rationalists, on the other hand, usually appeal to justice. If only one way of proportioning punishments to crimes, or one way of distributing resources, or one vision of society could be shown to be just, then a thousand complexities would vanish at one blow, and the decision that needs to be made would become so simple that it would practically make itself.


When all the traditional interpretations of the appeal to justice fail, it is time to develop an autonomous morality. But as a last resort, some people would rather reinterpret justice. One such attempt has been so widely discussed among philosophers in recent years that no extended critique of justice can simply ignore it: the theory presented by John Rawls, first in some articles and eventually in his book A Theory of Justice. In the present context I cannot hope to do justice to these articles or to a six-hundred-page book. Still, something needs to be said here about this last resort to moral rationalism.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

I have already pointed out that the omission of retributive justice is a serious flaw, that Rawls really offers a theory of fairness, and that justice and fairness are not identical. My remaining comments will be equally macroscopic: this is not the place for microscopic criticism.

Rawls stands in the tradition, pioneered by David Hume, that considers it the main problem of justice to neutralize what I shall call grabbiness and to achieve impartiality. But this Humean conception of justice as more or less the antonym of grabbiness is misguided. Not only does it keep Hume as well as Rawls from dealing adequately with punishment; it also entails Humes false claim: If every one had the same affection and tender regard for everyone as for himself, justice and injustice would be equally unknown among mankind. This is false even in regard to distributive justice. Encrease to a sufficient degree the benevolence of man, says Hume, and you render justice useless. For Hume the problem of justice is to neutralize the selfishness and confind generosity of men. In effect, Rawls accepts this view. But if it were tenable, all we should need would be impartial judges; and I have tried to show in the examples of college admissions and salary raises how such judges would not find that one solution was the right and rational one. And if all of the candidates were utterly unselfish, that still would not solve the problem.

Consider a simpler illustration. Imagine a father with several children. His benevolence and generosity are boundless, and his children are no less benevolent. Each says: Never mind me; think only of the others! He would still confront problems of distributive justice. Rawls would pass the buck to the children, asking them to place themselves in what he calls the original position, meaning a position in which a veil of ignorance keeps one from knowing his own talents and position in society. The principles people would choose then, assuming that each sought the maximum advantage for himself, would be fair and just. This basic idea is worked out in Gothic-scholastic detail, and it is easy to lose sight of the moral rationalism of the whole theory: rational prudence can determine what ought to be done and what would constitute a just society; some knowledge of mathematics is required, perhaps even a course in game theory, but no tragic choices. We should strive for a kind of moral geometry.

The untenable optimism with which this whole theory of justice stands or falls finds expression in the frequently reiterated claim that if one is rational one can find a distribution that will be to everyones advantage, while Injustice, then, is simply inequalities that are not to the benefit of all.

Mo-tze, a Chinese contemporary of Socrates, argued that confind generosity or partiality was the cause of the worlds major calamities, and attacked the arts from this point of view. To have music is wrong, said he, because the money spent for music could be used instead to help the poor. In our time, 73

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Sartre has often said that writing philosophy while children are starving is wrong. This has not kept him from writing a vast critical study of Flaubert, a novelist whom he dislikes. But the problem is very urgent and transcends Sartre and Mo-tze. How could we possibly decide by transposing ourselves into the original position what policy regarding the arts and humanities would be to everyones advantage? Rawls ignores concrete problem of this kind, but I should say: If having music involved inequalities that are not to the benefit of all and thus an injustice according to Rawlss definition, we ought to have music anyway. My position requires no more than at least one other norm besides justice, and it allows for a possible conflict of norms or goals, which is anathema to the moral rationalist.

The whole third and last part of Rawlss book is called Ends, but he does not consider alternative goals and possible conflicts. He discusses at great length what is involved in developing a rational life plan, and makes this terse but telling concession in a footnote:

For simplicity I assume that there is one and only one plan that would be chosen, and not several (or many) between which the agent would be indifferent, or whatever. Thus I speak throughout of the plan that would be adopted with deliberative rationality.

Here simplicity and whatever trivialize the crucial refusal to consider alternatives.

In making a life plan, the aim is again to satisfy all claims.

Suppose that we are planning a trip and have to decide whether to go to Rome or Paris. It seems impossible to visit both. If on reflection it is clear that we can do everything in Paris that we want to do in Rome, and some other things as well, then we should go to Paris.

Obviously. But as a matter of fact we cannot do everything in Paris that we want to do in Rome. We cannot satisfy all claims.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Anyone who is not afraid of facing up to alternatives must decide between conflicting goals. A student cannot do with mathematics what he could do with law or medicine or French. Nor is there any just distribution of time, energies, or money between fighting cancer, fighting hunger, fighting bigotry, or studying music or anthropology. Nor can the allotment of space to the critique of a book be correct. My comments are bound to seem skimpy to some who have read A Theory of Justice and lengthy to some who have not. One simply cannot satisfy all claims.

One final criticism: Rawls says, To say that a certain conception of justice would be chosen in the original position is equivalent to saying that rational deliberation satisfying certain conditions and restrictions would reach a certain conclusion. But three pages later he says, We want to define the original position so that we can get the desired solution. (This passage does not stand alone.) Here the strategy of moral rationalism parallels that of exegetical thinking. Reason is considered authoritative, but the cards are stacked to make sure that reason will deliver the desired verdict. The moral rationalist reveres justice as transcending preferences but makes sure that her verdicts accord with his preferences. Thus he sees to it that his own moral ideas come back to him endowed with authority.


One of the central fallacies in the liberal faith is the sweet assumption that distributive justice involves only rewards, and that there is no reason why society should not be able to make everybody happy. The same conceit underlies most talk of a just peace. In fact, problems of distributive justice do not arise unless something that is desired by many is too scarce to satisfy all. This means in practice that it is possible to disappoint all, but usually impossible to please all. Even if everybody should be pleased, it would not follow that each got what he deserved; it might mean merely that the selfish were rewarded while the unselfish, who take delight in the good fortune of others, were not.

Even when the decision about distribution is the same, it makes a difference whether we tell those who are not admitted or promoted that justice has been done, or whether we realize how absurd such a claim would be. In the latter case we might say: These were our criteria, which are obviously debatable. In time we shall probably revise them. Meanwhile we have done our best, first to make them known in advance and then to stick by them without being swayed by considerations of very doubtful relevance. We know from experience that even so we make mistakes at that level, too, but we tried hard to avoid them. To speak that way instead of claiming that justice was done is more honest and loving, more humane, and more mindful of the self-respect of those whom we disappoint.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 It should be clear that what I object to is not so much the continued use of the words just and justice as it is a way of thinking that affects the way people behave. One can always redefine old words in such ways that the new concepts are no longer open to the old objections. In my books on religion I have shown how many theologians are virtuosos in this art. But the result, if not the purpose, of this practice is that the new concept carries the emotional charge and something of the moral authority of the old term, and does this illicitly. Invocations of justice help to blind a moral agent to the full range of his choices. Thus they keep people from realizing the extent of their autonomy.

Some individuals can manage to use the old words while realizing very clearly how precisely they are using them, and their autonomy may not suffer. But for every person who brings off this feat, there are likely to be a hundred who are kept from understanding their autonomy. Hence it is far better to make a clean break.

The following consideration may help to support this suggestion. We can point to examples of love and honesty, courage and humanity. We do not know in the same way what justice is, as a quality of punishments and distributions. We cannot point to concrete examples. Solomons celebrated judgment illustrates his legendary wisdom rather than his justice. What made his judgment so remarkable was that he managed to get at the facts; he found out which woman was the mother of the child that two women had claimed was theirs. Still, this may seem to be a clear instance of a just distribution. But if that were really so, then it would not take a Solomon to make just distributions in cases where the facts are easier to come by. When something is mine and you take it away, anyone who is called in to arbitrate and gives it back to me might then be said to have made a just distribution: I deserved it because it was mine.

In the last chapter I noted that restoration giving back what one has taken illegally is not an instance of punishment. It is not an instance of distribution either. I have concentrated on: punishment and distribution and see no need now to go on to discuss restitution; cases of that sort provide no guidance for the many more important cases considered here.

Indeed, Bertolt Brechts version of Solomons case, in The Caucasian Chalk Circle, which is based on a Chinese play, suggests that the mechanical application of the view that restitution is right simply ignores the problem of desert, and hence of justice. In the Bible the real mother is also more loving. In Brechts play she is merely possessive and has no deep affection for the child, while the other woman does, and Brecht argues that the child should be given to the woman who will take good care of it and the land to those who will make it flower and bear fruit.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Is that a model of a just distribution? Again it would be more accurate to call the judgment of Brechts judge wise and humane. It is future oriented and considers the past solely as a harbinger of the future.

In great international disputes there is ample disagreement among nations not only about facts, including events of the recent past, but also about principles. They may be in favor of restitution but cannot agree about the time the day, month, and year of the status quo ante that is to be restored. Nor are nations that favor restitution in one case likely to agree to it, even in principle, in several others. They may favor Brechts principle where it would favor them, but reject it where it would not.

Continual talk of a just peace is not merely unproductive but positively harmful. Just solutions are unattainable and cannot even be imagined. Hence one can go on talking about justice and a just peace without committing oneself to anything; and while holding out for a just peace one usually feels that until one gets what one demands one is entitled to go on waging a just war or to keep threatening another war soon.

The popular notion that we need to cling to justice because it is definite, clear, and objective, is false. Humanity would gain if we declared a moratorium on the use of just and justice while giving a high priority to the fight against brutality and dishonesty.

When the United Nations was founded after World War II, it was widely felt to be the last best hope on earth. But it has failed to live up to its promise. If it should perish, it might well be of too much talk about justice, too much indifference to brutality, and too little concern with high standards of honesty.

The moralistic cant of so many politicians has persuaded growing numbers of people that moral principles simply have no application in international politics. In fact, the preoccupation with justice is as ill advised here as it is elsewhere, but the concern to minimize brutality and dishonesty is as relevant as it is in other areas.

We know neither God nor the devil; we are beset by an endless number of devils No worst, there is none. To fight evil without the illusion that it is the greatest ever, to choose the lesser evil without the faith that it is surely the least evil, to endure darkness without the boast that none could be blacker, and to create more light without the comfort of excessive hopes that requires courage and autonomy. 31


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

It is perfectly true that you hardly ever actually beat me. But the shouting, the way your face turned red and you hurriedly loosened your suspenders, their lying ready over the back of the chair, were almost worse for me. . . . When one has to live through all the preparations for ones own hanging and learns of ones pardon only when the noose hangs in front of ones eyes, one may suffer from this experience for the rest of ones life. Moreover, from these many times when, according to your clearly manifest opinion, I deserved a thrashing but, owing to your grace, barely escaped it, I accumulated a profound sense of guilt.

This passage from Franz Kafkas Letter to the Father illuminates the origin not only of guilt but also of justice. My primary concern is not with origins. I want to criticize guilt and, insofar as a book can do that, liberate people from guilt feelings. But guilt feelings are being bred all around us, and if one wants to keep them from developing in the first place, one has to find out how they originate.

Moreover, I have argued that justice consists of giving each what he deserves, but that it is impossible to specify what a human being deserves. My critique of the concepts of desert and justice leaves open the question of how these fateful but objectionable notions originated. As a crime is not solved until a motive has been found, we cannot finally dispose of justice and desert until we understand how these ideas ever came to be accepted.

I shall therefore round out my account of justice with a theory about the origin of guilt and justice. Unfortunately, such a theory cannot be proved. Not only is it arguable that scientific theories in general can never be proved to be true, although many have been proved false, but the evidence for any theory about the origin of guilt and justice is bound to be particularly inconclusive. Instead of trying at great length to make the case as strong as possible, I shall be extremely brief. After all, my critique of justice and guilt does not stand or fall with this theory about their origins. It is quite sufficient for my purposes if I can provide a tenable theory, and better yet if it is very plausible.

Three major philosophers, David Hume, John Stuart Mill, and Nietzsche, have dealt with the origin of justice and developed rival theories. In an article in The Review of Metaphysics I have tried to prove that their theories of the origin of justice are untenable, and I shall not recapitulate my arguments here. Actually, Humes position, first presented by him under the title Of the origin of justice and property, has already been criticized in passing, above: he associated justice far too much with property and the love of gain, and he ignored retributive justice and desert. Nietzsche and Mill will be mentioned in


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 passing, below. But it would delay us quite unnecessarily if I here tried to cope with the details of their theories. In any case, I believe that Kafka, in the short passage that I have cited, came much closer to the truth than any of them.


What is the origin of the notion that we sometimes deserve punishments or rewards? What is the source of this idea of justice?

Such words as source and origin might be inappropriate. Although Amos wanted justice to flow like a mighty river, we could easily be misled by a metaphor. On the other hand, this metaphor does not imply that there has to be a single source. All rivers come from hills or mountains. Do the notions of justice and desert come from a height of feeling, an elevated vision, some peak from which one looks down on mens miseries and feels compassion? Or is the idea of justice born of resentment, as Mill argued? Is the notion that people deserve punishment older than the concept of distributive justice? How is one to decide? The Kafka passage quoted above suggests a different approach. Is the idea of justice perhaps born of guilt feelings? Suppose some penalties had been proclaimed for certain deeds, not in the name of justice but for other reasons say, simply because some persons in power (rulers, priests, or parents, for example) had not wanted somebody to do some things and then the penalties were not inflicted, owing to an oversight, or to the death of those in power, or for some other reason. In such a case, as also when the penalty had merely been delayed, the reprieve need not prompt unequivocal delight, relief, or jubilation. One might well be waiting for the penalty, feeling that it must still come, and in this expectation it might prove impossible to draw a line between must come and ought to come. Even as some shapes are seen as incomplete triangles or circles that require one more pencil stroke, it is felt in cases of this sort that some painful event is still required or deserved. As the English idiom puts it: Youve got it coming to you.

Or suppose that you had been punished more than once for doing something forbidden, but now somebody else has done the same thing without being punished. The same expectation appears with a different emotional tone. It could be accompanied by fear for a person you love; it could also be, and more often is, imbued with the desire that the other person should be punished no less than you if not in this life, at least in the next. Nor need it be a case of either fear or unequivocal desire; it might be a subtle mixture of the two.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Everything here said about guilt, whether ones own or that of others, may be transposed. Imagine that it is not a penalty that is delayed or not inflicted but a promised reward that is postponed or not granted. This prompts the same sort of expectation that something is still coming to someone that it is deserved.

Here is the origin of justice, and it is, surprisingly, a single source. The source of the idea that a reward or punishment is deserved is a promise. And what is felt to be deserved, is what was promised. The emotional response to the promise or to the failure to fulfil it promptly is wholly secondary. If the reward or punishment should be deferred, or if they never come, in our own case or in that of others, this nonevent may be met with envy or compassion, with self-pity or guilt feelings, indignation or concern, hope or anxiety. It is a mistake to suppose as Mill did, for example that some emotion or other is the source of justice. (He picked resentment.)

The required promise, of course, need not involve the words I promise. What matters is that one is given to understand that one can count on some reward or punishment, and that one has some respect for those who arouse this expectation. This feeling of respect does not involve any intellectual or moral judgment and does not depend on a prior sense of justice. It is an emotional orientation that does not preclude an admixture of resentment. What is essential is merely that one looks up to those who make the crucial promise. In that sense one endows them with authority, even if objectively they lack it.

There is ample evidence that criticism and reproaches from those whom a child and not only a child does not respect tend to be shrugged off even when they are quite harsh and deliberate, while a casual rebuke from a person one respects greatly is felt to be crushing and never forgotten, even if the critic himself fails to remember the incident.

The notion that rewards or punishments can be deserved, and often are deserved, is not born in the minds of sophisticated adults, nor is it the result of careful, critical reflection or painstaking inferences. We acquire this notion as children, long before we have learned to think critically about moral questions. Similarly, our ancestors acquired this notion long before there were philosophers or students of psychology, sociology, or comparative religion. Most of us take moral skepticism for granted and find it difficult to imagine the first stage of the development of justice or her birth.



Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Originally, both in the history of humanity and in infancy, what is held to be deserved is what one is told is deserved or to be expected. If a command to do something is followed by a promise, then it is assumed that those who fulfil the command deserve what was promised (have it coming to them), and that justice is done when they receive it and injustice when they do not.

Similarly, if a prohibition is accompanied by the promise of a penalty, it is assumed that those who transgress it deserve the penalty; that justice is done when they receive it, even if the punishment should be quite brutal; and that it would be unjust for the transgressor to go free or to receive some other penalty instead. At this stage justice does not necessarily presuppose a law. All it presupposes is a promise that accompanies either a command or a prohibition.

Here I disagree with Nietzsche. Arguing against a theory that had sought the origin of justice in resentment, he claimed that justice comes into being only after a stronger power imposes a law to put an end to the senseless raging of ressentiment among the weaker powers that stand under it . . . Just and unjust exist, accordingly, only after the institution of the law. . . The first sentence that I have quoted in part seems unduly influenced by Aeschylus Eumenides, a play that Nietzsche, as a classical philologist, knew well, although he does not mention it, and the conclusion that just and unjust make sense only after the institution of law is surely wrong. In childhood one acquires the notions of just and unjust without the benefit of laws; unsystematic prohibitions and commands, delivered ad hoc and coupled with spontaneous promises of rewards or punishments, suffice. There is no good reason to believe that in the early stages of a culture the institution of law is required before justice can be born.

The initial sense of what is deserved is usually exceedingly unsubtle and insensitive. It depends on some authority or other a parent, teacher, priest, or ruler, for example who tells people that this is the way things are, that if you do, or fail to do, this, then you must expect and you deserve that. (This is the birth of justice the beginning of what I have earlier called the first stage in her development. The criticism of such promises, of custom and convention, rules, laws, and arrangements, comes much later in time, and I shall deal with it shortly.)

In this initial phase it does not follow at all that if somebody else does the same thing, he deserves or must expect the same reward or punishment. On the contrary, a child may not do what his parents and perhaps his older siblings may do, or even have to do. Rank, station, and sex are usually considered important at this point. Priests, noblemen, and servants are not expected to perform the same acts, and are not treated alike if they do the same things. The same goes for generals and ordinary soldiers. Zeus


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 marries his sister and rapes the daughters of kings as well as some kings wives; but what is permitted to Jove is not permitted to an ox, as the ancient adage has it: quod licet Jovi, non licet bovi.

This goes against the liberal grain. Is not equality of the very essence of justice? If I do something and am punished for it, does not justice require plainly that if someone else does the same thing, he should be punished, too, in the same way? And if somebody else does something and reaps a reward, is it not a demand of simple justice that I deserve the same reward for doing the same thing? The answer is: three times no.

What cases are considered alike and what differences between human beings are taken to be relevant is originally a function of what we are told. If it was made clear from the start that girls, women, artisans, or novices would be punished for doing this or that, then most people, at least at this stage, would consider it unjust if they were not punished after doing it. As long as it is understood from the start that quod licet Jovi, non licet bovi, it accords with most mens sense of justice, at least at this stage, that one person should be honored for performing the very act for which another is, or would be, punished.

We can easily think of examples in which this procedure would not offend our moral sense even today, while other instances might be considered models of injustice. The recent development of the concept of justice has been more and more in the direction of equality. Less and less is it taken for granted that those in positions of privilege are like Jove; reasons are demanded to justify privileges and inequalities. But it would be a grave error to project this contemporary trend back into the origins of justice.


The origin of what one might call ideal justice poses no grave problem for the theory advanced here. In early childhood and in early history, orders, promises, and threats tend to be improvised, ad hoc, unsystematic. Later on, attempts are made to codify them, but it is extremely difficult to achieve consistency. Typically, one principle is invoked or implicit here and another there; one sentiment or intuition at this point and another at that; one precedent now and then another one. Such inconsistencies prompt reformers, prophets, critics, and revolutionaries to invoke one tradition or set of ideas against the rest. The critique of positive law begins as a protest against inconsistency. The demand for ideal justice is linked to the denunciation of hypocrisy and to an appeal to selected elements of an old tradition. None of this necessarily involves superior moral standards, although the standards invoked will, of course, be proclaimed as superior.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

The ideal justice that is contrasted with what passes for justice can involve more rigorous respect for ancient inequalities, as in Platos attack on democracy, or a plea for equality, or even, as in the Hebrew Bible, special consideration for orphan, widow, and stranger. Which strands of a tradition set his heart afire proves what kind of a person a social critic is.

The contrast between ideal justice and positive justice is fruitful, but it would be a grave error to suppose that ideal justice is, or tends to be, the same everywhere. Any such claim is as false as it would be concerning positive justice. Amos ideal justice would have outraged Plato, and vice versa.

The origin of ideal justice is dissatisfaction with positive justice. But ideal justice is also born of an unfulfilled promise. One appeals to ancient promises that, one claims, have been betrayed. The critique of positive justice could be presented as a protest against brutality and inhumanity. Typically, however, the great critics of positive justice have denounced inconsistency, irrationality, and hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is a kind of inconsistency, and treating people differently on account of differences that on reflection can be seen to be irrelevant and to constitute no sufficient reason for the difference in treatment is a form of irrationality. Thus the demand for ideal justice is often a plea for rationality and honesty.


What has happened to justice and desert in our time is similar to what has happened to God. A childs idea of God is intelligible, but many adults consider it nave. They are more sophisticated and disown such notions. They readily explain what they do not mean when they avow their faith that God exists, but the more they pride themselves on their lack of superstition, the less clear it becomes what they do mean. As Satan once said to a Christian: I think you dont know yourself what you mean. You are repeating words that once designated very understandable superstitions. Now you denounce these superstitions but cling to the same words and believe that you are still saying something.

In the case of desert and justice, what was meant originally was clear enough: one deserved what one had been promised, and justice was done when one got it. As one became more sophisticated, it became plain that the promised reward or punishment itself might be unjust that is, disproportionate. To be deserved and just, it had to be proportionate. But what was considered proportionate always depended on an appeal to authority.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Many legislators considered it self-evident that one had to take into account the caste of both the offender and the offended party. Hammurabis Code went further and provided, for example, that if a man should strike another mans daughter, and she died, they shall put his daughter to death. Moses sense of proportion was different, and that in the Law of Manu different again. Few of those brought up under these laws ever doubted that the penalties provided in them were proportionate, deserved, and just. And those raised to believe in hell rarely had any qualms about that. Indeed, St. Thomas proved at length how eternal punishments for temporal offenses were not disproportionate.

The critics of positive justice also appealed to authority, citing different precedents, texts, or traditions. When moral skepticism and skepticism about law developed, people still clung to the notions of proportion, justice, and desert. But these notions depend on some authority, if only that of ones own intuition, and when no authority is recognized in moral matters, these old notions collapse and die. The moral rationalist may still try to prop them up with appeals to reason, as if proportion in such matters could be mathematical, but no matter how subtle his efforts may be, they do not stand up under scrutiny.


In the discussion of retributive justice, I stressed the crucial role of religion; but up to this point my theory of the origin of justice has underplayed the importance of religion. The last question about justice that needs to be answered here will permit me to make up for this omission.

Why have men so seldom tried to work out in detail visions of a just society? Because it is impossible to specify distributions and punishments that would be just. Although my thesis that this is impossible may be novel, something like it has been felt very widely, if vaguely, by legions of people for thousands of years. Instead of trying the impossible, they have simply postulated that after death everybody will receive what he deserves whatever that may be. Dogmatic assurance about this supposed fact has been accompanied by an impressive lack of detail.

As far as punishments were concerned, a sort of pornography developed; at times, mens imagination ran amuck, and under the flimsy pretext of justice one wallowed in cruel fantasies. The eternal punishments of Sisyphus and Tantalus in the eleventh canto of the Odyssey are not justified by any crime that bears a relation to them; only later ages furnished superabundant rationalizations. The penalty was dreamt up first; the reasons for it were invented later.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

It is striking that in Homers afterlife there is no inkling of any reward. In Christianity heaven is usually nothing but words: bliss, being close to God, or angels with harps. It is hardly original to remark that listening to harps for thousands of years would be hell; but note the complete vacuity of the traditional insistence that after death virtue is rewarded, and each gets his just deserts. As children, we are led to assume that such phrases as just deserts are meaningful and have very specific contents; but on reflection it appears that there actually is no content. Or, if you prefer, what content there is does not bear thinking about. It is an embarrassment.

In the Thomistic Summa Theologiae we encounter one of the rare attempts to imagine a reward that is less vapid than harp music: In order that the bliss of the saints may be more delightful for them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, it is given to them to see perfectly the punishment of the damned.

This is a condensation of the much more elaborate development of the same theme by Tertullian, the earliest and after Augustine the greatest of the ancient church writers of the West. In the last chapter of his treatise On Spectacles, in which he warned his readers against attending such mundane affairs, he promised them rich rewards on that last day of judgment, with its everlasting issues. There will be ever so much to admire, to enjoy, and to exult over,

as I see so many illustrious monarchs, whose reception into the heavens was publicly announced, groaning now in the lowest darkness with great Jove himself. . . ; governors of provinces, too, who persecuted the Christian name, in fires more fierce than those with which in the days of their pride they raged against the followers of Christ.

The philosophers who taught their followers that God had no concern in aught that is sublunary and who denied either the existence of the soul or the bodily resurrection are now covered with shame before the poor deluded, as one fire consumes them. Actors will be lither of limb in the flames than they ever were on the stage, and behold the charioteer, all glowing in his chariot of fire, and the wrestlers, not in their gymnasia, but tossing in the fiery billows. But it is possible that even then I shall not care to attend to such trifles in my eager wish rather to fix a gaze insatiable on those whose fury vented itself against the Lord. There is no need to continue here; suffice it that Tertullian is not resigned to wait for the day when he will be exulting in such things as these, for even now we in a measure have them by faith in the picturings of imagination.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

The Reverend S. Thelwall whose translation I have cited rejects the suggestion that this work might have been written after Tertullians lapse from orthodoxy into Montanism: A work so colourless [!] that doctors can disagree about even its shading, must be regarded as practically orthodox. Exaggerated expressions are but the characteristic of the authors genius. We are invited to find in this chapter, which Gibbon delights to censure (and which Nietzsche cited as a prime example of Christian resentment), a beautiful specimen of lively faith and Christian confidence.

At such a loss is the confidence in distributive justice to imagine what rewards might be deserved! When hatred does not rush in to fill the void, there is nothing but the empty, dogmatic assurance that justice will be done. Given my theory that the sense of injustice has its source in an unfulfilled promise, nothing could be more natural than the expectation that the deferred promise will be kept eventually, even if only after death. Again and again, the paradigm of justice was found not in this life but in the next, or in the law that governed the transmigration of souls. While one was generally careful not to be precise about rewards and punishments, one did insist that each got what he deserved and this created the untenable impression that it makes sense to speak of the rewards and punishments that a person deserves. This false notion would not be so difficult to dislodge if it did not have the support of thousands of years of religious indoctrination.

I began my account of justice with her death. Now that we have also explored her origins, we have truly found her out. My theory does not only complete the picture; it also has practical implications. We are not born with a sense of justice or with guilt feelings. Nor are guilt feelings inevitable.

Liberal parents inculcate guilt feelings in their children by telling them that they deserve to be punished, and by then suspending the punishment. It is no longer fashionable to be as crude as Kafkas father was, to loosen suspenders or prepare to give ones children a terrible beating. The usual pattern is to tell a child something like this: If I had done when I was your age what you have just done, Id have been punished severely; and while thats what you deserve, Id never do that sort of thing to you. But how could you do such a dreadful thing?

If one wants to breed guilt feelings in ones children, this is the surest way to do it. But if one wants to liberate oneself and the future from the tyranny of guilt, one has to know how guilt is bred and born. The question remains whether guilt feelings are a necessary evil, as traditional morality has taught. The time has come to attack guilt. 37


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

WITH THE DEATH OF JUSTICE, the tyranny of guilt comes to an end. For without justice there is no guilt. To say that anyone is, or feels, guilty is to say that he deserves, or feels that he deserves, punishment. Once it is seen that nobody deserves punishment, it follows that nobody is guilty or should feel guilty.

It may be objected that it is simply a fact in some cases that a person is guilty. But what is a fact is merely that he has done wrong possibly a grievous wrong. It does not follow that he deserves punishment, and it would therefore be far better to avoid this implication by not speaking of guilt. As long as we continue to call people guilty, we shall not get rid of guilt feelings. Is it silly to criticize feelings? Certainly not. It makes sense to criticize resentment, envy, jealousy and guilt feelings. Unlike many other so-called feelings, or at any rate much more so than most, guilt feelings involve beliefs and even strenuous convictions. These convictions could be, and are, false and irrational, and therefore guilt feelings are open to criticism.

In particular cases, nobody would hesitate to criticize feelings of jealousy for being unwarranted and irrational. One might also go further and argue that jealousy or guilt feelings, or both, are always irrational. But the case against guilt feelings has far more important implications. While many people condone jealousy, moralists and philosophers are not in the habit of positively demanding it. Guilt feelings, on the other hand, are deliberately demanded, inculcated, and extolled. They are part of the hard core of traditional morality. And they figure prominently in all sorts of false claims. I shall single out three theses for criticism.

1. Guilt feelings are held to be necessary for the moral health of those who have done something immoral. Remorse is held to be part of the punishment they deserve, or at the very least a prerequisite for reform.

2. Guilt feelings are held to be something one owes those whom one has wronged. Such feelings are supposed to restore, at least in part, an interpersonal balance.

3. Guilt feelings are held to be necessary for the protection of society. Nobody can watch people all the time in order to keep them in line. Hence it is held to be imperative for them to internalize punishment and to torment themselves when they do something immoral. If they did not know that this punishment was certain even if they should not be caught, it is believed that they would behave even worse than they do anyway.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

My attack on guilt and guilt feelings will involve a critique of these three theses. But the addiction to guilt is even more widespread than these theses suggest.

Many liberals believe that their guilt feelings supply the psychic energy for their good works. Where would they be without guilt?

Many radicals feel the same way and in addition seem to feel the need to find other men guilty of heinous wrongs. Righteous indignation is a source of energy for them. Where would they be without guilt?

Many conservatives believe that all men are guilty because they are finite they themselves no less than their fellow men. If they are Christians they speak of original sin.

Some non-Christian existentialists have spoken in a very similar vein of metaphysical, ontological, or existential guilt. Jaspers, Heidegger, and Buber have all argued that such guilt lies beyond all psychological explanations and that guilt feelings of this type constitute a summons to authentic existence. To quote from Bubers account of a specific example:

As the guilt feeling fell silent, Melanie lost the possibility of atonement by way of a newly gained authentic relation to her environment that would have allowed her best qualities to unfold. The price paid for the annihilation of the thorn [of remorse] was the irrevocable annihilation of the chance of becoming that being which this creature, in accordance with her highest predispositions, had been destined to become.

Here Buber is, to say the least, exceedingly close to Jaspers and Heidegger. Still, this thesis is essentially a variant of the claim that guilt feelings are a prerequisite of reform. It is a variant and not merely the same thing said in bigger and fancier words, inasmuch as the existentialists see such guilt feelings as a summons and a unique opportunity to rise to a higher level of existence than that of the ordinary person who has not had occasion to feel guilt in the first place.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Considering how widespread guilt feelings are and how widely dubious theses about them are credited, it is surprising how little critical attention they have received from philosophers. English-speaking philosophers have largely ignored them, while the German philosophers who have dealt with guilt have rarely subjected the concept to criticism. No doubt, this was in part because, as Nietzsche said, the Protestant parson is the grandfather of German philosophy. My own attack on guilt stands in the tradition of Nietzsche and Freud, without following either of them in detail. For although both were against guilt feelings, neither gave us the kind of critique that is needed. It is high time for a full-fledged attack.


Guilt feelings are a contagious disease that harms those who harbor them and endangers those who live close to them. The liberation from guilt spells the dawn of autonomy.

Typically, guilt feelings make those who harbor them feel wretched. The claim that this is precisely what they deserve depends on the conception of justice that I have criticized. I have argued that it is impossible to determine what precisely men deserve, but it may be felt nevertheless that those who have done something immoral deserve some suffering and therefore guilt feelings. As a matter of empirical fact, however, guilt feelings have no particular tendency to be proportionate to the wrongs that they feed on. It is not in the least uncommon for a person to have immense guilt feelings that revolve around a relatively trivial occasion, while he has none or hardly any in connection with what would seem to warrant them much more. What is even far more obvious is that very decent people of great moral sensitivity often torment themselves over minor wrongs, while less humane people feel little or no remorse over outrageous deeds that have brought immense suffering to others.

A critic might grant this much and still protest that those who have done wrong deserve some suffering and ought to have guilt feelings that are at least vaguely proportionate to the evil they have done. But in line with my account of the origin of the concept of desert, I claim that any specific suggestion concerning what is deserved depends ultimately on some appeal to authority, and that we should abandon the notion of moral desert. We should ask not what we deserve but whether the three theses that I want to attack are true.

As for the moral health of those who have guilt feelings, those who nurture self-hatred usually have hatred to spare for others. As a rule, guilt feelings make men vindictive and inhibit the development of generosity. And I shall show presently that they are not by any means a prerequisite for reform.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

If guilt feelings were at least of some help to those whom we feel we have wronged, it might still be argued that self-punishment served some purpose. But generally guilt feelings have the opposite effect. They discomfit those on whose account they are felt, and they are actually contagious.

When one feels guilty for what one has done to another person, one is very apt to feel that in some sense it is the victims fault: but for the victim, one would never have incurred this guilt. And living close to someone who secretly, or not so secretly, blames him, makes the victim feel guilty. He is infected by being resented.

Even those not blamed by anyone else may feel guilty when they realize that they have caused somebody else who is very close to them great suffering. They are infected by feeling compassion.

Finally, those who feel guilty usually feel, more or less like the antihero of Camuss novel The Fall, that if they feel guilty, you have no less reason to feel guilty. This conviction does not depend on your having been the wronged person in the first place, although in the case of husband and wife this reaction is the rule when one has wronged the other. When a parent feels guilty over having done something seriously wrong in bringing up a child, he (or she) will normally feel that the other parent should feel guilty, too. And one is infected by being held responsible. Guilt craves company; guilt obtains company by contagion.


Can one transcend guilt feelings without becoming self-satisfied and self-righteous? First of all, it should be noted that guilt feelings are quite compatible with self-congratulation and self-righteousness. The Fall shows this at length. A word of explanation is in order because Camuss novel has so often been misunderstood, and interpreters have not been lacking who have claimed to find in it a rapprochement with Christianity. In fact, it is the authors most Nietzschean work.

His first novel, The Stranger, was a kind of antithesis to Dostoevskys Crime and Punishment, and its antihero was an anti-Raskolnikov. Having killed another human being, he refused to feel any remorse. It scarcely occurred to him even to feel any regret. And when he was sentenced to death, he felt sure that society wanted to punish him merely because he had refused to cry at his mothers funeral; in other


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 words, because he had refused to fake it, because he was more honest than other men not because he had committed a crime. Camuss third and last novel, The Fall, was conceived as an antithesis to Dostoevskys Notes from Underground. Dostoevskys antihero saw everything from underground, from below, resentfully; Camuss tells us how he always needed to feel above. This theme runs through the whole story. He has always been possessed by the desire to look down on others, but then he became convinced of the hollowness and hypocrisy of his life and of his own profound guilt: of course, all men are guilty, but he is particularly guilty and aware of his guilt and thus after all and once again superior to other men. He now spends his time thinking and talking about his guilt and his superiority, congratulating himself and being self-righteous instead of using his time and energy constructively. I take it that the antihero of this book is not an utterly atypical and marginal case but that the characterization is intended as an attack on the Christian doctrine of original sin and its secular variations, as is Sartres The Flies.

Although guilt feelings are compatible with self-righteousness and with a complete failure to work at becoming a better person, it is also clear that some people who feel guilty try to rise to a higher level or do good works, or both. The question remains whether one can transcend guilt feelings without becoming (or remaining) self-righteous and self-satisfied. The answer should also take care of the problem raised earlier whether guilt feelings are a prerequisite of reform.

In intellectual and artistic endeavors and in sports it is obviously possible to be sharply self-critical without harboring guilt feelings. If the desired goal is that one should not be self-righteous and that one should try hard to rise to a higher level of existence, guilt feelings establish no high probability at all that one will move in this direction; what is needed is a fusion of ambition with humility. Once again I have to coin a word to move an important idea clearly into focus. I shall call the fusion of ambition with humility humbition.

Humility and ambition are widely considered antithetical. I hold no brief for either as long as they appear separately. But their fusion, humbition, I consider a cardinal virtue, along with courage, love, and honesty.

Virtues are habits that can be cultivated, not qualities that one either has or lacks. Thus courage depends in some measure on vitality and therefore comes more easily to some people than to others; yet it is not unteachable. Some swimmers readily dive into the water, while others have to overcome a deep inner resistance, but most people can acquire the necessary courage, especially if they begin at an early age. The same applies not only to other behavior that requires some physical courage but also to the moral courage that is needed to defy any compact majority. Courage always requires some self-


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 confidence, another trait that, like courage itself and all of the other virtues, admits of degrees. There is no virtue without courage; humbition requires courage (the counsel of timidity is to lie low instead of risking failure) ; love takes courage (fear shrinks at the prospects of rejection, loss, or disappointment); and honesty is not for those who are afraid of losing friends or cherished illusions.

Love, as a cardinal virtue, is the habit of trying to imagine how others feel and what they think; to share their griefs and hurts at least in some small measure; and to help. Again, there are degrees. It is not a question of all or nothing, of loving or hating, of being either courageous or cowardly.

While this is obvious in the case of the other virtues, many people are reluctant to admit it in the case of honesty. They see readily that courageous and cowardly are. epithets that we apply in extreme cases, and that people who are not courageous are not necessarily cowards. But people who would wistfully admit that they are not courageous feel insulted if one questions their honesty as if Hamlet had not been painfully right when he said: To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man pickd out of ten thousand. The reasons for this confusion are of some importance, and I shall consider honesty at length in chapter 7, along with the reasons one can give for the four virtues.

Humbition involves a sense of ones limitations, accompanied not by resignation but by the aspiration to rise to a higher level of being. Those whose ambitions are petty can realize them and feel satisfied. Those whose aspirations are loftier keep feeling how far they fall short of their standards, but keep trying. They are too proud to be satisfied with their achievements. They are their own severest critics.

I am not proposing that we go back to the Greeks. They tended to see no fault in self-satisfaction. In Aristotles ethics, the great-souled man is the paragon of virtue. He tells others how well he thinks of himself, and this is not considered a fault because he has good reason to be proud. One is reminded of Socrates Apology and, even more, Homers Achilles. It was the Orphics and the mystery cults and, above all, Christianity that spread the sense of guilt as far as they reached. Modem man is led to wonder whether a culture without guilt feelings can even be imagined. Most modem readers simply fail to see that the heroes of the Iliad feel no guilt. Again, Achilles is the outstanding example. Even when old King Priam comes to him at night to ask for the return of Hectors corpse, Achilles feels no guilt for having dishonored the corpse and dragged it through the dust behind his chariot. Neither did he feel guilty when his wrath caused the death of thousands, nor when he was even more directly responsible for the death of his best friend, Patroclus. Now he has Hectors body cleaned, not because he feels either shame or guilt, but, as Homer goes out of his way to explain, for a very different reason. If Priam saw the corpse in its pitiful condition, he might say things that would rekindle Achilles wrath and lead him to kill the old man and thus outrage the gods. Achilles has no guilt feelings and is fond of telling others that


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 he is superior to all. What I propose is not a return to Homer. We should replace guilt feelings with humbition.


Guilt is inner-directed, shame other-directed, while humbition and self-criticism are autonomous. Thus guilt feelings arise when an initially external authority the voice of ones parents, for example has been internalized. These feelings issue from an inner voice, the so-called bad conscience. The person whose morality is of this type can be sublimely independent of the opinions of his peers, nor does it spell absolution if he knows that his actual parents, out there, do not consider him guilty at all. What matters is their voice inside him, which has gained a life of its own and become tyrannical.

The person whose morality is oriented toward shame rather than guilt is concerned about what his peers will think, out there. He fears being embarrassed, humiliated, laughed at, despised. It might be thought that guilt feelings arise typically when one feels that one does not live up to the expectations of others, and that guilt feelings are therefore other-directed. But this suggestion rests on faulty observation. The person who cares deeply about the opinion of his peers and about the expectations they have concerning his performance is likely to feel deep shame when he lets them down. Guilt feelings are much more likely to arise vis--vis ones parents, especially if one feels that they have made great sacrifices and that they therefore deserved better even if they themselves do not feel that way. Guilt is tied to desert; shame is not.

Those who have fallen short of their own high standards in painting, writing, or sports are clearly sensible when they do not feel guilty, nor need they feel shame. It is reasonable for them to try to criticize their own performance carefully, to ask themselves what went wrong, and to map strategies for doing better next time. And if there is no next time and the failure is somehow irrevocable, they may well feel keen regret, but they would be unreasonable and neurotic if they felt guilty. Is the situation basically different in the case of moral failures? Why do so many people assume that moral failures call for guilt feelings?

This distinction between two kinds of failures is deeply ingrained in our civilization, and millions are firmly persuaded that there is a profound and obvious difference but cannot give any convincing account of it. They are apt to say that not only sports but also writing and painting are relatively trivial and not all that important, or that failures in such endeavors are merely technical and cause no suffering to others, while moral failures do. It remains unclear why guilt feelings, if admittedly


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 inappropriate in one area, are called for in the other. Not all moral failures cause suffering, while many technical failures cause great suffering for example, some of the failures of doctors, surgeons, nurses, lawyers, judges, politicians, officers, policemen, teachers, architects, stockbrokers, and mechanics. It is obviously much harder to train people to avoid serious failures in such fields as these than it is to educate them to avoid theft, murder, perjury, and rape. If technical competence can be taught without inculcating guilt feelings, moral competence must be teachable, too, without recourse to guilt.

Our illustrations also show that the difference between moral and so-called technical failures cannot be that the latter are of no great importance for the survival of a society. The line between the area in which guilt feelings are held to be indispensable and the area in which they are admittedly inappropriate is exceedingly hard to draw, and under these circumstances the intuitive certainty that we cannot dispense with guilt feelings has little force.

How, then, can one account for this intuitive certainty? First, wrongs that in our culture were at one time believed to be transgressions of divine law were considered sinful, and it was axiomatic that whoever sinned was guilty and deserved to be punished. Thus a Jew who has been brought up on the notion that it is sinful to eat ham will usually feel guilty when he does eat ham, long after he has lost his religious convictions. And few actions elicit more profound guilt feelings than masturbation.

Second, the easiest way to impose ones will on others is to imbue them with fear and guilt: fear that they will be punished if they disobey, and guilt feelings even when no punishment materializes. Priests have not only inculcated guilt feelings but have also devised various rituals to remove them rituals that, however diverse, have one feature in common: they deepen the dependency of the poor guiltridden flock upon the priest.

The easiest way to manipulate others is not necessarily the best way, nor does it happen to be as efficient as is widely supposed. Certainly guilt feelings have not kept people from masturbating. But it is far easier to tell a child that anyone who does a certain thing deserves to be punished than it is to give good reasons for not doing it. Hence parents, and whole cultures, frequently rely on guilt feelings precisely in connection with prohibitions for which they cannot furnish rational justifications.



Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 The proposal to replace guilt feelings with humbition spells relief from some very painful confusions. When John F. Kennedy was killed, Americans were told from many sides first by a Christian minister that all of them were guilty. But they were not. And if anyone should insist that in some way you were responsible and that if only you had behaved differently in some way the President might not have been assassinated, you should reply that there are degrees of responsibility, and that it will not do to disregard the difference between significant and more or less fictitious responsibilities.

Oddly, guilt feelings often flourish on the ground of fictitious responsibilities. The proverbial white liberal has guilt feelings about black slavery and squirms under taunts that his ancestors kept slaves even if his ancestors never did anything of the sort. Should the descendants of those blacks in Africa who sold their brothers to Arab slave traders, and the descendants of the Arab slave traders, feel guilty? Clearly, the proverbial white liberal is confused. He would do well to transcend his guilt feelings, and this need not keep him from working for civil rights.

We must distinguish between guilt and responsibility. We cannot dispense with the concept of responsibility, which will be discussed at greater length in a later chapter. It does not follow from any of my arguments that it is irrational for a person to say: You can rely on me; I accept this responsibility. On the contrary, something is wrong with those who will not accept responsibilities. Now, if one has accepted responsibility and failed, one may be (but need not always be) responsible for the failure. Even if one is responsible for it, it does not follow that one should feel guilty, although in German one would say, meine Schuld, which may seem to mean mea culpa, my guilt but which really need not mean more than my fault. We cannot dispense with the concept of my fault or my responsibility, but we should transcend the notion of my guilt.

Let us try to work out more fully the contrast between my fault and my guilt. Each of these two concepts belongs to a little family of related terms, and it may be useful to juxtapose them in two columns. The family in the first column is under criticism here, while that in the second column might replace it.

past-oriented future-oriented guilt fault remorse regret contrition humbition self-accusation self-criticism


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 wallowing planning

The wish to have the past different is understandable but irrational. If it actually were different, much else would be different, too. As a passing fancy, such a wish requires no censure, but if it is pursued seriously, it leads one into confusion and inconsistency, or to a pervasive negation of oneself and the world. And those who say no to themselves rarely say yes to others. Or, to put the point more concretely, those who torment themselves hardly ever manage to give others joy.

Those who say my fault regret what they have done without plunging into remorse. Remorse comes from the Latin remordere, to bite again, and thus offers us the same image as the German Gewissensbiss, the bite of conscience, and Agenbite of Inwit, familiar to many of us from James Joyces Ulysses. Remorse is a gnawing torment, a way of punishing oneself for a wrong done in the past, a form of self-torture of which one might say, using Biblical language, that it is one of those things that do not profit. Similarly, contrition involves signs of grief or pain. But prolonged and insistent self-reproach and mental anguish move people in the wrong direction.

Regret is admittedly a rather weak and colorless word, deflated by abundant social usage. What is needed is a combination of humble regret with a resolve to change. What is crucial is to liberate oneself from the tyranny of an irrevocable past and to ask what can be done here and now and tomorrow.


The contrast of past-oriented and future-oriented attitudes may be too Manichaean. Clearly, there is more of a continuum than a listing in two columns might suggest. And the existentialist version of guilt feelings has its place somewhere near the middle: guilt feelings are emphasized and extolled, but they are justified in large measure in terms of what might become of the individual.

Obviously; I have no quarrel with the future-oriented aspect of the existentialist position. What I reject is the contention that guilt feelings are required to bring about what Buber calls the unfolding of ones best qualities. Not only are they not required, but they impede ones chance of becoming that being which realizes our highest predispositions. It is actually the existentialists who operate with a Manichaean scheme of two modes of existence: authentic and inauthentic. Here Bubers I and Thou (1923) and Heideggers Being and Time (1927) are similar. And the later Buber agrees with the early


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Heidegger that guilt feelings can summon one out of inauthentic existence and become the turning point of a life.

There is no basis for the generalization that those who remove the thorn of remorse and self-torment also destroy irrevocably the chance that a profound self-examination opens up for an advance to a higher level of existence. Of course, it is possible for a person who has seriously wronged another to become reconciled to that fact all too easily and to remain essentially the same person he or she was before. It is also possible to turn an experience of that sort into a new point of departure, planning how one can make it up to the person one has wronged and especially if it is too late for that how one can make it up to humanity.

Weighing just how much one owes the other person or humanity would be absurd, though no more absurd than worrying and fretting a great deal about how much blame one really deserves. What makes good sense is asking yourself what mistakes, if any, you have made, how you might do better in the future, and perhaps also what sort of advice you could give others in situations resembling the one in which you have failed.

The difference between guilt feelings and humbition is not by any means a mere matter of words. What is at stake is an altogether different outlook and direction of the personality.

Guilt feelings involve a refusal to accept that what is done is done. The person who nourishes them is stuck at some point in the past and cannot go on beyond that point to build a future. He rejects his past deed and his present self, and he supposes in his Manichaean way that the alternative is to applaud his past deed and to congratulate his present self, which would by evil. In sum, he is caught in the spurious alternative between the bad conscience and the good conscience. I reject the good conscience as well as the bad.

An intellectual conscience need not be either good or bad. Rather, the person who has it is conscientious, thoughtful, and sensitive. One should think of the social conscience in the same way: to have a good social conscience would be tantamount to having no social conscience, but it does not follow that one must have a bad social conscience and feel guilty. The person with a social conscience that is not morbid is concerned about the sufferings of the oppressed. This point can be extended to conscience in general. The person with humbition has a conscience, but neither a good conscience nor a bad conscience. He cultivates self-criticism, finds fault with some of his past deeds and omissions, realizes that but for those deeds and omissions he would be a different person now, in a different


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 situation, and accepts his present self and situation (and by extension also his past) provisionally as the raw material of his future.

Those who assume that they must feel guilty until someone else forgives them are clearly not autonomous. They look to someone else to remove their guilt. Others, refusing to lean on anyone else, find nobody to grant them forgiveness and feel guilty their lives long. The autonomous forgive themselves, but not everyone who forgives himself is autonomous.

It is nobler to blame and resent oneself than to blame and resent others, but it is nobler yet to rise above resentment. This is a normative and hortatory statement, but it is easily transposed into the descriptive mode. Not only are there free-floating guilt feelings in search of a transgression feelings that may have arisen in the first place in the way described by Kafka but resentment is an emotion that is typically free-floating, like a smoldering fire that flares up whenever you supply it with a suitable object. Guilt feelings are a form of resentment. The person who harbors them is therefore a menace. The person, on the other hand, who can accept himself provisionally will find it easier to be generous to others.

It may be objected that if the head of a government had ordered the destruction of large numbers of civilians in another country, he ought to feel guilty. But my arguments imply that there is no good reason why he should. Any guilt feelings he might have would not enhance in the slightest either his moral stature or the well-being of others. What would enhance both? Stringent self-criticism and the decision to use all his powers to prevent similar crimes in the future.


Are guilt feelings nevertheless necessary for the protection of society? If this sort of punishment were not assured even when the law does not catch one, wouldnt most people, or at least a great many people, behave still worse than they do now?

In the 1950s students were asking the very same question about belief in hell. And then about belief in God. Now that relatively few students or readers of a book like this would press such a question about either hell or God, one must ask whether guilt feelings are not the last dike.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Seeing that even the certainty of eternal torment did not keep people from murder and perjury, theft, burglary, and fraud, it seems exceedingly implausible that the fear of self-torment and guilt feelings should be a powerful deterrent now. You may object that committing those crimes did not entail the certainty of everlasting tortures; one could hope for absolution. True enough, but conscience is even less unbending than the church.

Remorse can be a rack, but those who suffer on it are hardly ever those who have committed crimes against humanity or who have seriously wronged their fellow men. As a rule, the bad conscience catches only minor offenders, while major criminals escape its grasp, and often it punishes those who are virtually innocent.

Thus the question that I have set out to answer involves a false premise, namely, that guilt feelings do protect society. There is no evidence that they accomplish much in this way. Nor is there any reason to believe that raising children on humbition would accomplish less. I should think that humbition would prevent antisocial conduct better than guilt feelings, but I obviously cannot prove that.

Still, a few examples may help us to understand the alternatives better. A surgeon who keeps worrying about how much blame he deserves in this case or that, and whether he could or should have known better, becomes a neurotic menace. In order to do his job well and help his fellow men he must be selfcritical without losing self-confidence. Of course, operating on people is not like playing chess, and we understand readily how some people would say that, unlike a chess champion who has lost a game, a surgeon who has made a grave error ought to feel remorse. This is traditional wisdom, but for the protection of society it would be far better if the surgeon asked himself when, where, and why he had failed; how he could improve his competence; and how he could teach young colleagues to guard against the mistakes that he has made.

In the case of surgeons it is clearly better and safer to rely on their humbition than to count on their fear of guilt feelings. The same is true of other professionals. But will humbition keep people from committing crimes? Obviously, not so reliably that society can dispense with the police, with courts, and with other deterrents. But insofar as education can deter people, it seems entirely reasonable to trust in humbition along with honesty and love and courage. Raising children on these virtues and teaching pupils the habit of self-criticism, high standards of honesty, and fellow feeling for other human beings would make for a better society than does the traditional emphasis on guilt feelings.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Moreover, in line with a point made before, one cannot neatly divide education between the moral and nonmoral spheres. Why do most of us never kick dogs? For moral reasons or perhaps aesthetic reasons? We could scarcely say why because we simply do not feel tempted to do such a nasty thing. But our reason for not doing it even when we are angry and feel like letting off steam is certainly not that we are afraid of the pangs of remorse. On reflection we can say why: it would not fit in with the habits we have developed. And if we deliberately ask ourselves whether we should not cultivate this new habit and take up kicking dogs, we can easily think of more good reasons for not doing that than for doing it.


Even those who would like to rise above guilt may well wonder whether they can. Perhaps the cases that involve some tangible wrong are not the hardest cases; if you are persuaded by the arguments offered here, you know where self-criticism must commence and what kinds of plans are needed. The most irrational guilt feelings are more intractable because it is not at all clear what requires criticism. Some people need outside help to understand their feelings. Consider two representative types.

The first is the case of the survivor. Martin Luther is said to have gone into the monastery after a close friend was stabbed to death at his side. It seems that after this experience his guilt feelings became overpowering and he came to feel that he no longer had a right to his own life. This case may seem to be very unusual, but it is merely exceptionally dramatic; the basic syndrome is extremely common. The death of a person who was close to one often prompts acute guilt feelings. The survivor fails to see how, if the other person died, he deserves to live, and he feels that he doesnt.

In our time this experience is not confined to those who have recently lost a loved one. Millions who survived World War II and realize how many others did not, have guilt feelings. The intensity of these feelings depends on ones sensitivity and on ones closeness to those who died. Those who did not know anyone who died in a concentration camp or in some battle or in a bomb raid may not qualify as survivors in the relevant sense. In those who lost many who were very close to them, guilt feelings are apt to be strong; and if some of ones closest relatives or friends died under dreadful circumstances under ones eyes, the sense of guilt is likely to be overpowering.

Is it any help to be told that the inference that one deserves to die or, failing that, to suffer terribly, is invalid? Is it any help to be told that the notion of desert is quite confused? In most cases it probably does not help much to be told that once. But it would be stupid to go to the opposite extreme and claim that arguments and books never helped anyone. When one is in a receptive frame of mind because prior


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 beliefs have been shaken up or, in the present case, because one really would like to shed ones guilt feelings, a book can help.

The arguments must be thought through, digested, lived with. They must lead to a re-examination of ones life and ones place in the world. Obviously, we did not deserve a better fate than millions who died horribly. Nor can we hope to earn the right to our survival after the event. Desert is out of the picture. The world is capricious and cruel, and some of the most admirable human beings suffer hideously while many of the most unconscionable flourish. The question facing us is what we can do with the incubus within us that keeps burrowing into the past and gnawing at our vitals. A liberated human being redirects his thoughts and energies toward the future, toward a worthy project not just any project, not mere therapy. A merely therapeutic project would make a mockery of our survival, as if what mattered now were merely easing our pain and being comfortable. Humbition aims higher and asks to what extent our own particular experience might be turned to advantage.

Confronted with the blatant cruelty of the world, it is difficult not to resent the world and ones own complicity. To rage against the universe is madness, though most of those who have not experienced this madness again and again lack depth. To submit is unworthy. Autonomy does not bow in defeat; it asks how the experience that breeds guilt feelings in others might give us the power to do for humanity what, but for this experience, neither we nor anyone might have accomplished. Thus survivors have expanded the conscience of their fellow men by writing The First Circle, Cancer Ward, The Painted Bird, and Night.

The second, equally representative case illustrates the same themes. I shall call it the case of the beautiful garden. Suppose you were offered a chance to live in a lovely place, in the middle of a large garden, with a view of lakes and mountains. You had no chores to do; the company was splendid, the food excellent, and whenever you felt like it you could take walks or swim. If you had some project and wanted to write, that, too, could be easily arranged. Considering the condition of most of your fellow men, should you poison this paradise with guilt feelings? It is the thrust of my whole argument that you should not, but that you would be lacking in humanity and love if you considered the situation quite unproblematic. I am against the good conscience and the bad, but not against having a social conscience.

This case may look unrepresentative, but actually most professors and students, as well as legions of other writers and readers, live, at least figuratively speaking, in a beautiful garden. They live in a protected environment that shuts out the misery in which so many millions suffer. For anyone in the garden to feel that he deserved his good fortune would be really insufferable. To torment oneself with


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 self-reproaches or to make life in the garden disagreeable for the other guests because nobody deserved to be so well off, would be stupid and help no one. What course remains?

The case is very similar to that of the survivor. It is a common mistake to think of either case as somehow quite exceptional. Every one of us is a survivor, and most writers and readers have always dwelt in gardens. Desert is a confused notion, and the world is cruel and capricious. The question facing us is what we are to do with the opportunities that come our way.

One answer is: Refuse them because they are not offered to everyone. Show your solidarity with your fellow men by not entering the garden; or, if you are inside, leave. This answer makes sense, unless you could help your fellow men more by using the opportunities offered you. If you could, but leave nevertheless to soothe your conscience, you are weak and place your peace of mind above the welfare of your fellow men.

The best solution is to find a project that will benefit humanity, in line with your limited talents, and to make the most of your situation. If you can acquire or teach skills and knowledge in the garden or write books that may help others more than what you could accomplish outside, stay without remorse; and when you no longer can, leave without remorse.

That sounds very simple, yet I argued earlier that it is impossible to satisfy all claims. There is no just distribution of concerns, of energies, of time. Looking back over a year or more, we can never honestly say that we have done the best we could. Is there not ample reason, then, for self-reproach? For selfcriticism, yes; for self-reproach, no.

Whoever wants to accomplish something has to put on blinders, must refrain from running off in all directions, must be hard. He has to slight legitimate concerns.

It does not follow that he must deceive himself. On the contrary, the autonomous person does not become the slave of a project. He asks himself now and again whether his distribution of his time and energies is reasonable, given his standards, and whether these standards themselves stand up under scrutiny or whether he is a hypocrite. He wonders whether he might not have done this and whether he was responsible for that, but eventually puts aside these worries as best he can to get on with something more fruitful that, if all goes well, may benefit humanity more than continued selfexamination. But when he falls asleep, the blinders drop.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

It is in dreams that guilt feelings, if one was ever raised on them, survive the longest. Even the person who succeeds in putting an end to continued self-torment is quite apt to continue, at the very least for a while, to punish himself in his dreams. He may know that he does not really have suffering coming to him; but when he falls asleep, he forgets.

Some apologists for guilt will grasp at dreams and treat them as authorities when they can be used in support of guilt. But this involves a double standard. Sophocles Jocasta told Oedipus that in his dreams many a man has lain with his own mother, and Plato, too, said that in dreams the part of the soul that is not rational does not shrink from attempting to lie with a mother or with anyone else, man, god, or brute. It is ready for any foul deed of blood, and . . . falls short of no extreme of folly. . . If it is the irrational elements in us that find expression in such wish-fulfilment dreams, why should we hesitate to consider our self-punishment dreams irrational, too? Only reason can decide what is irrational; and I have tried to show that guilt feelings are irrational.

None of this implies that we should ignore our dreams or that all dreams are equally irrational. A person may repress guilt feelings simply because they are painful, and he may persuade himself that he was not at fault when in fact he was. In his dreams he may punish himself for faults that, when awake, he would deny. He must still ask his reason to help him decide to what extent he was responsible and, more important, what it would be best for him to do now.


To charge a person with guilt is to judge that he deserves to be punished. To tell him that he has made a mistake, or even that he has grievously wronged another human being, does not imply that he deserves to be punished. Nevertheless I have argued that we need to retain the institution of punishment for future-oriented reasons. To live together, people have to prohibit some kinds of conduct, and prohibitions without penalties are ineffective in the face of temptation. If we always waived all penalties, the law would cease to deter men, and the kind of conduct that we sought to prevent would flourish. Hence we punish offenders, but we should not insist that they deserve their punishment. Some of them may well be morally superior to the prosecutor, the judge, and the prison guards. But arent the prisoners, or at any rate most of them, guilty, while the prosecutor, judge, and guards are innocent? This is the kind of Manichaean simplicity that I have tried to transcend.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 If desert and guilt are out of the picture, does it not follow that we might as soon punish the innocent as the guilty whenever that would seem to promote the good of society? Or rather, since I have rejected guilt and innocence: might we not punish those who have not broken a law and claim falsely that they did? Since honesty is one of my four cardinal virtues, I obviously should not do that. Nor do I believe that such dishonesty would promote the good of society. (I shall return to this point in the last two chapters.) If we admitted honestly that we were punishing for a breach of the law a person who in fact had not broken it at all, we would undermine the law by making clear that one might as well break it because one stands to be punished either way.

Thus we can dispense with the concept of guilt even in court. Instead of asking for a plea of guilty or not guilty, we should ask the accused whether he admits having broken the law. To ask Antigone, Thoreau, Gandhi, or King whether they admit their guilt involves an absurd presumption. Nor is it up to a jury or judge to pronounce anyone guilty, as if the accused deserved punishment.

Similarly, the person who feels guilty feels that he deserves to suffer, while those who are convinced that they have done wrong do not necessarily feel that they deserve any punishment. Guilt feelings themselves are a form of self-torment; but usually the self-punishment does not stop with guilt feelings. Often they are more diffuse than indicated so far rather like a depression. Once you feel depressed, you think of things that are depressing, but you do not think of all the reasons for feeling depressed. Frequently, the main reason that brought on your depression in the first place does not rise to consciousness. As long as it does not, you are trapped in your melancholy. It is similar when you feel guilty. You dwell on things that might warrant your guilt feelings but often do not come to grips with the primary cause. In fact, many a depression may well be a form of guilt feelings, a way of punishing oneself.

It would be wrong, however, to think of guilt feelings as mainly very private. Nor is it sufficient to stress how dangerous they are for those who live close by. There is also a politics of guilt. A detailed description would lead us too far afield, but a few observations and three illustrations may at least suggest its dimensions.

In the 1960s it became the fashion for radicals to taunt liberals for their guilt feelings, but a great many radicals suffer from the same affliction, and radical politics has been the worse for that. Too often it has been dictated by the need to assuage ones guilt feelings instead of being future-oriented and goaldirected. But bearing witness is not even an effective therapy; it is merely a palliative that offers temporary relief and becomes addictive. More important, politics of this sort is frequently


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 counterproductive; so far from bringing society closer to ones avowed aims, it is as irrational as the sense of guilt that prompted it and plays into the hands of the opposition.

In the last volume of her autobiography, Simone de Beauvoir describes the demonstrations in the streets of Paris in which she and Sartre participated frequently to protest the Algerian war. A woman vomits. Someone else comments: Shes always like that. I asked why she didnt stay at home. Ah! Then she gets such a bad conscience about it, it makes her even sicker than being scared does. Of course, participation in demonstrations was not prompted solely by the need to assuage guilt feelings. In her epilogue the author says: This relatively monastic life . . . does deprive me of a certain warmth which I was able to re-experience with such joy [I] during the demonstrations of the past few years. I am afraid that most such demonstrations are motivated primarily by guilt feelings and a need for community or in one word, therapy. It would be a coincidence if this politics of guilt worked against shrewd politicians; as a rule it does not.

De Beauvoir also describes at length how during those years Sartres self-destructive fury brought him very close to death, and she relates how Frantz Fanon, one of the most influential radicals of our time, was not even content to make Sartre feel guilty: Fanon could not forget that Sartre was French, and he blamed him for not having expiated that crime sufficiently. It should be kept in mind that not a voice in France was more persistent or more eloquent in its indictment of French policy than was that of Sartre, who also got Fanons book The Wretched of the Earth published and contributed a long preface. But Fanon would demand expiation. . . by martyrdom! There is no need here to analyze Fanons guilt feelings. Suffice it that this story shows how irrational and dangerous people with strong guilt feelings can be.

Finally, consider the double-think into which her guilt feelings led Simone de Beauvoir herself. She describes her vivid sense that

all those people in the streets. . . were all murderers, all guilty. Myself as well. Im French. For millions of men and women, old men and children, I was just one of the people who were torturing them, burning them, machine-gunning them, slashing their throats, starving them; I deserved their hatred.

As if this were not irrational enough, the author says later, speaking of the U.S.S.R.: The sons were covertly blaming their fathers for having supported Stalinism; what would they have done in their place?


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 They had to live; they lived. In other words, those who supported Stalinism should not be blamed for that; but those Frenchmen who, like the author herself and Sartre, spoke out boldly against the French government were all guilty. To understand this double standard, which is in evidence throughout her otherwise brilliant book, one must not only recall Sartres pronouncement that Russia is not comparable to other countries, but one must also understand why de Beauvoir and Sartre felt that way. Their attitude toward the U.S.S.R. is incomprehensible apart from their sense of guilt for being so well off. For years they kept trying to believe, although their critical reason occasionally made this rather difficult for them, that the Soviet Union, even during Stalins terror, was the best friend of the workers and the dispossessed and starving. Any word that might possibly give aid or comfort to the enemies of Russia would therefore involve a betrayal of the poor, and it was only by at least avoiding treason of this sort that they could barely manage to live with their guilt.

These reflections on the politics of guilt should call attention to some of the social implications of the problem. De Beauvoir provides us with a helpful distance, a brilliantly presented record of events, and exceptional moral sensitivity. My criticisms should not obscure my admiration for her book.

The apologists of guilt often repulse all criticism with the old ploy of the theologians: the loaded alternative, alias Manichaeism. We used to be told that we had to choose between Christianity and crude materialism. Now those who defend guilt are wont to claim that the alternative is to have no concern for our fellow men and no compunction about rape or murder. They think that if you have no sense of guilt you are a psychopath.

Admittedly, there are some people whose social conscience depends on resentment and is ultimately rooted in self-hatred. When they make progress with their analyst and manage to have a satisfying sexual relationship, their political activism ebbs away. People of this type are rather like the earnest students of a decade or two earlier who used to say that a person who does not believe in God (or hell) simply has no reason for not committing rape or murder. They were deeply troubled and afraid of what they themselves might do if they ever lost their faith. Millions have discovered that one can care for ones fellow men and refrain from monstrous crimes without belief in hell or God. Surely, self-criticism and a social conscience can survive the death of guilt.

Finally, it may be objected that only excessive guilt feelings are a menace, and that the same is true of a complete lack of such feelings, and that we really need a moderate dosage. A middling amount is admittedly less harmful than a heavy dose, but a study of the latter shows more clearly how the poison works. My position does not depend on advocating a good conscience in place of the bad conscience,


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 nor a lack of conscience. The good effects that are claimed for guilt feelings can be had without this poison. To liberate oneself, one must break the chains of guilt. 46

MORALITY WITHOUT GUILT does not mean morality without pain. Autonomy precludes guilt feelings, but it involves a sense of alienation.

Alienation is a word that has been used to designate so many different conditions that nobody could argue that we need them all. One might suppose that nobody could be against all of them either. Yet the seminal books about the subject have such a Manichaean flavor that it has become a commonplace that all forms of alienation are deplorable.

Unquestionably, some of the phenomena for which the term has been used are pathological, notably alienation in the psychiatric sense: a state of severe depression in which one finds no meaning in any activity and lacks the energy to relate to anybody or anything. That we do not need, and it is well to remember that alienation has long been a psychiatric term, and psychiatrists actually used to be called alienists. But my claim that we need alienation does not depend on a marginal use of the term. What I mean is the condition of feeling estranged above all, from ones fellow men, but also from the universe, and from oneself. I shall argue that alienation is the price of self-consciousness, autonomy, and integrity.

This thesis has the air of paradox because a false view of alienation has come to be widely accepted. As I defend my thesis, I shall attack three popular errors:

1. That all alienation is bad. 2. That alienation is a distinctively modern phenomenon. 3. That alienation is a function of capitalism, or at least of advanced industrial society.

Occasionally it is admitted that some alienation can be found in the past, too; but then one usually adds that alienation today is far worse and almost total.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Many people who take for granted the first error, or the first two possibly with the qualification just mentioned would stop short of the third, but I shall attack all three.

How did these errors come to be accepted so widely? All three go back to the early manuscripts of Karl Marx, but won wide acceptance, along with the term itself, only during the cold war and even then not in the Soviet Union or in China. In other words, what is widely accepted as dogma or common sense today was anything but a commonplace during the first half of the twentieth century.

There is no need here to trace at length the development from Marx to the present; but to place my critique in some historical perspective I shall at least distinguish three stages in the evolution of alienation. Although the term can be found in the works of a few earlier writers, its startling career begins with Hegel. A whole chapter, one hundred nineteen pages long, in his first book (1807) bore the title Spirit alienated from itself: education. But he did not commit the three errors, and Hegel scholars so consistently ignored his profuse employment of the term that it was not even listed in a four-volume Hegel-Lexikon, published in the 1930s.

The second stage is represented by Marxs early Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, in which alienation is crucial. Here we find the three errors, but these papers were published only in 1932, a year before Hitler came to power and put an end to the study of Marx in Germany.

The third stage was reached when a few refugees from Nazism, who sought a meeting ground for Marxism and existentialism, found it in the concept of alienation. Herbert Marcuse had dedicated his first book to Martin Heidegger, under whom he had studied; Hannah Arendt had studied with both of the leading German existentialists, Heidegger as well as Jaspers; Georg Lukacs had been influenced decisively by Kierkegaard; and in time all of them discovered that Marxs philosophy, like much of existentialist thinking, represents a protest against mans alienation. That is how Erich Fromm put the point in his introductory essay, when some of Marxs early manuscripts were finally published in the United States in 1961 under Fromms name! At that time an American publisher could still be persuaded that a new book by Fromm would have more appeal than the first publication in English of some of Marxs most important writings. It was also in Marxs Concept of Man that Fromm explained that the concept of alienation is . . . the equivalent of what in theistic language would be called sin. In other words, all alienation is bad. Along with a few other refugees from Nazism, the writers mentioned here propagated all three of the errors that I want to criticize.



Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

A brief analysis of the concept should help to dispel some confusions. Although such phrases as inalienable rights and alienation of affection may remind us that one can alienate something or somebody, our primary association with alienation is a human state of being the state of being alienated or estranged from somebody or something. It is in this sense that alienation has become a modish word, and it is only in this sense that it will be discussed here.

It follows that alienation always involves two terms, and it is always proper to ask who (A) is supposed to be alienated from what (B). Unless both terms can be specified, alienation has been misused. As a rule, A is specified; but a great deal of confusion results from the failure to specify B. It could be an individual, a group, other people in general, the society in which one lives, oneself or ones true self, nature, or the universe. The young Marx stressed alienation from ones work, from the product of ones labor, and from mans true nature or essence a concept that was central in his thought in 1844. He also applied the term to mans loss of independence, his impoverishment, and his estrangement from his fellow men; but above all to mans condemnation to labor that is devoid of all originality, spontaneity, and creativity. The last point was much the most important to his mind. Creativity was for him of the essence of man, and he considered mans alienation from that the root evil from which all the other evils were derived. The original sin was the dehumanization of man.

I have no quarrel with Marxs abhorrence of this dehumanization. If only he had stuck to that name dehumanization instead of paying homage to Hegels terminology and making so much of Entiiusserung and Entfremdung or, in one word, alienation! Actually, by 1848, in The Communist Manifesto, Marx himself denounced talk of alienation as philosophical nonsense, and after that he rarely used the term.

Marx had scathing words for those whose critique of capitalism was based on an appeal to distributive justice. Marxs concern was, in effect, with the self-realization of man or, in a sense, with freedom and autonomy. He hated capitalism because it reduced the growing laboring class to a condition that made a mockery of self-realization, freedom, and autonomy. He was still sufficiently under the influence of the Old Testament and Rousseau, Kant, and Hegel to feel that man was somehow destined to be autonomous and free that this was mans true nature, and that the reduction of men to mindless instruments involved the alienation of man from his essence.

It is ironical that Marxs early manuscripts should have been used to build a bridge between Marxism and existentialism, considering that Sartre defined existentialism in terms of its denial of the claim that man has an essence. Yet the young Marx and the young Sartre were not really diametrically opposed. 109

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 The early Sartre insisted that man lacked the solidity of things and was condemned to be free. Sartre tried to show how men continually succumb to bad faith, hiding their frightening freedom from themselves and seeing themselves as if they were mere things as if, for example, one were a waiter or a coward the way a ball is red or round, and there was nothing one could do about it. Sartres extravagant emphasis on mans complete freedom was a bracing challenge to his early readers, but it was at odds not only with Marxism but also with the facts of life. His growing awareness of the hollowness of some of his rhetoric and of the ways in which the starving and oppressed are not completely free his social conscience, in short led him to reconsider; and we have seen how his guilt feelings led him to seek a rapprochement with Marxism. But even his early existentialism could have been formulated in terms of a concept of human nature. He might have said, and so might Marx: By nature, man is free; yet everywhere he is in chains.

The young Marx and the early Sartre: two variations on Rousseau? Sartre much less so than Marx. For the early Sartre did not blame society, as Rousseau and the young Marx did; he blamed man himself, whose nature it is not only to be free but also to conceal his freedom from himself and to lapse into bad faith.

The main difference between the young Marx and the early Sartre is that Sartre concentrated on the psychological processes that lead men to see themselves as objects, as things, as unfree, while Marx decided to study the economic processes that lead to the same result. Marx saw the unfree as victims, while the early Sartre insisted that we are our own victims.

This difference runs deep. While the rhetoric of Sartres early existentialism was too optimistic insofar as it exaggerated mans freedom, the underlying view of man was more tragic. No revolution or reform could make men free; men dread freedom and try to hide their freedom from themselves. Unfortunately, Sartre inherited from the two famous German philosophers who had been his mentors, Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, a bias against psychology, and he felt free to pursue psychology only under the guise of ontology the pseudoscience of being. Marx, a century earlier, did not do psychology at all and, like Kant and Hegel, worked with unexamined assumptions about human nature. Partly as a result of this dual heritage from Marxism and existentialism, much of the literature on alienation has an oddly unscientific and unempirical quality. But Marxs peculiar use of the word alienation has had two more specific consequences that are most unfortunate.

First, in the seminal books by the authors mentioned above, alienation from oneself, which is an intricate and difficult subject, is constantly confounded with other forms of alienation, and as a result, neither alienation from oneself nor alienation from others is understood very well. I have chosen a


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 different path and have discussed mans dread of freedom separately, analyzing ten strategies of decidophobia, and now I shall consider phenomena that are more properly called forms of alienation.

The second point is no less important. An apologist for Marx might say: In societies past and present people have been led to believe that they were puppets at the mercy of mysterious forces, and Marx aimed to show that we are not puppets and that these forces are actually produced by man. Obviously, my quarrel is not with this idea. I applaud Marxs central concern with human autonomy. What I attack is his fateful misuse of the concept of alienation. By using alienation to designate the condition in which man is deprived of autonomy, Marx kept himself (as well as those who followed his lead) from seeing how alienation from others is the price of autonomy. But it is high time to show that it really is.


We must ask not only from whom or what someone is supposed to be alienated but also what would constitute the absence of this alienation. What would a nonalienated person be like? If he found no group of people, nothing about the society in which he lived or about the universe, at all strange, one could scarcely call him a person. Or if one did, one would have to add that his state was pathological and bordered on idiocy.

Self-consciousness involves a sense of what is alien. Yet people do not speak of alienation when a child begins to ask questions, for it is clearly the child who does not ask questions that one has to worry about. As long as it is assumed that all alienation is bad, one naturally would not think of applying the term to the pleasing curiosity of a child. But adolescence is our second childhood, and when students start asking questions about the societies in which they live or about the world, it is often said that they are alienated. A healthy child ought not to be satisfied with the reply that this is simply the way things are. Why should a healthy adolescent be satisfied with such an answer? Again, it is those who are easily satisfied that we should worry about, and it is grounds for melancholy that most people cease so soon to find the world strange and questionable.

There are two reasons for calling the adolescent who finds things exceedingly strange, alienated but not the child. First, one welcomes the questions of the three-year old because he is easier to handle, and one reserves a term that carries overtones of regret and disapproval for adolescents because one does not know what to do with their questions and their often caustic retorts. But then there is also another difference; in purely descriptive terms, the adolescent experience involves a deep and disturbing sense of estrangement, while the childs usually does not.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

We can now round out our analysis of alienation by specifying the relationship between A and B. I have given some reasons for rejecting the use of alienation as an antonym of autonomy or selfrealization. We should use alienation and estrangement as antonyms of feeling at home in or with B. The emotions accompanying this experience can vary greatly; sometimes resentment will predominate, sometimes despair, a sense of isolation, pain, defiance, calm curiosity, or a sense of comedy.

Alienation in the sense considered here is part of growing up. Self-consciousness cannot develop without it. Not only is the world other (to that extent, alienation is entailed logically by the development of self-consciousness), but the world is also extremely strange and cruel. Hence, as perception increases, any sensitive person will feel a deep sense of estrangement. Seeing how society is riddled with dishonesty, stupidity, and brutality, he wil1 feel estranged from society, and seeing how most of ones fellow men are not deeply troubled by all this, he will feel estranged from them. Nor are these the only reasons for estrangement from ones fellow men. After all, most of them are a rather sorry lot, and if we find ourselves unsatisfactory as well, that given some humbition wil1 not reconcile us to our fellow men but add a sense of alienation from ourselves to our plight.

The notion that those who are liberated from self-alienation in the Marxian sense will no longer suffer from any alienation is false. On the contrary, those whose self-consciousness and sensitivity are most fully developed are bound to be most deeply troubled by the world, society, their fellow men, and their own shortcomings. Where those who shut their eyes and lull their minds to sleep, as well as those reduced to brutishness in one way or another, find it possible to feel at home, the autonomous spirit who insists on keeping his eyes open to examine critically his own position and alternatives finds it impossible to feel at home.


If my conception of alienation is accepted, the three theses I have criticized are obviously wrong. Hence it may seem that I must have missed what all the talk about alienation is really about. It would be distracting to survey the vast literature on the subject, but in a book that makes so much of the importance of examining alternatives it would be odd if this discussion of alienation ignored the writings of the young Marx altogether. I shall therefore consider briefly two particularly influential passages from his writings before The Communist Manifesto. Neither of these passages was published by Marx himself, and the point is not to score against him but rather to understand why some people have been led to believe in the third error. In a study of Marx one might go on to explore how in his later work he varied 112

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 some of his early themes without speaking of alienation. In the present context, however, Marx concerns us only insofar as his ideas have colored contemporary notions about alienation.

Consider Marxs famous dream in The German Ideology:

As soon as the division of labor sets in, everybody has a determinate and exclusive sphere of activity that is imposed on him and from which he cannot escape. He is hunter, fisherman, or shepherd, or critical critic, and must remain that if he does not want to lose his livelihood while in Communist society. . . society regulates general production and thus makes it possible for me to do this today and that tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, to fish in the afternoon, to rear cattle in the evening, and to criticize after dinner, as I please, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd, or critic. This fixation of social activity, this consolidation of our own product into an objective power over us that outgrows our control, crosses our expectations, and nullifies our calculations, is one of the main features in the development of history so far . . .

What is here said vividly and memorably has influenced many subsequent discussions of alienation, although the term itself does not occur in this passage. Where alienation is understood as the antonym of self-realization, it is assumed that what Marx describes here is the alienation of modern man his loss of spontaneity and his reduction to a mere instrument and that what he envisages is mans ultimate triumph over alienation in Communist society. My main objection to all this is that it is an illicit and misleading use of alienation. But what about Marxs dream?

This dream has not come true in any Communist society, while it has been realized to a significant extent in the United States, where it is not at all unusual for one person to have a great many different jobs before he is thirty. Millions of students support themselves in a variety of ways during the academic year and then, during the summer, work in factories and freight yards, on construction jobs and in offices, having one job one summer and another the next. Moreover, it is not at all uncommon for people with all kinds of jobs to find the time to hunt or fish, and criticism is one of the most popular American sports, undoubtedly indulged in with greater frequency and less inhibition than in any Communist country. While it is doubtful whether many people manage to rear cattle in the evening, this part of Marxs vision only shows how some city-dwellers imagine bucolic bliss. It might even be considered evidence of Marxs alienation from nature.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Of course, this criticism will not faze anyone for whom the manuscripts of Marx are holy writ. After all, it is the first axiom of exegetical thinking (discussed in chapter 1, section 6) that if an authoritative text seems to be wrong, the exegesis must be inadequate, never the text. If the apologist is also a Manichaean, he will discredit uncomfortable arguments as coming from the forces of evil (see section 7) and say that I am waving the American flag.

To be sure, Marxs central concern was not with hunting or fishing; it was with the dehumanizing effects of the division of labor in advanced industrial society, and the restoration of spontaneity in Communist society. In the former, man is trapped in, and reduced to, one sole function; in the latter, man enjoys autonomy. This is Marxs version of the third great error.

If one wants to know whether this is really an error or whether Marx was right, one must look at the facts and see whether conditions in the United States, for example, bear him out.

As it happens, American society has many grievous faults, but the point at issue is one of its strengths. One of the most extreme examples of a society in which people are trapped in a job that is imposed upon them from outside is the preindustrial caste system of India. To a far lesser extent, Frenchmen in small towns and villages were at one time under enormous pressure to follow in their fathers footsteps. Advanced industrial society has brought some loosening of old structures. In the United States in particular, both lateral and vertical social mobility are relatively great, although I wish they were still greater.

In his Being and Nothingness, Sartre described a waiter who played at being a waiter in order to become wholly a waiter. Sartre claimed that society takes offense when a grocer is not wholly a grocer. Politeness demands that he limit himself to his function . . . That would be much less true in the United States than in France. An American waiter is much less likely to feel that his role defines or freezes him, or that it determines his relations with his fellow men. Nor do Americans demand that he limit himself to his function. He may well be a student, and if he is too old for that, there is no presumption even so that he was a waiter a year ago, or that he will be one next year. Those on whom he waits are apt to have waited on table themselves, or to have children who at this very moment have a similar job.

If we amalgamate the bad effects of the division of labor with altogether different experiences and call the lot alienation, we are hardly prepared to ask the questions that need to be asked. Problems must be sorted out before one can hope to solve them. Decidophobia, for example, has to be moved clearly


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 into focus before one can examine its major strategies. And in the present context, the practical questions that need to be faced are these.

First, can we eliminate boring jobs? The solution does not seem to depend on who owns the means of production. It depends on technical developments that require a high degree of specialization; particularly, on the future of automation.

Second, can we drastically reduce the number of hours per week that anyone has to spend on a boring job? Here some of the capitalistic countries have made great progress.

Third, can we shift people around so that nobody has to do the same boring job during all of his working hours? If one had to fish eight hours every day, one might well find that very trying. Could rotation reduce boredom? I expect that the resistance to any such change would come mainly from the unions and from those who might benefit from it. Those who hate routine are few. Most men desire amazingly little variety; witness what they do with their spare time. Any notion that most men, if only they had the time, would use it to reread Aeschylus tragedies every year, in the original Greek, as Marx did, is wildly romantic.

Fourth, can we change that by improving our educational system?


Marxs claim that in capitalistic society alienation must inevitably become worse and worse depends not only on a far-fetched use of the term but also on the influence of Hegel and Ludwig Feuerbach, in whose writings he had immersed himself before writing his Philosophical Manuscripts.

Hegel had used necessary again and again as a synonym of natural and an antonym of arbitrary or utterly capricious. Among German writers this confusion is common, and Marxs thought suffers severely from it.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Feuerbach had shown how man projects his best qualities into the deity until God becomes the quintessence of perfection and man a hopelessly imperfect sinner. Man strips himself of all that is good or strong in him to clothe God in goodness and strength, and the greater he makes God, the smaller he makes himself.

Marx gave this idea a surprising application in his early manuscript on Alienated Labor:

The alienation of the worker in his object finds expression as follows. . . : The more the worker produces, the less is there for him to consume; the more values he creates, the more he loses value and dignity; the more his product is shaped, the more misshapen the worker; the more civilized his object, the more barbarous the worker; the more powerful the work is, the more powerless becomes the worker; the more spirit there is in the work, the more devoid of spirit and a slave of nature the worker.

It is worth noting that the final clause is ungrammatical in the original German, and that the whole paragraph is placed in parentheses, for it is often forgotten that these early manuscripts are rough and unrevised drafts. Yet these ideas merit critical attention, for they are expressed again and again in the same fragment and in the other early manuscripts; and this is the birthplace of Marxs idea that the condition of the workers is bound to become more and more inhuman and intolerable until they revolt and, as Marx puts it in the climactic passage of Das Kapital, the expropriators are expropriated. Moreover, this passage on alienated labor has had a profound influence on the literature on alienation.

The passage is a fine example of Marxs early style, but the antitheses in which he liked to wallow are a kind of rhetoric and do not approximate a demonstration. What Marx here describes as an inevitable development is not what has actually happened in advanced industrial societies. Marxs view depends on the assumption that the worker is divested of the qualities that appear in his product so that its beauty, subtlety, and power leave him ugly, coarse, and weak. But if we forget about Hegel and Feuerbach, no reasons remain for considering this necessary.

Finally, if we call moronization alienation, instead of considering it as a phenomenon in its own right, we stand less chance of preventing it. Serious critics do not label everything they like groovy or divine; neither should serious writers be content to call most of the social phenomena they deplore alienation.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973


There is one other notion that has to be considered here lest it appear that I have missed the real import of the current vogue of alienation. The notion that things have never been worse than in our time looms large in the literature on alienation. Protracted polemics are apt to create the impression that they are prompted by some personal ill feeling. As an illustration I shall therefore choose Martin Bubers I and Thou, a book I have translated myself because I felt close to the author.

The immense popularity of this book during the second half of the twentieth century is due in part to the fact that the second of its three parts deals at length with alienation and suggests that ours is a sick age. Less and less do men see one another or a work of art or a tree as another You; more and more do they see their fellow men and works of art and trees as so many objects of experience and use. Half a century after the book was written, young readers consider these pages prophetic because they describe so perfectly the world in which we live. It does not occur to most of them that the world in which it was written was like that, too any more than it struck Buber himself that he implicitly glorified a past that had not been as different as he occasionally insinuated. He insisted that one cannot live entirely in I-You relationships, but he still wrote as if in the past there had been communities not tainted by sickness. Like others who speak in this vein, he failed to substantiate or even investigate this assumption.

Bubers book has a poetic quality that discourages analysis and criticism. But the same methodological scandal taints much of the literature on alienation. What we are witnessing is an understandable reaction against the blithe faith in progress that was in fashion in the nineteenth century. But the new antifaith in the unique alienation of modern man is as unsound and simplistic as the old faith in progress. The notion that things were never so good and are constantly getting better and the notion that things were never so bad and are steadily getting worse are entirely worthy of each other.

The truth of the matter is that things are and always have been terrible. And alienation has always been the price of autonomy.

The transition from one simplistic proposition to its opposite illustrates Hegels dialectic. To rise above such unsophisticated claims, we must inquire how what has become worse is related to what has become better.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

In brief, the sense of alienation has spread with the unprecedented expanse of education. To a large extent, this was inevitable. If the world and the societies we live in are, and always have been, abhorrent, brutal, and cruel, then it follows that the more one comes to know about them, the less can one feel at home in them. With an increase in self-consciousness and sensitivity, the sense of alienation deepens. If relatively few people had any profound sense of alienation in times past, while millions feel estranged today, this is not least because more people receive more education than formerly.

While even the best education must increase alienation, some aspects of the modern sense of alienation are due to the faults of modem education. Above all, education has bred utterly unrealistic expectations, and this is not necessary and could, and ought to, be changed. Not only have vast numbers of pupils been exposed after a fashion to great art, great novels, and to the achievements of great scientists, but pupils have also been encouraged to believe that they can paint and write as well as anyone, or make brilliant experiments and great discoveries. But men are not equal in talents, and this well-intentioned but misguided egalitarianism has resulted in the vast growth of a sense of disappointment. Naturally, one rarely questions the sacred dogma of egalitarianism, and instead of blaming oneself for ones failures, one blames society or the establishment, and feels alienated.

Modern education is also at fault in another way. Not only is it false that everyone has the gifts to become a competent composer, painter, novelist, or physicist, but the creative life is hard, and to find satisfaction in it requires an immense amount of self-discipline. But self-discipline has been neglected in modern education. The point is not that schools are not sufficiently disciplinarian. Most of them are too disciplinarian in unnecessary, petty ways and thus bring discipline into disrepute. What has not been stressed sufficiently is functional self-discipline: the need to master skills and subjects that one may not feel like learning but without which competence in ones chosen field cannot be had; humbition, the habit of relentless self-criticism, and perseverance.

Some forms of alienation could be avoided or at least diminished greatly by providing much less education a cure that would be worse than the disease. But other forms could be prevented or diminished by changing our educational philosophy: by not stimulating utterly unrealistic hopes; by teaching the self-discipline required for sustained creative work; and by preparing students for such jobs as actually are within their reach, while increasing their reach at the same time. Finally, education should prepare people for their rapidly increasing leisure time.



Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

While this last point is of immense importance, one may wonder what it has to do with alienation. One connection is fairly obvious: those who find genuine satisfaction in their leisure time are much less apt to feel the disappointment and resentment that it has become the fashion to call alienation. Creative use of ones leisure time, however, should not be considered a mere opiate. I shall discuss creativity at length in the last chapter. In connection with alienation it will be quite sufficient to consider for a moment the opposite of creative use of leisure hours: collapsing in front of a television set and watching or not even watching whatever fare is offered.

This is the ultimate in uncreative passivity. The viewer is offered mainly predigested pap, in a predetermined sequence, at a speed or rather lack of speed beyond his poor control, and his autonomy is reduced to switching channels.

Reading can be creative. I can reread a sentence or a passage; I can go back to look once more at what has gone before; I can make comparisons with other books, look up something, learn what I need, and then resume when I am ready. Interruptions of this sort are crucial elements in the rhythm that a scholar imposes on his reading. They are outward signs of discipline and creativity. When I read that way, I am autonomous.

The television watcher is at the mercy of his medium, and the frequent interruptions come at moments that are not of his own choosing. If he interrupts, or if he asserts himself by switching to find out what other channels have to offer him, he develops undisciplined habits that in many cases interfere eventually with other media. Thus people talk more than they used to during plays, movies, and lectures, or drop in on lectures and walk out on them as if autonomy consisted of a lack of discipline. Meanwhile, the commercials on TV have done their share to shorten the span of attention; more and more people need an interruption every fifteen minutes, whatever the medium might be. If being turned off easily is taken for a sign of alienation (the television metaphor is interesting), I am far from claiming that we need that sort of alienation.

I have argued that many of the most popular uses of the term are unfortunate. This becomes apparent when we ask, who is more alienated: a writer in America who does not have a television set, or those who spend much of their leisure time in front of theirs? The nonconformist is alienated from society and cuts himself off from the world in which most of his fellow men are dwelling. But for those who operate with some conception of mans true nature and assume that man is essentially creative, as the young Marx did, it should be clear that those who spend their spare time watching whatever fare is offered are self-alienated. 119

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

Anyone who spent art equal amount of time seeing films of comparable quality, or listening to lectures of such quality, might be said to be equally self-alienated. But (1) few people, if any, spend as much time week after week seeing film after film, or hearing lecture upon lecture, as watch TV. (2) It is doubtful whether enough films of comparable quality are available to many people. (3) Going to a film or lecture requires at least some exertion and a longer span of attention, hence a little more discipline. (4) Lectures usually come in sequences and require some active and at least minimally creative attempt at integration of different lectures and of a fair amount of reading. In practice, therefore, TV is especially debilitating and a good example of what certain writers might call alienation from oneself.These writers also often claim, falsely, that alienation from oneself is the most basic form of alienation from which all other forms are derived.

In fact, we have to choose between this kind of alienation from oneself and alienation from society. Total alienation is total nonsense. So is any dream of the total absence of alienation. The television addict and conformist are self-alienated; the writer without TV and the nonconformist are estranged from society and their fellow men. As the term is misused nowadays, our choice is not between being or not being alienated; it is rather between ways of life that involve different types of alienation.

In my terminology, self-alienation is the wrong label for the television addicts and conformists who feel at home with themselves. I have proposed a more restricted and discriminating use of alienation. When I say that alienation is the price of autonomy, I mean above all alienation from ones fellow men and society, but also a sense of estrangement from the universe and a critical attitude toward oneself.


I have spoken of the methodological scandal that those who propagate the two great errors that alienation is a distinctively modern phenomenon, and that it is a function of advanced industrial society have failed to examine preindustrial societies to see whether their contentions are born out by the evidence. I have insisted that things are and always have been terrible, and that alienation has always been the price of autonomy.

While my arguments seem to me to establish my case, it might help if we paused to have a look at preindustrial society. Those who believe that in such societies men are harmonious, happier, more intimate with nature, and more humane, ought to come to grips with the abundant evidence to the


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 contrary, ranging from the Mayas to the Aztecs to the Cretans in Nikos Kazantzakiss Zorba the Greek and the Indian village in Khushwant Singhs Train to Pakistan.

In The Painted Bird, Jerzy Kosinski has not only given us a shattering picture of a peasant society but also one of the finest symbols of alienation to be found in world literature. He tells of a bird catcher who now and then amused himself by choosing the strongest bird from his cages, painting it in rainbow hues, squeezing it to make it twitter and attract a flock of its own species, and finally setting it free. One by one, the drab birds would attack the painted bird until it dropped to the ground, soaked in blood. The whole novel develops this theme.

It is a theme I have neglected so far. One important source of alienation from ones fellow men is their reaction to the person who has more self-consciousness and greater sensitivity than they. He feels that he is unlike them, but they feel it, too, and it is often their resentment that first makes him. aware of the gulf. The Painted Bird is the story of a child. But the autonomous human being who chooses to make his own decisions instead of bowing to authority or going along with the crowd alienates his fellow men without ever having thought of doing that. In that way, too, alienation is the price of sensitivity, selfconsciousness, and autonomy.

It would not be feasible in the present context to attempt studies of various preindustrial societies. That cannot be done in a few broad strokes. Instead I shall give a few striking individual examples of great men who lived in preindustrial societies. At this point I confront an embarrassment of riches. The following cases should not only illustrate my thesis but also help to show how wrong the three great errors are.


Plato is the first great philosopher known to us by complete works and not mere fragments. He is also widely considered the greatest philosopher of all time. His Republic leaves no doubt about his deep estrangement from Athenian society and from the politics and morals of his time. He considered it hopeless to try to reform the system. He argued that either the kings must become philosophers, or the philosophers kings. Meanwhile he described a city that can be found nowhere on earth . . . . But it makes no difference whether it exists now or ever will come into being. Only the politics of this city merits a philosophers attention. But for. good measure he nevertheless included. in The Republic a scathing attack on Athenian democracy.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

More than once, Plato cited approvingly an ancient play on words, dear to the Orphic sect: the body (soma) is the souls tomb (sema). This means that the soul is buried in the body, that life is a long exile, and that being a self means being a stranger.

Further, Plato divided the soul into three parts and argued for their existence by calling attention to cases in which they are at odds with each other and pull us in different directions. He knew the experience of the divided self and felt at home neither in his body nor with his appetites.

Platos Republic offers a path to salvation. He describes a society in which the division of the self against itself could be overcome, but he also argues that in the societies actually to be found in the world such integration could scarcely be achieved. He considered it a sign of Socrates greatness that he had brought off this nearly impossible feat, but Plato also considered it typical that Athens had responded by putting Socrates to death.

It is widely believed that before our own accursed time men were closer to the earth, more intimate with nature, more at home in it. Socrates and Plato, however, were not. In Platos Phaedrus, Socrates says that he can be induced to leave the city and to walk out into the country only if you dangle a book in front of him! And Plato exhorted men to see their senses as deceivers and to regard nature as unreal. We must turn our backs on nature and devote ourselves to what the uninitiated take for abstractions: to mathematics and to dialectic. Nature is things; art, imitations; and salvation lies in thought. We must not try to feel at home in this world. We must become convinced of its unreality and place our trust in another world that lies beyond nature, beyond sense experience, beyond time and change.

In sum, Plato was an exceptionally alienated man, and I am far from claiming that anyone who wants to be autonomous has to be alienated in all of these ways. Still, Plato illustrates the falsehood of at least the second and the third great errors.

Heraclitus, the great pre-Socratic philosopher whose fragments bring him to life for us as a full-fledged individual, may serve as our second illustration. His alienation from his fellow citizens found superlative expression in an outburst that brings to mind the adage of the 1960s about not trusting anyone over thirty: The Ephesians would do well to hang themselves, every adult man, and leave their city to adolescents, since they expelled Hermodorus, the worthiest man among them. . . Nor has anyone ever found a better formulation for what really merits the name of self-alienation than did Heraclitus: I


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 sought myself. That is surely the theme of all of Hermann Hesses major novels, which are so dear to those who feel that they are alienated.

Plato and Aristotle remarked that philosophy begins in wonder or perplexity. We could say just as well that it begins in alienation namely, when our self, the world, and the society we live in become strange to our minds and set us thinking.

Where a philosopher goes from that starting point, differs from case to case. But one final example is particularly pertinent to the second and third errors: the Pythagoreans formed a sect and were, like many of our own contemporaries, alienated together. During the fifth century, when Athens became a great power and produced the Parthenon and the other buildings whose ruins we still see on the Acropolis during the whole age of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides the Pythagoreans lived, withdrawn, in a commune in southern Italy. Their admission of women to their society, their practice of holding all property in common, and their contempt for business influenced Plato and are bound to seem modern to many people today.

An altogether different approach also suggests that the great philosophers were deeply alienated men. Who have been the greatest philosophers since the Middle Ages? There is a surprising consensus about the answer: Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz; Hobbes and Hume; Pascal and Rousseau; Kant and Hegel; Bentham, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche; and in our time, Russell and Sartre. One might add a few names to this list, but these fourteen philosophers are certainly among the most interesting and influential.

Descartes lost his mother when he was one year old; Spinoza was six when his mother died, and Leibniz six when his father died. Nothing seems to be known about Hobbess mother, but his father abandoned him when he was quite small, and he was brought up by an uncle. (He wrote his major works during a twelve-year exile from England.) Humes father died when he was three; Pascals mother when he was three. Rousseaus mother died soon after his birth, and when he was ten his father left him. Kant and Hegel lost their mothers at thirteen; Bentham lost his at eleven. Schopenhauer was seventeen when his father committed suicide after having shown for some time symptoms of mental alienation.: Nietzsche was four when he lost his father. Russells mother died when he was two, his father two years later. And Sartre lost his father at two.

Rilkes words, in his first Elegy, we are not very reliably at home in the interpreted world, have been taken for a formulation of a distinctively modern malaise. My data create a very strong presumption that this feeling was shared by the major philosophers, at least since Descartes. In most cases, their


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 works show this at a glance; but Spinoza, Leibniz, and Hegel may look like exceptions. Closer study of Hegel, however, shows that what he sought, and eventually found, in philosophy was a triumph over an almost unbearable sense of alienation. Indeed, he bequeathed this term to us precisely in this context. I suspect that the cases of Leibniz and Spinoza may have been essentially similar.


Among the great writers and poets of the past, there were so many deeply alienated men that it would be easy to get sidetracked into a prolonged discussion of a large number of cases. I shall content myself with one ancient, one medieval, and one modern poet, all of them of the first rank, and two of them autonomous.

Goethe, already mentioned at the end of chapter 1 as a man who resisted the ten strategies of decidophobia, is a model of autonomy. It is often overlooked that he paid the price of alienation. As a young man, he expressed his alienation from society in his first novel, The Sufferings of the Young Werther. He had Werther commit suicide and all over Europe large numbers of young people committed suicide with a copy of the book clutched in their hands or buried in a pocket. Goetz, the hero of Goethes storm-and-stress play, uttered the most celebrated obscenity in German literature, showing the poets contempt for convention. Both works became instant successes and made the young rebel the hero of the younger generation. At that point, a lesser author would have tended to imitate himself in an attempt to retain the favor of his public; but not Goethe.

His best work of this period he held back because it did not satisfy his own exacting standards. No other German had written anything of comparable quality; yet the so-called Urfaust, the version of Faust written in the 1770s, was not published until 1887. But Goethe kept working at it, and in 1790, after he had published plays that gave German literature an altogether new .and different direction, he published Faust: A Fragment, including a revised version of parts of his earlier draft, along with a lot of new material. Then he proceeded to altogether new experiments. He kept trying new things, but almost everything he did was instantly acclaimed.

His deepest estrangement from his fellow men coincides with the period when he is now widely held to have been a pillar of the establishment. He had published Part One of Faust in 1808, with an utter disregard for the very possibility of a performance on the stage. While he was director of the theater at Weimar, a vast variety of plays and operas were performed, but never Faust. Sixty years after he had begun Faust, Goethe finished Part Two, a few months before he died, in his eighties. He tied up the


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 manuscript, sealed it, and refused to divulge the conclusion even to old friends. He had no wish to see the play performed; he did not want to have it published until after he was dead; and he had no desire to share it with anyone. Surely, that is an example of extreme alienation from society and from ones fellow men.

I can be much briefer about the other two poets. The Middle Ages are often viewed nostalgically as a time when all was harmony and integration. There is no need here to dwell on the superstition and the inhumanity of those centuries, as evidenced, for example, in the persecution of Jews and heretics. Suffice it that the greatest poet of the age was a paradigm of alienation.

Dantes Vita Nuova is a case study of self-alienation in the proper sense of that term of viewing oneself as a stranger. And his Divine Comedy is the work of an exile, consumed by bitterness. He creates a vast hell to people it with his fellow men, including members of the establishment.

If alienation should be associated more with being artistically out of touch with ones time, and what is meant is inaccessibility, this description also fits the Divine Comedy and Part Two of Faust perfectly. Who among Dantes or Goethes contemporaries could possibly have fathomed these works? And how many people since their time?

Finally, there is Euripides, another paradigm of autonomy a man who spurned all ten strategies. In his case it is so palpable that his alienation from his fellow Athenians was directly related to the independence of his spirit that there is no need to labor the point. In the end, he went into voluntary exile, and it was only after his death that he became the most popular of the great tragic poets.


My last two illustrations come from literature. It might be argued that a single negative case would refute my claim that alienation is the price of autonomy; that Sophocles was autonomous (which I would gladly grant, though many critics would not, as they consider him more beholden to traditional religion than I do); and that Sophocles was not alienated. In effect, I have shown in another book, Tragedy and Philosophy, that he was alienated, but it would be quite impossible to recapitulate the evidence in a few pages. Something will be gained, however, by reflecting briefly on his most admired tragedy, his Oedipus Tyrannus.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

Oedipus, as conceived by Sophocles, keeps haunting mens minds. We feel that in some sense he represents us but not necessarily in the way Freud suggested. I submit that Oedipus is alienation incarnate. His father was warned by the gods not to have children, and Oedipus came into the world unwanted. Hence he was cast out into hostile nature to perish. Saved by a shepherd, he was brought up in Corinth, a stranger without realizing it. To avoid defiling nature and violating the most sacred harmonies of the universe, he left Corinth to go into voluntary exile, but nevertheless committed what the Greeks and not only the Greeks considered the most unnatural acts, outraging nature and society.

In Thebes, of which he was a native, he assumed that he was an alien. When he discovered who he was, what he had done, and how he was not an alien at all, he asked to be thrown out of the city.

If one sought an epigraph for Sophocles tragedy, one could not do better than quote Heraclitus: I sought myself. Oedipus is a stranger to himself, and when he discovers who he is, he is filled with loathing, destroys his eyes, and cries out that he wishes that he could destroy his hearing, too, cutting the last bonds to the world and to his fellow men.

What explains the perennial fascination of this play? I do not think it would have haunted men so much if alienation were in fact only a modern phenomenon, restricted to advanced industrial societies.

If there is another play that has exerted an equal fascination, it is surely Hamlet. And if there is another hero who dominates a drama totally with his pervasive sense of alienation, it is Hamlet. He displays almost every conceivable form of alienation. He views himself, his fellow men, and the society in which he lives with loathing. And generations of readers have identified with him; above all, young people, writers, artists, and philosophers. For these groups have always experienced what is nowadays called alienation. Why? Because alienation is the price of sensitivity, self-consciousness, and freedom, and adolescence glories in these qualities, while among the older generation these qualities are cultivated preeminently by creative writers, artists, and philosophers. That these groups have no monopoly on admiration for Hamlet and self-identification with the hero or on alienation is grist for my mill. These historical and literary examples should finally dispatch the three great errors about alienation.

As a last resort, some people have claimed that what is distinctively modern is not so much the artists condition as it is the attitude of the modern public toward art. It is said that modern man no longer sees


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 works of art as paintings or sculptures but rather as commodities, investments, or status symbols. This generalization is obviously false and irresponsible; it applies to a relatively small class. But were things better in the past? Did not the pharaohs of Egypt and the kings of Europe, the Renaissance patrons and popes, and the wealthy citizens of northern Europe look on paintings and sculptures as status symbols?

When we discover lamentable conditions in our own society, we have no right whatever to assume that in Communist countries, in the Third World, or in the past nothing equally deplorable could possibly be found; that our country is the worst, and our time the nadir of humanity. So foolish is this attitude that it is difficult to understand it until one realizes that it is a radical reaction to the no less foolish faith that our country is the best and our age the high point of humanity. To make informed comparisons requires some historical perspective.


I have said that alienation is the price of autonomy. It could be said as well that alienation can be fruitful. Some of my examples indicate as much. I noted earlier that, a generation before Marx committed the three errors, Hegel had entitled a long chapter Spirit alienated from itself: education. That was a way of suggesting that alienation is needful. But this idea was not original with Hegel.

In the Hebrew Bible, Moses challenged his people to become alienated. Judaism lifted man out of nature and stressed the discontinuity between man and nature, man and animal. Man was not to feel altogether at home in the world, and the Jews were not supposed to be like all the nations. In theory, their sense of community might have compensated them for their alienation from other nations. Reading the second part of Bubers I and Thou, one might even be led to assume that this was what happened. But in the Bible we find no trace of that. What we do find is a succession of imposing figures who not only keep telling their people that they should be different, but who themselves are different and thoroughly alienated from their own society. Moses, Elijah, Amos, Hosea, and Jeremiah are outstanding examples. What might they have replied, had anyone told them that they were enviable because their society was healthy and not sick, like ours?

Sigmund Freud spoke out of this Biblical tradition when he said at the outset of a brief autobiography:


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 The university, which I entered in 1873, brought me, to begin with, several palpable disappointments. Above all, I was struck by the presumption that I should feel inferior and not a member of the Yolk because I was a Jew. The former notion I rejected quite decisively. I have never comprehended why I should be ashamed of my descent or, as one was then beginning to say, my race. The membership in the V olk that was denied me I renounced without much regret. . . . But these first impressions of the university had one consequence that remained important later on: early in life I became familiar with the lot of standing alone among the opposition and being placed under a ban by the compact majority. This laid the foundation for a certain independence of judgment.

This is a perfect example of fruitful alienation. Here involuntary alienation being cast in the role of an alien becomes a steppingstone toward autonomy. But some people react quite differently to the very same experience; for example, those to whom we owe the first great error, that all alienation is bad.

Rather oddly, all of these writers had the experience Freud describes. For those who seized on Hegels term alienation and made of it a cri de coeur and a word for all that was wrong with society were virtually all of them Jews. First, Marx; then, a century later, Georg Lukacs and Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm and Hannah Arendt, to mention only the most influential. All of them were cast in the role of aliens, and the alienation thrust on them became a source of suffering for them. But they did not react like Freud. Instead they came to feel that alienation all alienation was bad and perhaps nothing less than the root of all evil, and they began to dream of some community in which there would be no alienation.

Martin Bubers Zionism was largely motivated by the same dream of community. The ultimate goal was to cease being a stranger, to overcome alienation.

It would not strengthen my analysis of alienation or my critique of Marx and his heirs to go more deeply into the relationship of these writers to Judaism and the question of whether being alienated is not in some sense a central part of the tradition that begins with Abraham and Moses. Yet it is so puzzling that Marx, taking the term from Hegel, should have gone on to claim that all alienation is bad that one is led to wonder how a brilliant man could have been so irrational.

My views on alienation do not depend in any way upon what follows, and the discovery I shall present now actually came to me long after I had formulated my differences with Marx. But it is interesting enough to be included here.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973


It is common knowledge that Marx himself did not publish his Philosophical Manuscripts. It is much less well known, and his admirers usually do not make a point of the fact, that just before he wrote these manuscripts he published a long review-article On the Jewish Question in which he made ample use of the concept of alienation. This article is the birthplace of the first error and of the current use of alienation for most of the ills that afflict modern society.

When Marxs apologists mention this essay at all, they usually insist that it would be quite absurd to consider it antiSemitic. Fromm is representative when he finds here no more than some critical remarks on the Jews, which were made polemically in a brilliant essay dealing with the problem of bourgeois emancipation. But this characterization is easily as absurd and false as the claim that Fromm repudiates, that Marx was the founder of Nazi and Soviet anti-Semitism. Marx did not merely make some critical remarks about the Jews in the course of an essay on another subject; both of the essays that he was reviewing were about the Jews, and so was his article, and the second part, roughly eight pages in length, is one of the most astonishing documents in the history of Jewish self-hatred and the place where Marx first made extensive use of alienation.

There would be less need here to quote anything from these unpleasant pages if one could simply refer to the two standard translations. But although both of them are thoroughly respectable, the original sometimes is not. Thus Schacher, a thoroughly derogatory word that is so frequently associated with Jews that good German-English dictionaries call attention to this fact, is turned into bargaining in one of the two English versions, while Eigennutz (selfishness) becomes self-interest. What the reader of the English is thus led to miss is the distressing fact that some of Marxs paragraphs do bring to mind the Nazis leading antiSemitic journal, Der Strmer. But it is not only the language that oozes hatred and contempt; Marx calls Jewish all that is most hateful to him in the modem world. (I have rendered Schacher by jewing, which the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary calls colloquial and links with sense 2 of Jew: Applied to a grasping: or extortionate usurer, or a trader who drives a hard bargain or deals craftily.)

Let us not seek for the secret of the Jew in his religion; let us rather seek for the secret of his religion in the actual Jew.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

What is the secular foundation of Judaism? Practical urges, selfishness.

What is the Jews secular cult? Jewing. What is his secular god? Money.

Well then! Emancipation from jewing and from money would be the self-emancipation of our age.

An organization of society that would eliminate the presuppositions of jewing and thus the possibility of jewing, would have made the Jew impossible.

This, says Marx, would be a triumph over the highest practical expression of human self-alienation.

Nothing in his budding view of history compelled Marx to write like that. After all, this is a travesty of Judaism, and insofar as the Jews were pushed into certain ways of making a living, it was Christian society that had forbidden them to own land, bear arms, or study at the universities. But Marx was so determined at that point to blame all misfortunes on the Jews that he expatiated at some length on the theme that The Jews have become emancipated insofar as the Christians have become Jews. Insofar as Christians are venal, selfish, and money-hungry, they have become Jews! And that the proclamation of the gospel itself, that the Christian ministry has become a commercial object proves the practical dominion of Judaism over the Christian world.

Money is the jealous God of Israel before whom no other god is tolerated. Money degrades all the gods of man and changes them into commodities . . . . Money is the essence of mans labor and existence that has been alienated from man; and this alienated essence lords it over him, and he worships it.

The God of the Jews has secularized himself, has become worldly, has become the god of the world. The checkbook is the Jews actual God. His God is only an illusory checkbook . . . .


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 What is abstractly present in the Jewish religion the contempt for theory, for art, for history, for man as an end in himself that is the actual, conscious position, the virtue, of the money man.

Consider the last paragraph for a moment. One might have thought that the notion of man as an end in himself came from the Hebrew Bible. Where else do we encounter it earlier? As for history, Eduard Meyer, who was certainly not free from anti-Semitism, but whose multivolume History of Antiquity remains one of the monuments of German scholarship, said that historiography began in Israel more than five hundred years before Herodotus, who has been called the father of written history. All modem conceptions of history up to and including Marxs, and all modem conceptions of man as an end in himself, are deeply indebted to Judaism.

Even if Marxs slanders of the Jews had had a basis in fact, he might still have said: Look at what the world has done to the Jews, and think of what, given their past, they might become in a different environment! After all, humane people say something like that about the blacks. Let anyone who is not struck by the extreme irrationality and inhumanity of Marxs diatribe transpose it into an attack On the Negro Question!


Intellectual fashions change almost as fast as fashion. By the late 1960s it seemed incredible that Marxs early manuscripts should have first appeared in the United States, in part, in 1961 as a new book by Erich Fromm, or that Fromm should have tried to make them palatable by comparing them to existentialism, or that alienation had been until then a mildly esoteric word. Now Marxs writings even those that he himself did not see fit to publish have acquired something of the aura of holy writ (while the Bible is losing it). And the three errors about alienation have become dogmas of which millions assume that they are surely common sense, as if everybody had always known that all alienation is bad, that it is specifically modem, and that it is linked to advanced industrial society.

For those who are autonomous there is no holy writ and there are no dogmas. Every text and every claim are subject to criticism. If widely accepted notions are found to be wrong, the autonomous do not bow to them nevertheless, asking either how their exegesis is at fault or how one could avoid an open break by having recourse to a subtle reinterpretation. Instead, we should ask how what is wrong has come to be believed.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 The historical part of the answer can generally be substantiated better than the psychological part, but some explanation is called for, even if the authoritarian is almost certain to retort, falsely, that this is a genetic fallacy, and that an attempt has been made to discredit ideas by tracing them to unedifying origins. In fact, the refutation of what is widely accepted should come first. Only then should one ask how anything that is so patently irrational ever came to be believed.

We have found, first, that the obviously quite untenable idea that all alienation is bad was originally presented by Karl Marx in an extremely irrational diatribe against the Jews. His subsequent writings on alienation he himself did not publish, and in The Communist Manifesto he actually denounced talk of alienation.

Second, there really is a connection between Judaism and alienation. In the Bible, Abraham is called upon to leave his country and his kindred and become an alien. Moses grows up in Egypt as an alien, leads his people into the desert and tries to impress on them the importance of respect and even love for the stranger in your midst and of remembering that you were strangers in the land of Egypt. Samuel feels outraged when his people want to be like all the nations. The towering figures of the Hebrew Bible are men who are alienated from their own society. In the Babylonian exile, faced with a condition in which other ancient peoples perished, the Jews refused assimilation, remained aliens, and survived. Over six hundred years later, after the second destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, they again refused integration into the communities into which they were dispersed; they made a virtue of their alienation as Freud did in 1873. This alienation involved a great deal of suffering, and in various ways large numbers of Jews during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have revolted. against this heritage. Assimilation represented one way out; Zionism (at least some versions of it) another; and some of the literature on alienation, beginning with Marxs essay On the Jewish Question, a third. Marx, of course, did not see things this way. The irrational tone of his article and the irrational suggestion that all alienation is bad presumably resulted from the fact that he did not fully understand the hidden springs of his own interest in the problem. On a different scale, this is also true of his successors.

Finally, the sweeping, indiscriminate attack on alienation is a corollary of a dream of community. In this community there is to be no alienation, nor any room for the stranger in your midst. Even the kibbutzim in Israel one of the noblest social experiments of our century have a strong xenophobic streak. The pressures toward conformity are overwhelming: those who do not fully belong are generally made to feel that fact deeply and painfully; and for a creative artist, life in a kibbutz is apt to prove impossible. The major countries that proclaim Marx as their prophet openly spurn nonconformity and have no room for autonomous individuals. It would be illicit to saddle Marx with Stalins terror, but the kind of community that seeks to eliminate alienation is incompatible with autonomy.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

In the discussion of decidophobia, I showed how any confrontation with fateful alternatives engenders dread, and how the craving for community of worship is prompted by the craving to eliminate such confrontations. The stranger is an incarnate alternative. That goes not only for the Jew or heretic in a Christian society but also for the alienated individual in a community. Indeed, the herd man finds it easier to tolerate the nonconformists who are members of another, smaller herd than to suffer those who stand alone. The autonomous man is a living provocation. Usually he is forgiven only after he is dead. 60

IN OUR TIME one concept of integrity is being replaced by another. This development is at the heart of the contemporary revolution in morality. The old idea was closely linked to justice, while the new integrity involves autonomy.

What is at stake is not merely one virtue. One can have courage and yet be a monster. But it is generally felt that a person who has integrity cannot be immoral, and that whoever is moral cannot lack integrity. Integrity is taken for the whole of morality or, as the Greeks put it, the sum of the virtues.

The Greeks also called this sum of the virtues justice. Now that justice is dying, a new concept of integrity is emerging. It also claims to be all of morality. Actually, what passes for integrity today is a confused and callow notion that cannot be considered on a par with the classical conceptions of the ancient Greeks and Hebrews. It makes more sense to treat this messy and brash brat like Shaws Eliza; she needs cleaning up and must be taught some manners.

What I call the new integrity may be seen as the goal of some recent developments, but I do not believe in it or in anything else because I take it to be the wave of the future. After all, endowing the wave of the future with moral authority is one of the strategies of decidophobia.

The classical conception of integrity is best explained in terms of the origin of the word integrity, which suggests wholeness. The word comes from the Latin in and tangere and means that something is untouched, unimpaired, flawless. Words with the same root meaning are encountered in several other languages and have gone on to acquire the same moral significance as the Latin integritas and the English integrity.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 In English, for example, holy is related to whole, and in German heilig to heil. Heil was profaned by the Nazis, but the original meaning is flawless, unimpaired (unversehrt).

One further example is of special interest. In the first verse of the Book of Job, Job is called tam vyashar, blameless and upright. The root meaning of tam, which recurs often in the book, is whole, complete, and the noun tumah is usually translated as integrity. Thus the Lord says to Satan: He still holds fast his integrity. Jobs wife says to him: Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God, and die. And later Job says to his friends: Till I die, I will not part from my integrity.

In all these languages it is assumed that what is whole and complete is also morally good, and that the integrated man is naturally virtuous. In Plato this notion is central: justice is the health of the soul, and the integration of the personality spells integrity. But the conception of justice as harmony is encountered among the Greeks long before Plato, and it is not peculiar to them. Nor did the classical conception of integrity expire with antiquity. In later Judaism it was developed in the beautiful idea that one should serve God with the evil impulse, too. Thus the Mishnah explains the Mosaic commandment, You shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, as meaning with both of your impulses, with the good impulse and with the evil impulse. Plato and the Jewish tradition were far from sharing the same moral views. Job and the just man of the prophets had a social conscience that forms no part of Platos conception of justice. Yet the ancient Greeks and Hebrews shared the notion that all the virtues are compatible, and they called the wholly virtuous man just.

As long as the classical conception remains on the level of brief suggestions, it seems attractive and profound. But as soon as one reads lengthier defenses of it, the idea that the whole is good and that evil is merely un integrated partiality becomes highly problematic. One is struck by the underlying optimism. Why should it be impossible to embrace evil with ones whole heart, soul, and might?

The classical conception is close to Manichaeism and to moral rationalism. In Plato it comes down on the side of moral rationalism. But the idea that all good is on one side health, wholeness, and all the virtues is Manichaean and decidophobic. The cards are stacked, and there is no need to consider objections and alternatives.



Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 The crux of the current crisis in morality is that integrity is no longer associated with the just man. Our first association with integrity is honesty. Intellectual integrity is a synonym of intellectual honesty. A just man is a mild archaism or a Hebraism, but it is no longer uncommon to call a man honest by way of suggesting not a particular virtue but the sum of the virtues.

An honest woman is an idiom that suggests an altogether different context, but actually it illustrates the same development. What is meant is not that she never lies but rather that she had lost her virtue and her moral reputation, and that by marrying her some man has restored these priceless possessions to her and made an honest woman of her. The moral judgments implicit in this usage are archaic, but honest is here used in the sense of virtuous.

When Abraham Lincoln is called Honest Abe, what is meant is not that he could never tell a lie (that was George Washington) but that he was what Plato and the prophets would have called a just man. Thus honesty is now often considered the sum of the virtues, as justice was formerly.

What is meant by honesty? Let us distinguish three different conceptions of honesty. The first two use the name of honesty in vain.

The classical American misconception of honesty is that the word is a synonym of sincerity. What is at stake is not merely the misuse of a word but the overestimation of sincerity. While sincerity is preferable to insincerity, it comes nowhere near being the sum of the virtues; it is not even a cardinal virtue. Small children tell all sorts of charming falsehoods with sincerity and might be said to be this side of the distinction between honesty and dishonesty. Many clergymen and politicians proclaim falsehoods with sincerity and might be said to have low standards of honesty; they believe what they say while they are saying it, but only a little while earlier they knew that it was false, and questioned a few hours later they no longer insist that it is true. They cultivate the gentle art of mouthing falsehoods with conviction.

The typically modern misconception of honesty consists of confounding honesty with frankness. This makes honesty even easier to attain. One tells people what one thinks of them and assumes that extreme rudeness is proof of moral superiority. Both these misconceptions are extremely popular because they place virtue within the reach of all. Even if one is extremely partial to frankness, one has to admit that this misunderstanding is born in part of the desire for instant virtue; what is wanted is moral superiority without any fuss or trouble.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 True honesty, like courage, admits of degrees. Manichaeans use the ploy of asking, are you calling me a coward? Or a liar? And they assume that if their critic hesitates to do that, it follows that they are courageous, or honest. They presuppose that one is either honest or a liar, either courageous or a coward. In fact, most men are neither courageous nor cowards; these terms are applicable only in extreme cases. We may act more courageously on one occasion and less courageously on another, without having merited the epithet of cowardice or courage in either case. The liar corresponds to the coward, and honesty should be used like courage to designate a high standard.

What is involved in honesty or high standards of honesty is apparent as soon as we reflect on the case of the person who says frankly and sincerely what he himself knew to be false only a little while earlier. Or consider a person who says what in fact he has never known to be false, although it is false and he himself would know this if only he had taken a little more trouble. Neither of these two people has high standards of honesty. Why not? High standards of honesty mean that one has a conscience about what one says and what one believes. They mean that one takes some trouble to determine what speaks for and against a view, what the alternatives are, what speaks for and against each, and what alternatives are preferable on these grounds.

This is the heart of rationality, the essence of scientific method, and the meaning of intellectual integrity. I shall call it the canon. We have seen what speaks against some alternative conceptions of honesty. Now let us consider some objections to this conception.

It may seem that a canon cannot properly be called a virtue. How can the essence of scientific method be presented as an explication of honesty? This objection can be met. The canon takes the form of a series of imperatives. These imperatives define the essence of scientific method. But the practice of a method can become a habit Of, as people sometimes put it, speaking rather loosely, it can become instinctive. And virtues are habits. They can be acquired and developed by practice.

Confronted with a proposition, view, belief, hypothesis, conviction ones own or another persons those with high standards of honesty apply the canon, which commands us to ask seven questions: (I) What does this mean? (2) What speaks for it and (3) against it? (4) What alternatives are available? (5) What speaks for and (6) against each? And (7) what alternatives are most plausible in the light of these considerations?

Now it may be objected that doing all this is rather difficult. But has it ever been a condition of virtue that it required no great exertion? On the contrary. Next, it may be said that all this is not only difficult


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 but in many cases quite impossible and at other times out of all proportion to the significance of the issue at hand. This is a serious objection and requires an important qualification of the conception presented so far.


Honesty does not entail pedantry. A pedant devotes so much time and energy to trivial matters that he lacks sufficient time and energy to investigate the questions that bear on the most . fateful decisions. Pedantry is the eighth strategy of decidophobia. Honesty entails a sense of proportion, in two ways. First, the pedant is not really a paragon of honesty. He deceives himself. He prides himself on his scruples in small matters, but he shuts his eyes when it comes to big decisions. A person with high standards of honesty will ask such questions as these: What is the meaning and what are the implications of this issue and that? What speaks for giving so much time to this one that I shall lack the time for that one?

Second, honesty requires us to proportion the firmness of our beliefs and claims to the evidence. When he holds a view without having given much thought to the pros and cons and to alternatives, an honest person realizes how tenuous his position is. Whoever has high standards of honesty will not say that he knows something, or even that he believes it strongly, unless he has looked into the matter and found good grounds for his views, and unless he has also considered objections and alternatives. Failing that, he will either suspend judgment or admit to himself and, if the occasion arises, to others that his belief is tenuous.

I have criticized the concept of proportionality when discussing punishments and distributions. In the present context, of course, exact proportion is out of the question. We cannot stipulate how many minutes honesty requires us to spend on this issue or that, nor can we measure the firmness of beliefs. What matters is that one gives oneself an honest account of the grounds for ones beliefs, and that one makes a deliberate effort to overcome decidophobia.

Those who live up to these criteria exemplify intellectual integrity. But what I shall call the new integrity requires one additional quality. For one could apply the canon scrupulously, but only on the intellectual level. One might not put into practice what one believes. One might say: This alternative stands up under scrutiny, and that one does not; nevertheless I shall act in accordance with the view that does not stand up. Those who have the new integrity have intellectual integrity and also live in accordance with it. Thus practice is integrated with theory.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

The consideration of alternatives is crucial but often, neglected. Those who comply with this part of the canon have to do what even a great many scholars would rather not do: spell out what speaks against rival views. It is pleasanter to cite other scholars by way of paying homage to their acute insights. But the new integrity requires us to be clear about the defects of significant alternatives.

Obviously, the new integrity goes beyond any ordinary conception of honesty. Even when honesty is not confused with sincerity or frankness, it is compatible with the admission that one did not take any pains to investigate a question and therefore does not know the answer. A person can possess high standards of honesty but very little self-confidence, courage, or humbition. He may be lazy and reluctant to exert himself. But what I call the new integrity involves not only high standards of honesty but also enough courage and humbition to apply the canon to the most important questions facing us. Thus the new integrity involves autonomy, but the two are not identical because autonomy would be compatible with lying.

I introduced autonomy, saying that it consists of making with our eyes open the decisions that govern our lives; and I added: Choosing responsibly means that one weighs alternatives. (This theme will be developed further in the chapter on The New Integrity.) Then I concentrated on the strategies of decidophobia. Now autonomy appears as the goal of a historical development: the autonomous man is the modem counterpart of the just man of the ancient Greeks and Hebrews. He does not bow to authority; he decides for himself.


The adherents of the classical conception of integrity were mistaken insofar as they assumed that integration spelled goodness. But a well-integrated and harmonious individual could follow Hitler or Stalin. The idea that we should serve the Lord with the good impulse and with the evil impulse is very beautiful, but one could also serve Hitler or Stalin with both impulses. One can serve an evil cause with tremendous courage and intelligence, with self-control and humility, and millions have done it in our time. Many whose life had lacked direction found a purpose an evil purpose that integrated their whole personality till everything fell into place.

Does the new integrity fare any better? Was it possible to follow Hitler or Stalin, while living in accordance with the new integrity? Certainly not.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

As soon as Hitler came to power, it was unsafe for any teacher to go on teaching as before. One could literally see how many teachers swallowed hard as they said what they knew to be untrue in history, literature, religion, and biology, and other classes, too. After all, some student might report them to the authorities if they did not toe the line. Even if none did, some student might say quite naively to his father, to a fellow member of the Hitler Youth, or to anyone at all: But my teacher said . . . That might be the end of the teachers career; it might even take him to a concentration camp. As time passed, the falsehoods that at first had made some teachers gag went down more easily. The teachers integrity deteriorated. Still, might not some teachers, or at least some students, have believed all that they were required to believe? Of course, but only if they did not ask the seven crucial questions.

As for the Soviet Union under Stalin, Solzhenitsyn has shown convincingly in The First Circle and Cancer Ward how one could live in accordance with the new integrity only in a concentration camp or by keeping silent, how silence usually corrupts, and how this corruption spread like a disease through the whole society. The chapter on Idols of the Market Place in Cancer Ward makes this point expressly and at length.

In the West so many people are such relativists that they suppose it must be just as possible to swallow Stalinism or Hitlerism as it is to swallow any other world view. And if one believes that American society is just as repressive as was Hitlers Germany or Stalins Soviet Union, one demonstrates indeed that, but for the grace of circumstance, one might have swallowed Nazism or Stalinism, for one shows that one does not care greatly about the seven questions.

Of course, one could be sincere and a Nazi or a Stalinist. But nobody who applied the canon could have accepted Hitlers or Stalins irrational views, and teaching the canon in ones classes or openly asking the seven questions would have been a recipe for death.

Few people have ever lived by the canon. Only those who suppose that most people do could possibly suppose that some of Hitlers or Stalins followers did. Under Stalin, the party line kept changing, and his followers were required to change their views overnight, again and again and again. If they believed that whatever he did was best, that he knew better than anyone else, and that whatever the latest edition of the great Encyclopedia said was true, they could escape terrible qualms, but in that case they were decidophobes who did not live by the canon.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 It might be objected that we cannot reasonably expect people to say, like Job: Till I die I will not part from my integrity. We recall how Simone de Beauvoir, though merciless in her self-accusations, said of those who followed Stalin: They had to live; they lived. But moral judgments have not been my concern here. The point has been to understand the new integrity, and when a person gives that up to save his life if only to preserve himself for the sake of his wife and children it is reasonable to insist that he did give it up. After all, that is one of the differences between Solzhenitsyn and millions of others: they did, and he did not.

In sum, an integrated human being with the classical integrity could follow Hitler or Stalin, but one could not follow either of them with the new integrity. For the person who lives by the canon does not accept an irrational book like Mein Kampf, or a man like Hitler or Stalin, or any man or any book, as an authority; he makes decisions for himself he is autonomous.

Suppose, however, that a German or a Russian did consider the alternatives and came to the conclusion that it was best, everything considered, to join the Party. 1 have examined this strategy at length in the discussion of decidophobia: those who decide to commit themselves in such a way that henceforth they will never have to face fateful decisions any more are decidophobes and not autonomous. And those who abandon or sacrifice their intellectual integrity cannot be said to have retained it.

Consider the memoirs of Rudolf Hoess, the commanding officer of Auschwitz. In his first-hand account of his chief, Heinrich Himmler, he uses the very phrase that Nietzsche had used in arguing that the party man becomes a liar: wishing-not-to-see! Hoess also says: Himmler always found it more interesting and agreeable to hear what was positive and not negative. This might be considered a rather common human weakness, but Nazism elevated it into a principle: Himmler was the most extreme representative of the Fuhrerprinzip. Every German had to submit unconditionally and uncritically to the leadership of the state. When Himmler demanded surrender of ones own will, this was in line with the Fuhrer principle and the Nazi Weltanschauung.

Hoess insists that he always complained to Himmler when he saw him about technical difficulties. But about the annihilation of millions in the gas chambers he had no doubts. Himmler shocked and disappointed him only at their final meeting when the war was practically over and Himmler, whose orders, whose utterances had been gospel for me, was quite cheerful and gave orders to his henchmen to disappear in the army with false papers. But perhaps the statement that best brings out how there was no room for the new integrity or for autonomy in this whole setting is this: I must admit frankly that after such talks with Eichmann humane feelings almost seemed to me treason against the Fuhrer.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Hitler himself, of course, was not an autonomous man; he lacked both the classical and the new integrity. His calculated lies and his lack of any scruple about breaking solemn promises suffice to show that he lacked the new integrity, but one might wonder whether he could not have been autonomous for all that, if only he had applied the canon and decided that dishonesty was the best policy. As a matter of fact, however, he was not in the habit of subjecting his irrational convictions to the canon, and he was the kind of man Sartre described in his portrait of the anti-Semite, and Eric Hoffer in The True Believer. Nietzsches strictures of the party man, quoted in my analysis of the third strategy in chapter I, apply to him. We also know that in conversation he could not tolerate any disagreement, and that in the end he became more and more interested in astrology.


Honesty is not the sum of the virtues. In the chapter on guilt I introduced four cardinal virtues: humbition, courage, love, and honesty.

Like courage, honesty can bring about great evil when joined with brutality. Ibsen showed in The Wild Duck how a fanatic for honesty may feel called upon to tell people what will drive them to despair and suicide. He might also make a point of robbing the dying of their faith or of illusions that have helped them to endure great pain. Not only might he lack love, but he might also be cowardly, at least in some ways. While a dedication to honesty involves some courage and some humbition, one might be honest and yet lack courage and humbition in most matters.

Conversely, those who do not have high standards of honesty and never give much thought to the seven questions of the canon may be very decent people for all that. They may be courageous in many ways, help others unselfishly, and never cheat anyone. This point is hard to get across because so many people assume vaguely, but falsely, that honesty or integrity is the whole of virtue. Hence people may admit regretfully that they are not very courageous and that after all few people are. But if you suggest that their standards of honesty are not very high, or that they leave something to be desired as far as the new integrity is concerned, they may never forgive you.

Yet the new integrity is not the whole of virtue; nor is autonomy. The desire for only one cardinal virtue is the desire for a panacea. As long as there are several cardinal virtues, they may occasionally come into conflict with each other. Thus a teacher in a totalitarian state may be pulled in one direction by his regard for honesty, in another by his love for his family.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

Love is exceedingly corruptible and often does the devils bidding. Love has no scruples about tempting us to be dishonest, less courageous, less humbitious even to be cowardly and to lie. Yet if we renounced love for that reason, clinging to the three virtues that on the whole are mutually compatible, we should have to condone a cruel lack of concern for others.

Autonomy is not a panacea that saves us from conflicts and hard choices. On the contrary, autonomy consists of considering alternatives and objections to our preferences. Yet an autonomous person might lack love. Any claim that all who are rational and use the canon would end up with the same code mine would be moral rationalism. Love is compatible with rationality, but it is not entailed by rationality. Of course, we can stack the cards and load our definition of rationality. That is the essence of the moral rationalists strategy. Thus one can claim that rationality entails an impartial concern for all human beings, and that all partiality to ourselves is therefore irrational. To anyone brought up on the ethics of Kant, that may actually sound plausible. Of course, he did not speak of love in this connection but of the categorical imperative, and those who follow him in our time speak of justice. Either way, the concept of rationality is loaded illicitly.

Those who apply the canon do not have to come to the conclusion that we ought to act in accordance with an equal concern for all human beings; nor need they conclude that all partiality to ourselves is irrational. They might actually conclude that it is impossible to act in accordance with an equal concern for all human beings, and that it is quite rational to give some priority to ones children, spouse, parents, friends, or pupils and even to oneself. I have to see to it that I get some sleep; I cannot be equally concerned that everybody else does.

Nor is it clear why we should feel, or act in accordance with, equal concern for all human beings. Why should we be so partial to the human race? If we do not believe that God created man in his own image and that man is more like God than like any other animal, this partiality to man becomes questionable. Kant tried to find a basis for it in mans rationality, but again it is far from clear why reason should require us to feel an equal concern for all rational creatures, but no comparable concern for those not so gifted. If we encountered beings from another planet, could reason really tell us whether we owed them as much concern as we owed our fellow men, or more, or less? Can reason tell us where the cutoff point should be, regarding those who do not act according to the canon, or regarding idiots, infants, or embryos? Equal concern for all beings is clearly quite impossible. In short, we must make choices, and reason cannot tell us what we ought to choose.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 My view is that the adoption of love as a cardinal virtue is tenable, but not required by reason; that a social conscience is desirable though not entailed by rationality; and that, in brief, autonomy is not enough.


What speaks for autonomy, honesty, love, courage, and humbition? What speaks against them? And what speaks for and against various alternatives? Is my code really more plausible than others? Throughout this book I have considered alternatives and objections. I have tried to show how humbition is preferable to guilt feelings, which have loomed so large in traditional morality, and how love and honesty can do better what justice was supposed to do but could not do. I have not made out any comparable case for courage, which is admired almost universally. Courage has been celebrated by poets and tellers of tales since time immemorial. Even so, an autonomous morality cannot invoke any authority neither that of intercultural agreement nor that of my own moral sense. What kind of appeal remains?

There is a utilitarian argument that does not depend on the hedonism of the English utilitarians. We should distinguish between utilitarianism in the wide sense, which appeals to the consequences of laws or rules, acts or habits, virtues or codes (let us call this consequentialism), and utilitarianism in the narrow, hedonistic sense, which judges the consequences according to their conduciveness to the greatest possible balance of pleasures over pains. I reject utilitarianism in the narrow sense for reasons that will be discussed in the next chapter. But it is the essence of irresponsibility to ignore the consequences, and I can find no good reasons for ignoring them. The only major moralist who insisted that moral judgments must ignore the consequences was Kant, who thought, falsely, that reason could tell us what is right, without considering consequences. The question remains as to the standards by which we should judge the consequences. How, if at all, can one justify ones standards?

Obviously, one can try to justify one set of standards by appeal to another set; but if one chooses to be rational, one cannot justify ones ultimate standards, or cardinal virtues, once and for all. Whoever makes one ultimate decision that relieves him of the need for further fateful decisions, is a decidophobe. An autonomous human being asks: What are the alternatives, and how, if at all, are they preferable?

The universal appeal of courage is surely due to the fact that every society is profoundly indebted to some very courageous people and finds it in its interest to foster courage. A society that held up


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 cowardice as an ideal could not long survive. It does not follow that our deep, spontaneous admiration for a person of rare courage is accompanied by any thoughts about the consequences of his acts. Our moral sense has been shaped by poets and tellers of tales; it was inculcated in us in our childhood; and even if we modify it as we grow up and find that some of our enthusiasms do not survive close scrutiny, those we do retain continue to be nourished by a wealth of concrete associations. Because we have had an ideal for a long time, and have felt discouraged and disgusted many times with ourselves and our fellow men, those who suddenly exemplify the seemingly impossible ideal rouse us from despair and earn our gratitude.

None of this proves that it would really be best for all men to reach a very high degree of courage. I have said that courage and cowardice are two extremes, and the optimum could lie somewhere well above the mean, but well below extreme courage. To some extent, this point is taken care of by the fact that we have another word for the undesirable extreme: foolhardiness. But what has been said here about courage applies also to the other virtues, and unfortunately we lack words for excessive love, humbition, and honesty. But if we set up courage, for example, as a cardinal virtue, we shall be lucky if we produce few cowards and some men and women with a high degree of courage. Again, the same point applies to the other virtues.

Excessive humbition, honesty, and love are all self-destructive no less than foolhardiness. Those whose humbition is too great will be tormented by their failure to come up to impossible standards. Those in whom honesty becomes a rage are a menace to others and will also place themselves on the rack. And concern for others must be selective if it is to be effective, and it must be held in bounds lest it become obtrusive and annoying. The Golden Rule is intolerable; if millions did to others whatever they wished others to do to them, few would be safe from molestation. The Golden Rule shows anything but moral genius, and the claim by which it is followed in the Sermon on the Mount this is the Law and the Prophets makes little sense. Even when love is defined better, it is not the whole of virtue, much less an adequate substitute for a detailed code of law. The negative formulation is far superior: Do not do unto others what you would not want them to do to you. But even this rule, which antedates Jesus and was advanced by Hillel and, much earlier, by Confucius, falls short of what is needed.

We see this as soon as we consider the parallel to courage. Again, every society is deeply indebted to some people who showed extraordinary concern for others. It makes sense to speak of love in this context, but neither the Golden Rule nor the superior negative formulation describes the virtue of these individuals. They did something positive, but not as a rule anything they wanted anyone to do to them. Those who lay down their lives for others generally have no wish whatever for others to make such a sacrifice for them. The same applies to smaller sacrifices. What is really called for is not the simple projection of our own desires into others, but the habit of trying to fathom what those with whom we deal may feel. That is a minimum. Thinking about how we might help others is the second step. 144

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

The case for humbition is so similar to that for courage that only a single difference calls for comment. Humbition has not been celebrated since time immemorial; otherwise I should not have had to coin a name for it. Ambition has been celebrated, in effect, though usually without recourse to this word, and again society has been indebted to ambitious men. But this quality was found not only in the heroes of ones past but also in many of the major villains. In some societies, humility was held up as exemplary, but one failed to note that those who were admired for their great humility were not people resigned to being of no consequence but humbitious men. My claim is twofold: neither ambition nor humility is as desirable for the survival of society as is humbition, whose social value is immense. Moreover I find humbition intrinsically admirable. When I contemplate the characters whom I admire most, I find that insofar as they possessed humbition, I admire them for that, and insofar as they lacked it, I feel that this was a defect. Exactly the same consideration applies to the other virtues.

Honesty is different in one way from all the other virtues. As I have defined it, it consists of being rational and living in accordance with the canon. (Autonomy consists of applying the canon to fateful decisions, and the choice of norms is a fateful decision.) When someone asks: What is so good about honesty (or rationality)? one might do well to reply: Do you want an honest (or rational) answer? If he were to say no, a whimsical retort in the manner of Taoism or Zen would be called for, and if he were to say yes, one might give him back his own question: What is so good about honesty (or rationality)?

The social utility of honesty even exceeds that of the other cardinal virtues. All language learning, all speech, and all social intercourse depend on honesty, and we simply cannot dispense with this virtue. Much less could we make a virtue of dishonesty. What can be suggested is either that we could get by with something less than very high standards of honesty, or that it might be expedient to permit dishonesty in certain areas or circumstances. In fact, however, in all the years that I have lectured about honesty and the other virtues in a great many different places and in different contexts (it was not by any means always the same lecture), I have been asked occasionally as a matter of principle how I would argue for my set of four, but nobody has ever come up with specific objections or alternatives to the four virtues; nor has anybody ever tried to define areas or circumstances in which dishonesty should be permitted. Under these circumstances, I advocate high standards of honesty with only two limitations: we should proportion our efforts to the importance of the issue; and when honesty conflicts with love we should be honest in case of doubt but not inflict genuine harm on others for the sake of our virtue. It is preferable to be honest when in doubt because otherwise it would become so easy to find reasons for not being honest that this virtue would be honored mainly in the breach.



Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

I have said that it is the essence of irresponsibility to ignore the probable consequences of ones decisions. The time has come to join this issue with the moral irrationalists. For my position is as far removed from theirs as it is from moral rationalism.

Most existentialists exhortations to resoluteness and commitment extol integrity in the classical sense. By choosing with your whole heart you are supposed to become integrated. Your life crystallizes around a project and becomes whole even if the price you pay should be the new integrity.

Typically, it is assumed that because reason alone cannot prove that we should choose this project rather than that, reason is irrelevant when it comes to fateful decisions. Once that is granted, the way is clear for one or another of the strategies of decidophobia; one may choose a religion or a movement, for example. But what reason and the new integrity can do is crucial: safeguard us against decisions and commitments that anyone who asked the seven questions would not make.

When we apply the canon to alternatives, we consider not only logical consistency but also what speaks for and against each, and we evaluate the probable consequences of this decision and that. The moral irrationalist, on the other hand, chooses one alternative resolutely, without even asking how it is likely to affect various people, and he feels no need to examine with some care objections and significant alternatives.

An illustration may help. Suppose you consult a doctor, and his reasons and the evidence cannot establish conclusively what is the cause of your ailment. Imagine that he frankly admitted this and then offered to flip a coin or to pluck the petals of a daisy: to cut or not to cut, to cut or not to cut . . . This would be a paradigm of irresponsibility. What you would expect him to do is to invoke the canon. Then the most plausible hypothesis or one of the most plausible would be chosen tentatively, not with the dogged conviction that, once we have chosen it, we have to stick with it, as if that were the essence of integrity. The decidophobe objects: But there is not time for all this; such investigations might take years, and by that time the patient, if not the doctor, will be dead. Of course, it would be irresponsible to ignore the consequences, and to keep thinking up new possibilities without any regard for the time factor. But even if there is very little time, a responsible doctor will not pluck the petals of a flower or assure the patient that the most important factor is that the doctor who makes the decision is sincere or resolute. He is responsible insofar as he applies the canon as much as time permits; and what speaks against some laboratory tests and some other medical procedures is precisely that there is not time enough.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

Suppose the case were quite dramatic, and the question were whether to amputate a leg. It might not be necessary, but if we waited until we could be absolutely sure of that, the patient might well be past saving. The responsible procedure would still be to run as many tests as time permits, to weigh the pros and cons to the limits of ones ability, and then to act (let us assume, to cut) as skillfully as possible, without the bad faith that, because the die is cast, one must feel certain that one has elected the right course. If the surgeon finds out in midoperation that it was unnecessary to cut, he obviously should neither insist that it really was necessary nor throw up his hands in despair and let the patient die. All he can do at that point is to minimize the damage.

Responsibility is not accompanied by any warrant that everything will turn out well. If it does not, all we have is the small comfort that at least we have acted responsibly, with integrity. To make matters worse, irresponsible actions sometimes succeed. But that success is no proof of integrity, that the wicked often flourish, and that disaster does not prove a lack of integrity, was known to the Psalmists and the author of Job.

Given a large sample and a long period of time, responsibility succeeds much more often than irresponsibility. That is why we want physicians to act responsibly. That is why scientists and engineers are trained to check and double check their hunches. It is no different in politics. Occasionally, reckless gambles will succeed, but those who continue to place their trust in them generally come to grief before long; and the great statesmen of the past have been thoughtful men who weighed alternatives with care. That includes great revolutionaries like Lenin, who studied and wrote books about philosophy. Marx spent most of his later years at work in the library of the British Museum. He felt strongly that it was not enough to interpret the world; he wanted to change it. But the more important the changes are that one would like to bring about, the more indispensable becomes the canon.

Irrationalists may argue that this rational approach was used by some of Lyndon Johnsons best known advisers on Vietnam policy with disastrous results. But the advisers stunning lack of moral judgment stemmed from their Manichaean faith that the free world represented decency and humanity, no matter what means it employed, while the enemy represented the foes of freedom and was therefore beyond the pale and worthy of the torments of hell. So firm was this faith that one did not give sufficient weight to what spoke against the policies one favored, and the Presidents insistence on consensus compounded this failure. It is not enough to appoint one man the devils (!) advocate, as Johnson did, and then to go through the ritual of having him offer objections before the predetermined consensus is implemented. This procedure was very different from the method that I advocate, and it invited wishful thinking.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973


The classical conception of integrity was compatible with conformity. Some of its greatest proponents actually believed that it entailed or presupposed conformity. The new integrity is incompatible with conformity.

Plato, the greatest philosophical exponent of the classical conception, argued that integrity could scarcely be achieved outside a tightly integrated city-state in which every citizen performed the functions that had been assigned to him by the philosopher-kings. Each was to conform to his class, living as the members of his class were supposed to live, and believing what he was told to believe. Plato believed that Socrates had achieved integrity in a corrupt society; hence he had been a nonconformist. But Plato argued that the odds against such an achievement are overwhelming, and that anyone who brought it off was almost certain to be put to death as Socrates was.

Hegels view was similar, although it has often been misrepresented. F. H. Bradley developed it sympathetically in his essay My Station and Its Duties. But what is lacking in Bradley and crucial in Hegel is a profound sense of alienation and a tortured longing for the harmony that Hegel thought he found in ancient Greece. He sought integration of the personality through integration into a state with reasonable laws.

Hegel was impatient with individuals who found fault with their society and who insisted that it is very difficult to decide what is right. He felt that there was likely to be much more reason in the traditions that have developed over centuries and stood the test of time than in the reflections of a disgruntled individual. He also insisted that most of the time it is not at all difficult to tell right from wrong.

Actually Hegel admitted that in times of transition history shows us great collisions that make it difficult to decide what is right, and that in such situations the nonconformist who loses his fight against society Socrates, for example may be vindicated posthumously. This exception, however, does not go far enough. An individual with very high standards of honesty is bound to become alienated from his fellow men.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 We have seen how the various strategies of decidophobia are at odds with integrity. But I have also admitted that one can belong to a religion or movement, for example, without sacrificing high standards of honesty. It may therefore seem that the new integrity does not entail nonconformity or alienation. Yet not all who belong conform; nor does belonging preclude alienation one can feel deeply alienated from ones fellow members. It may be objected that one can feel that way, but that it has not been shown that the new integrity entails any such experience. Indeed, it is possible to imagine a society in which high standards of honesty would be so greatly admired that those who lived by them would be esteemed on that account and not resented. But that is not how people actually are, nor are there signs that within the lifetime of any of us, people will become that way. Meanwhile it is a fact of life that those who live by the canon reap alienation, and their nonconformity is resented.

So ubiquitous is this experience that men and women of unusual integrity often find the alienation that comes from not belonging to a religion or a movement easier to bear than the alienation that is generated by belonging but insisting on the canon. Constantly rubbing shoulders with those who resent uncomfortable queries and objections may be felt to be harder than leaving the fold altogether.

One might suppose that there is at least one kind of community in which the new integrity is a way of life and in which the canon is so widely accepted that it constitutes a glorious counterexample: the academic community, or at least professors, if not students. This is not the place to document timidity, conformity, intolerance, and the lack of high standards of honesty in academia. Woe unto the man or woman who does not belong to the right school of thought! But this theme has been discussed in the context of decidophobia. Nor would it be profitable to use professorial book reviews as an illustration, for that subject is so vast that we should be distracted from our central concern here. But consider meetings of committees, academic departments, the faculty as a whole, or meetings that are attended by large numbers of students, too. A considerable amount of courage is required to raise objections or suggest alternatives that others plainly do not want to hear, and it is extraordinary how often that which is not gladly heard remains unspoken. Some professors, of course, are luminous examples of integrity as are some lawyers, writers, doctors, and men and women in other walks of life. But they pay the usual price.


In spite of much timidity and the many confusions about honesty, the twentieth century has witnessed a growing recognition of what true honesty involves. Consider two of the leading philosophical movements of our century: analytical philosophy and existentialism. Both have contributed to this recognition.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

One could date analytic philosophy from G. E. Moores dogged attacks on his predecessors, beginning in 1903. His refrain was ever: What could they possibly have meant? When others cited his own dicta, he was not beyond saying that he was not sure what he himself could possibly have meant. All this was rather mannered, and Moores articles not to speak of his imitators were at times tediously pedantic, as he considered one after another outrageous answer to his question, finding predictably that none would do. Yet he taught philosophers a new ethos.

Confronted with Moores example, it would no longer do to assume that obscurity was any warrant of profundity. Moore was pedestrian to a fault, intent on not tolerating any nonsense, however highsounding. For all his limitations, he raised the standards of honesty, at least in philosophy.

It is arguable that much of what people learned from Moore could also have been learned from Socrates. But it took Moore to make us aware of this aspect of Socrates. Even so the degree to which Socrates embodied not only the classical but also the new conception of integrity is noteworthy, and we shall have to return to this point.

Sartre, born two years after Moore published his first book, also raised standards of honesty, but in a very different way. By Moores standards, much of Sartres philosophical prose is atrocious an example of precisely the kind of writing that Moore tried to exorcize. But in Being and Nothingness no less than in his plays, novels, and short stories, Sartre tried to expose the wiles of self-deception. Thus he, too, showed what honesty involves and how difficult it is to attain. While Moore honed the intellectual conscience of a generation or two of professional philosophers, Sartre sensitized that of their students.

Their complementary insights are not readily seen to complement each other. Many professors are appalled by their students sloppiness and lack of rigor and their failure to live up to high standards of honesty, while the students reciprocate by being no less shocked by what strikes them as the bad faith of many of their teachers. Too often both sides are right to be dismayed.

Philosophers have not been alone in contributing to the growing recognition of what honesty involves. It is to Sigmund Freud more than to anyone else that we owe the realization that there are degrees of honesty and that it is quite common for men to be less than wholly honest without being outright liars. He has shown how difficult it is to be honest with oneself.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 The dimension explored by Freud fits into the first of the seven questions of the canon: What does this mean? Moores conception of meaning was curiously narrow, and that of some positivists was even narrower. At one time the latter actually argued that all propositions that could not be verified ethical judgments, for example were meaningless. On their own showing, their claim that such propositions were meaningless was itself meaningless. When this position proved unsatisfactory, many analytic philosophers took their cue from Wittgensteins later thinking and suggested that in order to get at the meaning of a word one must consider how a child is taught to use the word. But there are dimensions of meaning that are rarely considered by most philosophers, and it is more to the point to think of the meaning of claims, beliefs, and views than to concentrate on words.

It will suffice here to mention psychological meaning, sociological meaning, and historical meaning. Under the first heading, one might distinguish further between intended meaning (what a person is driving at, or what he is trying to say, although he may put his point badly); emotional meaning (what it means to him, in the sense in which it may mean a great deal to him); and psychoanalytic meaning (assuming that a proposition may sometimes mean more to a person than he himself realizes).

Insofar as the new integrity consists of asking seven questions, it cannot rest content with a wholly superficial and onedimensional answer to the question: What does this mean? Discussions of religious claims, for example, are often obtuse because they completely ignore psychological meaning. Not only must we occasionally ask whether the claims of other men mean more to them than they themselves realize, but we also have to push this question regarding our own beliefs. This is often difficult, but it is by no means always impossible. The person who never asks himself questions of this sort is making insufficient efforts to overcome self-deception and to that extent lacks high standards of honesty.

Thus the development of the new integrity owes a great deal to Freud. Yet Freud shared the overestimation of honesty when he said in a memorable and beautiful passage: Whoever has completed successfully the education for truthfulness toward himself, is permanently immune against the danger of immorality, even if his standard of morality should differ in some ways from what is customary in society. I have argued that those who have learned to be honest with themselves could lack love, courage, and humbition.

The claim that standards of honesty have been raised in Our century may seem to be paradoxical. What we are conscious of is the abundance of dishonesty not only in religion, politics, and advertising. The whole quality of modern life is poisoned and polluted by dishonesty.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Once again it may help to recall the Hebrew prophets. They certainly raised moral standards, but that does not mean that their contemporaries were more moral than their predecessors. One only needs to read the prophets to realize that this was not the case. Specifically, Micah and Isaiah raised moral standards when they proclaimed war to be evil and demanded that swords should be made into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. Yet wars did not cease, and twenty-five centuries later most of mankind still had not accepted even in theory the standards set by Micah and Isaiah. Only after the horrors of World War II, when confronted with atomic bombs, did much of mankind come to agree that nations ought not to learn war any more, but even then many nations continued to wage wars. Most Americans did not disapprove of the Vietnam war until they felt that they were not winning it. From this depressing record it does not follow that the prophets did not raise moral standards.


The question remains as to whether it is proper to speak of the new integrity. Is it really new? After all, Socrates approached it, and so did Job. But in antiquity Socrates was admired for some of his other qualities; and to this day, Job is usually seen differently. Few readers even notice that when he says to his friends, Till I die, I will not part from my integrity, he means his honesty. Those who note his honesty generally suppose that it consists merely of his not being a hypocrite, and it is widely held that his friends are hypocrites. But they say little that has not been repeated through the centuries by theologians of many different denominations. They accept the wisdom that is ready at hand. Popular wisdom or common sense has some authority for them, and hearing each other confirms each in his views. They are not hypocrites; neither do they see any need for taking pains to find out what might be true. They prefer the instant wisdom that only authority can furnish.

Honesty in the sense of truth-telling was esteemed as a virtue even in antiquity, although it was not widely esteemed as a cardinal virtue. Honesty in the sense of taking great pains to determine the truth was rarely praised. In Socrates and some of the pre-Socratic Greek philosophers this ethos is implicit. Thucydides once gave voice to his contempt for those who accept as truth what is ready at hand, instead of taking pains to discover the truth. Sophocles described the same ethos in Oedipus Tyrannus. There was a tradition that Oedipus was the wisest of men, but Sophocles endowed him with a passion to discover the truth, a determination that becomes the central motif of his life, and a profound scorn for all who do not share this ethos.

Honesty in the sense of a sustained attack on self-deception is, as we have seen, the most modem aspect of the new integrity. To us it is familiar through the works of Gide and Sartre and a host of other twentieth-century writers. We can trace it back beyond Freud and Nietzsche to Goethes


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Mephistopheles, whose wit keeps exposing Fausts romantic self-deceptions. Earlier than that, we find little of this ethos. Sophocles Oedipus is a towering exception. The truth he seeks is the truth about himself, while Creon, Teiresias, and his wife-mother keep advising him that his happiness depends on not finding out. His high standards of honesty alienate him from his environment, and his integrity becomes his undoing.

It may still seem incredible that the new integrity should be as new as I claim. It may seem improbable that in antiquity a mere handful of men exemplified it. Were the author of Job, Sophocles, Thucydides, and Socrates really that exceptional? Of Course, one might add another example or two, but people are so inclined to think that things were always much the same as now that some are bound to wonder if the new integrity was not always much more widespread than I have suggested. Let them reflect on the history of philosophy in the light of G. E. Moores ethos. Let them ask themselves how many people applied the canon to their religious tradition, their scriptures, their theologians, their holy men, or merely their professors. Let them also reflect on the lack of the Freudian sensitivity before Freud. If this sounds too general, let me recall my grandmothers insistence that a teacher is a hallowed person eine geheiligte Person. Even after World War II, many German professors seemed to feel that way about themselves, and in the 1950s many of their students still accepted this view. In the late 1960s they went to the opposite extreme.

All of this becomes more plausible as soon as one recalls how the new integrity involves autonomy deciding for oneself and not accepting the ten strategies of decidophobia. When Luther and Calvin defied the church, they appealed to authority. The Enlightenment came closer to autonomy.

Enlightenment is mans emergence from his self-incurred minority. Minority is the incapacity for using ones understanding without the guidance of another. And this minority is self-incurred when it is caused by the lack not of understanding but of determination and courage to use it without the guidance of another. Sapere aude! Have the courage to avail yourself of your own understanding that is the motto of the Enlightenment.

These are Kants words, and in his ethics he also made much of autonomy. Nevertheless, he and many other great men of that period had recourse to moral rationalism. Kants style was usually dry and scholastic, but the effusiveness of his apostrophes to Duty and to the Moral Law shows how they were for him surrogates for God, and how much he still required some authority. Some of his contemporaries in France, of course, formally proclaimed Reason a goddess.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

Some of the romantics reacted against this rationalism and became moral irrationalists, apostles of feeling and intuition. But the ideal of autonomy clearly owes something to the romantics, too. What was needed was a step beyond moral rationalism and moral irrationalism, and before the twentieth century that step was taken only by a very few individuals here and there. Kants younger contemporary Goethe was autonomous, and among the ancients also, as noted earlier, Euripides. But hitherto the ethos of the new integrity has never been spelled out as here.

Are both the old and the new integrity partial? Do we really need both? Fortunate indeed are those who have both, but those still striving to develop the new integrity cannot afford to be overly concerned about the classical integrity. Those intent on harmony and serenity will dull the cutting edge of the new integrity. Seeing how it entails alienation, they will seek refuge in the strategies of decidophobia. But those who attain the new integrity may find eventually that the old integrity is coming to them, too. 70

HUMANITY craves but dreads autonomy. My reflections on decidophobia, alienation, and the new integrity suggest that those who choose autonomy, refusing the comforts of conformity, must pay a heavy price. In some ways, autonomy is an austere ideal. Could it be that one cannot hope to be happy if he elects autonomy and that one is bound to feel unhappy without it? Anyone trying to develop an autonomous ethic must face up to this question. The answer obviously depends on what is meant by happiness.

Many dictionaries distinguish three meanings of happiness, which the most comprehensive dictionary of our language, the Oxford English Dictionary, defines as follows:

1. Good fortune, luck in life or in a particular affair; success, prosperity. 2. The state of pleasurable content of mind, which results from success or the attainment of what is considered good. 3. Successful or felicitous aptitude, fitness, suitability, or appropriateness; felicity.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 The third definition is clearly marginal and irrelevant here. It refers to such extended and almost metaphorical uses of the word as happiness of language or happiness of expression. That leaves two concepts of happiness, but the dictionary definitions tell us more about the civilization that produced them than about happiness or the legitimate uses of that word.

It is not only in the Oxford English Dictionary that pride of place is given to prosperity. Yet one can be prosperous and unhappy, or a model of happiness although far from prosperity. Even if we ignore the primary, economic meaning of prosperity and think of it as the condition of being successful or thriving, this is still a far cry from happiness. Many people are successful and thriving without having found happiness, while others have found happiness although they are neither thriving nor successful. Precisely the same considerations apply to good fortune and luck in life or in a particular affair. This emphasis on prosperity and success reflects the outlook of one culture, and valuations against which millions are in revolt.

The second definition is based on the same error. When we ascribe happiness to a person we are far from committing ourselves to the view that his state of mind results from success or attainment. The cause is left open. It could be alcohol or a drug. Nor is there anything at all unusual about speaking of the happiness of a child at play; yet none of the Oxford English Dictionarys three definitions covers this important usage. Or imagine someone skiing down a dangerous slope at breakneck speed, or perhaps climbing a difficult peak.

There are two different concepts of happiness, but the Oxford English Dictionary has got both of them wrong by mistaking special cases for the whole. In the first sense, (1a) happiness is a state, not necessarily conscious, that is desired. This definition makes the best sense of the pursuit of happiness. Quite possibly, some of the signers of the Declaration of Independence meant to assert the right to pursue prosperity and success, but it is more interesting and fruitful to reflect on the pursuit of that state which one desires, and to remember that this need not be prosperity or pleasure.

It may be objected that desire has no place in the definition of happiness because what is desired may not actually bring contentment when it is attained. This happens so frequently that it may be said to be typical, but it does not invalidate my definition. Consider the phrase not necessarily conscious: if the desired state should not be conscious, it cannot be accompanied by contentment or a sense of happiness. If we defined happiness as a state desired in the having of it, it would follow that Nirvana the cessation of desire could not be happiness. But the states I wish to discuss include Nirvana, and it makes good sense to say that millions desire the cessation of desire and that this is what happiness means to them. No doubt, one could define happiness in this first sense somewhat differently, but I


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 hope that my definition will turn out to be interesting and fruitful. Let us call it formal, for short, because no particular content is specified, or inclusive, because it allows for so many different conceptions of happiness.

In the second sense, (2a) happiness is a state of mind that is marked by pleasure and the absence of all pain and discomfort. This conception is material and might also be called the narrow sense of happiness. It might be objected that this definition goes too far in excluding all pain and discomfort. Might it not suffice if the balance of pleasure over pain and discomfort was very great? It is tempting to retort: How great? But it is clear in any case that happiness permits degrees, and it seems reasonable to define happiness in terms of the extreme that can be approximated more or less. Again, I cheerfully concede that slightly different definitions are possible, but I hope that mine will be seen to be interesting and fruitful.

A great deal of confusion is due to the fact that so many people, including some writers on this subject, fail to distinguish clearly between the formal and material senses and then come to assume that happiness must consist in a state of mind that is marked by pleasure and the absence of all pain and discomfort, and that this is the only state that man can possibly desire. This is clearly wrong and shows an appalling lack of imagination as well as an astounding failure to consult literature, psychology, and history. The happiness of mountain climbers and explorers, Alexander, Caesar, crusaders, empire builders, captains of industry, and politicians who desire to be President of the United States is clearly not a state devoid of all discomfort. Nor is the happiness of lovers or of parenthood.

With this basic distinction in mind, let us see whether autonomy and happiness are compatible, and begin with the narrow, material conception of happiness.


If the question is whether brief spans of happiness in the narrow sense are compatible with autonomy, the answer is obviously yes. No matter how high a persons standards may be, there is no reason to doubt that he can relax occasionally, if only briefly, without feeling any pain or discomfort. He may see scenery of such extraordinary beauty that he temporarily feels nothing but intense delight. Love, although over a period of time anything but a good prescription for those who are in search of freedom from all suffering, also offers short spans of such happiness. And there are many less intense examples an early morning walk, seeing a flower or a fine tree, a drink of cold water, or biting into a crisp apple.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

The question of whether always being happy in this way is compatible with autonomy is no harder to answer. Not only have I shown in the last two chapters that the answer is no, but it should be obvious that always being happy in this way is not compatible with being human. A frontal lobotomy might bring one closer to this goal by relieving stress and sensitivity along with intelligence, but in order never to feel any pain or discomfort one would have to be drugged permanently and dehumanized completely.

Moreover, there would presumably be no pleasure left in such a state of nonmind. Pleasure depends upon some contrast. The sudden ebbing away of intense pain after a shot of morphine or Demerol is experienced as extreme bliss. If the pain that preceded the injection lasted very long and was very severe, the relief may be enjoyed immensely for some time, but it lasts no longer than the live perception of the contrast. Pleasure resembles the experience of warm and cold; even as the same temperature may be experienced as warm or cold, depending on the temperature experienced directly before, the same sensations may be experienced as pleasant or unpleasant, depending on what went before. Hence a state of mind that is marked by pleasure and the absence of all pain and discomfort cannot last.

Consider what is probably our first experience of pleasure: being fed. The pleasure depends on the discomfort, if not pain, that preceded it. When the infant is hungry, the nipple spells pleasure. When the infant is sated, it pushes the nipple away angrily. This primary experience of pleasure is paradigmatic: what is pleasant by way of contrast becomes boring and unpleasant when there is no contrast. Every theory of pleasure should take into account the phenomenon of boredom.

The third interpretation of the question as to whether autonomy and happiness are compatible is more reasonable than the first two and makes the problem a little more difficult to solve. Is a life dedicated to the maximizing of pleasure and the minimizing of pain and discomfort compatible with autonomy? (We now no longer depend on the very stringent definition of happiness as excluding all pain and discomfort.) The question could also be put this way: Are liberty and the pursuit of happiness (in this sense) compatible?

Most Americans and probably also most Europeans take it for granted that they are, and not a few fail to distinguish between our two concepts of happiness. But the pursuit of happiness in the narrow sense is incompatible with freedom and autonomy.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Dostoevskys Grand Inquisitor faced this question squarely. He argued that the freedom to make fateful decisions breeds anxiety and makes for a great deal of worry and discomfort; he valued happiness above autonomy; and he therefore argued in favor of what I call benevolent totalitarianism.

Those who associate totalitarianism primarily with Stalins and Hitlers malevolent totalitarianism may consider this coinage a contradiction in terms. But it makes far better sense to use the term neutrally for governments that insist on their right to regulate the peoples lives totally, and this is what the Inquisitors argument is all about. My coinage also cuts through many confused arguments about Plato. Some authors see him as a totalitarian, while others insist that he was a decent man and therefore could not have been a totalitarian. Men in the latter camp have even argued that since Plato was a decent man he must really have been a democrat. But he was the first great proponent of benevolent totalitarianism and believed that the only way to make the greatest possible number, if not actually everybody, as content and virtuous as they were capable of being was to regulate mens lives totally.

Plato believed that men were radically unequal, that there were three very different types, and that all three could attain contentment and virtue in his ideal state. The Grand Inquisitor, on the other hand, insists that all men are basically equal, although some are more gifted than others, and he suggests that the few who are more gifted should sacrifice their happiness for the happiness of the greatest possible number. All men are so constituted, he argues, that freedom brings them unhappiness, but some have to make decisions and renounce happiness for the good of their fellow men.

Plato does not face the problem of the happiness or unhappiness of the decision-makers as squarely and explicitly as the Grand Inquisitor does. In the Republic the philosopher-guardians are not really decisionmakers in the Grand Inquisitors sense. They themselves are deceived in the annual sex lottery, thinking that the selection of partners is random and left to chance when in fact it is fixed and carefully planned to bring about the best breeding results. Those who do the fixing are never discussed, but it is clear that they do not live with frightening decisions. At this point Platos moral rationalism is crucial. Those at the top do not really have to make decisions; it is all a matter of seeing what is right, and the decisions about breeding follow from mathematical really, astrological calculations.

While rejecting Platos moral rationalism, one might tell the Grand Inquisitors elite: There is really no need for you to sacrifice your happiness; we have learned in the twentieth century how decision-making can be assigned to committees in such a way that no individual has much responsibility. Not only can matters be so arranged that nobody has much freedom to make momentous decisions, but in politics and business: in bureaucracies and schools we have come very close to attaining such a state, and where it has not been reached as yet we are coming closer to it by the day.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

Ironically, the radical demand for participation accelerates this movement. When heeded, it results either in a proliferation of ever-larger committees or in decision-making by huge crowds who have been harangued by several orators. Neither way is any individual called upon to make momentous decisions. His options are reduced to voting with the majority or the minority, or more rarely to voting for one of as many as perhaps half a dozen proposals. He is safe from any frightening responsibility for what is done. Dread has been reduced drastically if it has not been removed altogether. Hardly anyone is weighed down by a heavy sense of responsibility. Indeed, the larger the crowd is, the more one is usually struck by the exuberant sense of irresponsibility.

The canon is sacrificed to a sense of community. Anxiety, alienation, and the new integrity vanish. Pain ebbs away, and euphoria sets in.

At this point it may seem that the Grand Inquisitor, even though right that autonomy and happiness in the narrow sense are incompatible, was wrong in supposing that the most gifted must sacrifice their own happiness to ensure the greatest possible happiness of the greatest possible number. Fateful decisions could be made without pain and discomfort. But to prove the Inquisitor wrong, we should have to assume that decisions made this way over a period of time would result in the greatest possible happiness of the greatest possible number. This assumption, however, is clearly false. (See page 192).

Decisions can be made painlessly, without discomfort, worry, or exertion. But who would want to entrust his sick child to a doctor who was known for making decisions in that fashion? Or who would take his best friend who had come down with a strange disease that defied easy diagnosis to a gathering of thousands of whom the great majority had no knowledge of medicine, and let them vote on the diagnosis and the best procedure without even going to the trouble of examining the patient and performing various tests? These two examples concern the welfare of a single person, and yet we should not dream of settling for such methods. Oddly, when the issues at stake affect the welfare and quite literally the lives, the liberties, and the pursuit of happiness of very large numbers of people, millions find no fault with such procedures.

The comparison with the physician goes back all the way to Plato, but as put here it does not entail authoritarianism or benevolent totalitarianism. I do not share Platos moral rationalism; I do not believe that a few men and women have the gift of seeing what is right, and it is the whole thrust of my analysis to show how difficult it is to make fateful decisions in a responsible manner.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Those who wish to escape as far as possible from pain and discomfort will try to avoid alienation and seek membership in a community that makes it unnecessary to face fateful and terrifying decisions all alone; they will opt for some of the strategies of decidophobia rather than the new integrity. Thus the pursuit of happiness in the narrow sense is incompatible with autonomy.


This is not all that needs to be said against the pursuit of happiness in the narrow sense. Consider Nietzsches last men in the Prologue to Zarathustra: We have invented happiness, say the last men. . . One still loves ones neighbor and rubs against him, for one needs warmth . . . . No shepherd and one herd! Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse or at least to a psychiatrist.

Nietzsche does not stand alone in his contempt for such contentment. Millions, including some who admire Nietzsche, some who have never heard of him, and some who lived long before Zarathustra was written, share this contempt. In this they are at one with men as different as Socrates and Caesar, Beethoven and Goethe, and most of the famous generals, statesmen, philosophers, artists, poets, novelists, explorers, and discoverers whose lives continue to fascinate more ordinary men. This fascination suggests that the differences among people are less radical than some writers suppose.

Insofar as there are two kinds of people, there are those who have given up, who have thrown in the sponge and now live vicariously, by proxy, the lives they really desired to live in the first place; and there are those who have not abandoned hope. But it would be false to suppose that the first type lived in despair, the second in hope. There may actually be more hope in the first camp, particularly if we include hope deferred hope for some radical change after death, for example. Despair is to be found in both camps; among ordinary people it is chronic but covered by a thin crust of contentment; among the others it flares up occasionally with immense power, alternating with eruptions of no less intense joy. By contrasting drab existences, devoid of passion, with the lives of those who live dangerously, one can gain the false impression that there are two types of people and almost two breeds. But in fact there is a continuum, and millions live far from both extremes.

The contentment of the conformists is mixed liberally with frustration and resentment and the sense that one has failed to get what one desired most. Having settled for second best or more nearly tenth best one can admire from a distance some of those who have lived freer lives, while one detests


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 nonconformists near at hand. Socrates was a great man as long as more than twenty centuries lie between him and us. At that safe distance one can even speak well of the prophets.

The resentment people feel against nonconformists gives expression to a deep frustration, a profound resentment of ones own existence, and a cancerous discontent. Basically, the attitude is that of the woman who said to King Solomon, Cut the child in half. If I cant have a live child, why should she? If I had to settle for conformity, why shouldnt they?

It does not follow that the nonconformist has a free and open nature and is generous. On the contrary, most nonconformists bristle with resentment, and more often than not todays nonconformist is tomorrows conformist and comes to feel that if he did not make it there is no good reason why somebody else should. For that matter, the great majority of so-called nonconformists are in fact conformists who have merely cast their lot with a smaller group.

Even the joys of a truly free life that is not mired in conformity are usually mixed with a great deal of frustration and frequent self-doubt and occasionally with resentment of conformists who seem so damnably content.

The dualists who would divide humanity into two camps are wrong. As usual, we are confronted with a continuum. For certain purposes it may be useful to contrast two types, but we should keep in mind that there are many types, and that people have a great deal in common.

Cloudless contentment is not open to man, and if he trades his freedom and integrity for it, the time will come when he feels cheated. This does not mean that he will openly regret the bargain. Most people have failed to cultivate their critical perception of their own present position and of the alternatives they might have chosen; precisely this is the trade they made; this is what they gave up for comfort and contentment. Now they feel cheated without knowing how and when and why. What they feel is a diffuse and free-floating resentment in search of an object.

Having given up autonomy for happiness, they have missed out on both. This strategy does not work. Merely renouncing freedom does not spell the end of all frustration and all discontent; to achieve that aim one must also deprive people of much of their human potential. Hence the strategy considered here is often supplemented with alcohol, tranquilizers, or other drugs; but what people find is merely relief, not lasting happiness.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

It will be noted that my critique did not depend on the stringent definition of happiness in the narrow sense as excluding all discomfort and pain: I have also dealt with the concern to minimize pain and discomfort. But as we now turn to consider happiness in the formal or inclusive sense as a state, not necessarily conscious, that is desired we must recall once more the paradox that it is possible to say, This is what happiness means to me, and then not to be happy when we are in that state. Not only is this possible, but it is a very common experience.

It may therefore seem that a state that is desired and that is thought to be happiness need not really be happiness. If so, my definition (la) would be faulty. But what does it mean to say that it is not really happiness? If it merely means that on being attained it is no longer desired, I have already answered that objection by pointing out that if it were sustained, then the cessation of desire as well as unconscious states would be disqualified. But what I want is a wide enough definition of happiness to include Nirvana, which strikes me as one of the most interesting conceptions of happiness.

Next, it might be claimed that what is thought to be happiness is not really happiness if, once the state is attained, one still feels discomfort and pain. But anyone who would argue that way would have slipped back into the narrow definition of happiness as if pain and discomfort could not be ingredients of happiness. My answer to the first objection shows why we should not make satisfaction a necessary condition of happiness, and my answer to the second objection shows why we must not make the absence of dissatisfaction a necessary condition of happiness.

What, then, is the meaning of these final reflections on happiness in the narrow sense? I have tried to show how those who renounce autonomy for happiness miss out on both. In what sense can they be said to miss out on happiness? Did they not obtain the state that they desired? If they did, then they attained happiness in the inclusive sense. But it was the whole point of those final reflections that they did not. The state they attained was not the state they desired but was riddled with pain and discomfort. Thus a life dedicated to the pursuit of happiness in the narrow, hedonistic sense is open not only to external criticism but also to internal criticism.


What about happiness in the formal or inclusive sense? Is that compatible with autonomy? It all depends on how happiness is conceived. One could even say: The state I desire is autonomy; for me


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 happiness consists of being that kind of a person, or perhaps, for me happiness is the pursuit of the new integrity. While this is right as far as it goes, it is worthwhile to consider, in conclusion, two or three other conceptions of happiness that are also compatible with autonomy and the new integrity.

The autonomous life is demanding and requires one to stand alone at crucial moments, but this does not mean that ones life has to be miserable. Not only might one seek ones happiness in a strenuous life, but autonomy is compatible with ways of life that large numbers of admirable people have desired in the past and still desire.

Realizing that the narrow, hedonistic conception of happiness is flawed, that those who pursue it do not find it, and that the states people desire are so often disappointing when they are attained, some of the greatest sages have preached Nirvana. Even before the Buddha, Nirvana was taught by Hindu and Jain teachers. Both the word and the idea come from India but have spread to Ceylon and the East from there, and since the time of Schopenhauer and romanticism they have gradually entered the consciousness of Europe and America, as well. What seemed a specifically Asian ideal at one time came to appeal to millions of Europeans after World War I and to a great many Americans since World War II. Even if one has no wish to catalogue and analyze large numbers of different conceptions of happiness, Nirvana needs to be considered.

The word is Sanskrit and means extinction. What is meant is extinction of consciousness, but some teachers have said that Nirvana is bliss unspeakable. Hence there are two schools of thought, one defining Nirvana in the first way, the other in the second, and it is widely believed that the two interpretations are mutually incompatible. This unempirical approach comes nowhere near understanding what Nirvana is all about. Both definitions are correct and quite compatible. To see this, one must reflect on concrete experiences and not merely on rival definitions.

Imagine yourself in terrible pain. After two days of excruciating torment, a physician gives you a shot of morphine. Gradually the pains diminish, consciousness ebbs away, and the approaching extinction of consciousness is felt to be bliss unspeakable.

Plato argued in The Republic that in such cases we encounter only an illusion of pleasure or bliss. He had heard of men afflicted with severe pain saying that there is no greater pleasure than the cessation of this suffering, but he argued that the quietude that is free from both positive delight and painful sensations may be experienced as pleasurable when it is preceded by great pain and as painful when it is preceded by great pleasure. This is a variant of a point I have made earlier in trying to show how the


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 experience of pleasure depends on some contrast. But neither Platos point nor my own invalidates my argument about Nirvana. Obviously, the extinction of consciousness precludes any sensation of pleasure and it rules out the interpretation of bliss unspeakable in terms of the narrow, hedonistic conception of happiness, which we left behind some time ago. Our concern now is with the extinction of consciousness as a state that is desired or, in Hamlets words, a consummation devoutly to be wishd.

Plato might still object that in the midst of keen pleasure the extinction of consciousness will not be seen as bliss unspeakable or as a consummation devoutly to be wishd. But that is surely elementary, and apart from that point one simply cannot begin to understand Nirvana. One must first of all experience life as wretchedness and misery and suffering. As long as pain is seen as an untoward accident, and suffering as an inconvenient and infrequent interruption and this is still the rule among Americans and Europeans one is not ready for the teaching of Nirvana. Hence it was the Buddhas first concern to teach what he called the first of the four Noble Truths: the universality of suffering. Old age, sickness, and death are not accidents but define the character of human life. It is pleasure that is an occasional interruption; what lasts is suffering. And the only enduring happiness is Nirvana the unspeakable bliss of the extinction of consciousness.

The cause of suffering is, in the last analysis, desire or attachment. The death of others need not grieve us if we are not attached to them; the prospect of our own death need not grieve us if we are not attached to life; ingratitude need not grieve us if we do not desire gratitude; loss of possessions need not cause suffering to those who are not attached to possessions; and loss of ones youth and health need not grieve those who are not attached to youth and health. Hence those who learn detachment and extinction of desire will experience the cessation of suffering. According to the Buddha, this noble goal was not to be reached in an instant through an act of grace; it could be reached only by following the noble eightfold path: right views, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. Neither the life style of hedonism nor the rigors of strict asceticism would do; what was called for was this noble middle path: a careful regimen of self-control, a life oriented entirely toward the extinction of desire, diligent cultivation of detachment.

Still, this pursuit of happiness is not devoid of all emotion. Approaching bliss unspeakable by virtue of ones own exertions is no mean feat. One has engaged in combat against all the terrors of the world and now, by dint of ones indomitable self-discipline, one prevails. This sense of triumph has found classical expression in the ancient story of the Buddhas temptation. When Mara, the tempter, sought to dissuade him from entering Nirvana and offered him rule over all the continents and their attending isles, the Buddha spurned the offer, saying that he was about to make the ten thousand worlds tremble as he attained enlightenment. What a petty thing is worldly power, even if it encompassed all the continents, compared to this triumph over ten thousand worlds!


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

This truly noble idea of happiness is compatible with the new integrity. It need not involve any selfdeception; it is compatible with the canon, and it does not commit one to any of the strategies of decidophobia. This last point requires some elaboration. Does it not commit one to religion, to joining a movement, to belonging to a school of thought, and perhaps even to exegetical thinking? Clearly, the quest for Nirvana is no warrant of integrity.

Some join a religion or a movement for the sake of fellowship, to escape from intolerable isolation, and pay the price of not applying the canon to the basic tenets of the group. Some go into a Zen monastery and submit completely to the masters authority, hoping to find enlightenment that way. Not only do they fail to question the masters words, they cultivate mistrust of reason and make a virtue of uncritical obedience. Obviously, many who are looking for Nirvana have given up the quest for the new integrity. But the conception of happiness as Nirvana does not require one to do that.

The Buddha himself resisted nine of the ten strategies of decidophobia, but not moral rationalism. He taught that rational reflection showed clearly that his goal and his path to it were right. But the quest for Nirvana does not entail moral rationalism; this quest is compatible with autonomy.


The great alternative to Nirvana is the creative life. Nirvana is negative freedom, freedom from; the creative life is positive freedom, freedom to.

The creative life involves alienation from others and from society. This alienation will sometimes be experienced as acutely painful, but when one is creative that price does not seem too steep. When ones creative powers flag and one is dissatisfied with ones own work, it may not seem worth it. At such times, when one is not creative, one may actually envy those who live a very different kind of life, endow them with a bliss they do not feel, and thus deceive oneself. But when one is creative, one would not change places with anyone except possibly one who is more creative.

The creative life is obviously compatible with a lack of integrity. There is no striking correlation between creativity and a keen intellectual conscience. Creative men and women are not necessarily particularly partial to the canon. But any notion that creative artists and writers must be lacking in the new integrity


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 is false. It is a romantic prejudice that a highly developed reason and a critical intelligence are not compatible with the creation of great art. Among the ancients Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides give the lie to this legend; among the modems it may suffice to recall Leonardo and Goethe.

Each of these men was endowed with extraordinary intellectual powers and put them to use in his creative work. Indeed, the three tragic poets of Athens contributed as much to the rise of Western philosophy as did the so-called pre-Socratics. More than anyone before him, Aeschylus reflected critically on moral problems, considering at length what spoke for and against opposing views, and Euripides took another large step in the direction of the canon.

Such great names may suggest that the creative life is open only to a few. If so, most people would have to settle for another kind of happiness. This Manichaean assumption that there are two kinds of people a small creative elite and a vast uncreative majority does incalculable harm. It leads millions either to settle for the kind of life in which eventually they feel frustrated, cheated, and resentful, or to long for Nirvana.

There are degrees of creativity. Being no Michelangelo or Mozart does not condemn one to be uncreative. I shall try to show that all people really desire to be creative, but that is an ambitious claim, and if I should not succeed in establishing that, this conception of happiness would still rate inclusion here. It has to be discussed to round out my account of decidophobia, liberation from guilt, and alienation.

Any claim that something is really desired raises serious problems, but I can define that phrase. A child that is naughty while his mother entertains guests can be said to really desire her attention even if, on being asked, the child rejects the mere suggestion with the utmost scorn and says: I hate my mother. What is meant is that he would not have been so naughty if he had had his mothers attention; that the naughtiness was prompted by frustration; and that, while it may be too late now, the mother might be able to verify the suggestion when a similar occasion arises in the future.

The point about the creative life is precisely the same. Insofar as people do not lead creative lives, they feel frustrated, and one typical reaction is resentment that may issue in aggressive behavior (naughtiness). Once that point is reached, it may be too late to suggest that what is really wanted is a creative life; this claim may be met with scorn and hatred. But it has to be tested not against what people say once they feel frustrated but against peoples behavior when they do and when they do not lead creative lives.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

The creative life is no panacea. Neither is a mothers attention. The thesis that all people desire something does not imply that this is all they desire. A child that has his mothers attention but no opportunity to engage in creative activities will feel frustrated and miserable. So will a creative child who lives with a mother who gives him no attention. And a child who is creative and has his mothers attention may still be miserable in spite of that if he does not have enough to eat, or if he cannot keep warm in the winter, or if he has a sadistic father or a cruel older sister.

It is nave to suppose that only one thing is needfuL Men desire and need many things, and creativity is merely one of these, but the creative life is a phrase that covers more than one thing. To live a creative life one needs a great many things, including food and some security and, depending on ones talents, usually also some utensils. The question remains whether all people really desire such a life.


The most important single piece of evidence is play. All over the world children play. And while it is difficult to define play (see Johan Huizingas splendid book Homo Ludens), it is of the essence of play that it is creative.

As children grow older, they play games that, more often than not, involve a ritual with rules, but within these rules there is room for originality. Chess is a fine example. But the most remarkable evidence for the creativity of all people comes much earlier in life and involves less structured play.

A little girl playing with dolls is a playwright, stage designer, and director, an actress who may playas many roles as she pleases, improvising to her hearts content, and she can begin and end performances whenever she feels like it. She can invent new characters at any point indeed, create them out of nothing, along with any props that strike her fancy. The promise of the serpent has come true for her: she is as gods.

The dolls are incidental. Children create a world ex nihilo and after a few minutes, when they have grown tired of it, they consign it back to nothingness. They people these worlds with real and imaginary persons, beasts, and props, mixing reality and fantasy according to their whims. That is how grandly we start out in life!


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

It has been said that memory yields to pride, and we forget the shameful things that we have done. It has also been suggested that children are often ashamed of their lowly origins and invent noble parents for themselves. But here we witness almost the opposite of both claims. It is so humiliating that we have fallen so low from such noble beginnings that pride makes us forget how we were once omnipotent creators. For centuries this whole period of life was almost totally forgotten. Nobody gave any thought to it, even if he wrote the story of his own life, which scarcely anybody ever did. But even now each one of us tends to forget how creative he was as a small child. It would be too embarrassing to realize how uncreative our lives have become since.

If memory supported my description, and that were all the evidence I had, my case would be weaker than it is in fact, for the reliability of memory might then be questioned. But the evidence is available here and now, every day. We only need to observe children.

What children create usually does not last. But that is immaterial. Creativity is not tied to monuments that defy centuries. Certainly, people do not need to be creative in such a grand manner. The creativity of which I speak is much closer to childrens play. Yet there is a continuum between the little girl with her dolls and Shakespeare.

Shakespeare took no care to see that his plays would last. He took some trouble over the printing of two long poems, but none over the printing of his plays. In his day, plays were not considered literature, and when his friend Ben Jonson, just a little later, published his own plays as Works this was considered odd. Yet Shakespeare put far more into his tragedies than even people with rare powers of understanding could get out of seeing a performance or two. Moreover, his plays were often too long to be staged uncut. He made his living writing plays, but more importantly he wrote to please himself.

Similar examples abound: paintings in tombs that were sealed when the job was done; sculptures in inaccessible high places. Performing artists who lived before the invention of phonographs, tape recorders, and motion pictures furnish an even more obvious example. They were creative, but even the most famous artists among them did not create anything that endured. The continuum between the child and Shakespeare is crucial for my thesis. Once again I am rejecting a bifurcation of mankind. But for all I have shown so far, the possibility remains that the need to be creative is a childish need that most people manage to outgrow without regrets. The time has come to focus on another form of alienation: how exactly do people lose their creativity?


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 The most popular answer is that there must be a villain who takes it away say, the corporate state or advanced industrial society. If that were true, those living before this blight, and those who still live outside it, should retain their creativity. This being false on both counts, the answers clearly are false, too. The problem is universal.

Spontaneity and originality involve nonconformity and make for social problems. Societies socialize their children, teach them discipline, inhibit their spontaneity, and make them do things the way they are supposed to be done. In Western societies this is done quite systematically in school. Originality is curbed, and the way is substituted for a multitude of different ways.

If every child developed its own way of writing, ranging from pictographs and hieroglyphs to characters with a vaguely Chinese look and all sorts of diverse alphabets, writing would not serve its purpose of communication, and society would break down. Everybody who learns to write must learn the same script and must learn to read it, too, and the obvious way to accomplish that is to teach many children at the same time. But that means that the child who feels like drawing at that moment, or feels like painting, or like playing with dolls, digging in the dirt, running around, climbing a tree, or chasing butterflies is told to stop it and sit down with all the rest.

This is only the beginning. The more one learns, the more is one subjected to all kinds of discipline. But the essence of discipline is that spontaneity and originality are inhibited. A dialectical, non-Manichaean thinker will not jump to the conclusion that discipline is therefore bad, and that we should be better off without it. Communication and social life depend on it, and so does the development of traditions. Without communication, social life, and traditions, we should remain on the level of the brutes. We should remain incapable of those activities that the word creative brings to mind first of all. Composers and playwrights, painters and sculptors, poets and architects, as well as the dance depend on communication, social life, and traditions. It always requires training to master a discipline. One has to renounce originality at one level in order to get it back with interest at a higher level.

Romantic opponents of all alienation may not believe this, even if they ay lip service to dialectic. Some people still dream of noble savages living in paradise without paying any price for their bliss. But in preindustrial societies, even on lush tropical islands, one encounters a fantastic amount of discipline and scarcely any possibility of nonconformity. Creativity is channeled rigorously into ritual. Those who share Marxs dream of rearing cattle in the evening before dinner are struck by the way in which lovely dances are woven into life and ignore the fact that these dances are meticulously prescribed by tradition and require years of training.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 If every child learned in the end to be as original with a mere three actors or four instruments as Sophocles and Beethoven were, our problem would not arise. But most children are squelched, by no means only in advanced industrial societies. As they grow up, more and more of their time is spent doing what one does. And then they live by proxy in the evening reading, watching, listening. What they watch depends on their society. It may be dances or rituals, cockfights or spectator sports, motion pictures or television.

Even then they do not cease to be as gods at night. In their dreams they still create worlds out of nothing, people them with real and imaginary persons, resurrect the dead, and fashion plots that put to shame most novelists and playwrights. But as soon as they awake, pride makes them forget how recently they were omnipotent creators.

One does not paint the pictures of ones dreams; one does not put on paper the stories one created in ones sleep: one is convinced that one lacks the creative genius to do any such thing, and one quickly forgets ones dreams. But if you keep a person from dreaming by always awakening him when he is about to dream and this is possible and has been done he has a breakdown. No doubt, this is so in part because dreaming is a way of coping with all sorts of difficult experiences. But my hypothesis takes this point into account without stopping there: all people need to be creative.

The other two conceptions of happiness considered here are not what people really desire most; they are substitutes, goals one settles for faute de mieux. What people really desire most is to live creative lives. This, in spite of all the pain and discomfort involved in such a life, is preferred to both of the other goals. It is only when people come to feel that a creative life is beyond their means, that they have not got what it takes, or that the cards are stacked against them or perhaps against all men that they give up and settle for the life of Nietzsches last men or for Nirvana.

I realize that I have not proved that everyone really wants to live a creative life, nor do I see how this could be proved. But it should at least be clear that this kind of life is very widely and deeply desired and that it is compatible with the new integrity.


Unfortunately, the picture painted here is a little too bright. The creative writer or artist may be a voyeur who contemplates imaginary scenes, without the courage to act in real life. He may be a


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 decidophobe who consoles himself with his freedom of invention and his power to choose words. He may have discovered a game in which his autonomy is untrammeled; now he devotes as much of his time as he can to that; but whenever the game stops, he is uncreative.

He finds his happiness in his creative life, but would be happier if he were more creative if he had the courage and the skill to bring some spontaneity and some originality into his daily life and his relationships to others. For creativity is not encountered in the arts only but also in the dimension of human relationships and in the practice of the new integrity. We have noted how the new integrity involves autonomy: making decisions for oneself especially those decisions that mold our character and future. Thus the autonomous human being makes himself and gives shape to his life. He not only considers alternatives that others present to him, but he uses his imagination like a novelist or dramatist to think up possibilities.

It is wrong to suppose that there are two types of people, the creative and the uncreative. Even the suggestion that we should thin in terms of degrees is too crude because it may be taken to imply that people can be ranked on a single scale. The example of ay, and perhaps also that of dreams, may help to remind us that we are all born with a creative capacity, and that few indeed manage to maintain and develop it both in their lives and in some of the arts, like Goethe. Some people are squelched in real life and are creative only as writers; others infuse some spontaneity and some originality into their lives. Large numbers, of course, lead rather uncreative lives, have routine jobs, and spend their spare time passively.

Play is also a helpful example because the life of the little girl who, when playing, is as gods, is anything but autonomous. Others decide for her where she is to live, with whom, and even what to wear and what to eat, and when to go to bed. She is autonomous only at play.

Parents, teachers, and societies find children much easier to live with if they can be made predictable and less spontaneous and original. Society nurtures decidophobia and makes people more, not less, afraid of autonomy. Obtuse disciplinarians squelch creativity. But those who therefore inveigh against discipline overlook the fact that without it no sustained creativity is possible and no one can find satisfaction in his work.

Those who deplore all alienation or all discipline and over-praise community and spontaneity erode the ethos on which creativity depends. Originality consists of being different and alienates the creative person from his fellow men. But creativity also provides a way of coping with this alienation.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

It is by no means only at the elementary levels of education that creativity is squelched. The same process continues through adult life even in colleges and universities, which would seem to be more hospitable to a creative life than most institutions. Among scholars we find some creativity, but on the whole disappointingly little. Most professors are inhibited by Webers Fallacy. This fallacy is encountered among legions who have never read Max Weber, but it seems fair to name it after the man who offered the best formulation of it instead of merely committing it in silence like millions of others. (In fact, his practice was better than his preachment.)

Max Weber, the greatest sociologist of our century, not only wrote about the Protestant ethic but also perpetuated it in his immensely influential lecture, Scholarship as a Profession. He put the point succinctly:

It is only through severe specialization that a scholar can really obtain once, and perhaps never again in his life, the climactic feeling: Here I have achieved something that will endure. A really definitive and solid achievement today is always a specialists achievement. And whoever, therefore, lacks the capacity to put on blinders, as it were, and to transport himself into the notion that the destiny of his soul depends on whether he is correct in making precisely this conjecture at this place in this manuscript should certainly stay away from scholarship.

Weber had a commendable sense for the misery of life. His appeal here is plainly to autosuggestion: scholarship as the opiate of the intellectuals, or how to transport yourself into self-deception. Only a few pages after endure and definitive we are told: Everyone of us who is engaged in scholarship knows that the results of his labors are dated within ten, twenty, fifty years. In between these two contradictory passages, Weber inveighed against the twin idols of personality and experience of life, insisted that in scholarly life there is no room for either and that even in art there is no room for personality. It would be difficult to push further what Weber himself, in his analysis of the Protestant ethic, called innerworldly asceticism. Here self-denial is carried to the absurd.

The works of Thucydides and Gibbon were not dated within ten, twenty, fifty years. For they did not abide by the modern academic ethos of merely making contributions. Any facts they might have been the first to notice or infer could be, and have been, incorporated in more up-to-date accounts, and yet these men do survive not only in some scattered footnote credits. Their works reflect the authors


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 personalities and experience of life, and do not carefully avoid all normative judgments. They are models of creative scholarship.

The great philosophers also did not commit Webers Fallacy. Their works had style and approached the condition of art. Nor can a perceptive reader fail to find in them the record of a highly individual experience of life. But philosophers, historians, and other scholars are not either totally creative or totally uncreative. There are all sorts of gradations and varieties. What matters is that the new integrity is quite compatible with the creative life. Indeed, it involves some creativity.

I have argued that all people really desire a creative life and that it is only when they come to feel that this is beyond their reach that they settle for Nirvana or for the hedonistic life. Suppose that this ambitious thesis did not stand up. I have conceded from the start that creativity is only one of the things people want. Now suppose that it were a fact that some people need very little of it hardly more than comes to the fore in their dreams. What if that were so?

It would be a great pity, I think, but it would not affect any of the arguments in this book, except for this one bold thesis that would then be wrong. The following claims would still stand: Those who opt for the new integrity must countenance alienation; they have to master the fear of freedom; but they need not live wretched lives, devoid of happiness. They can live creative lives and find solace in their work.

If they have all four of the cardinal virtues, they will need such solace, for not only honesty entails some suffering; the other three virtues also entail discomfort and pain. In the case of courage, entail may be too strong a word, inasmuch as a bold person may be very lucky. But the odds are, of course, that anyone who keeps taking great risks will sometimes get hurt badly. Humbition precludes selfsatisfaction, smugness, and complacency, which means in practice that one is always self-critical. Even when one feels that something one has done is good, an inner voice speaks up: So what? Love, finally, involves sharing the plights of others. Thus the lives of those who are morally admirable are hard, and they need some solace.


Now suppose that some men and women do not find solace in creative work. Or rather, they do find happiness while they are creative, but they cannot sustain their creativity. It comes in spurts, not in a steady stream, and between the peaks there are vast valleys of despair. What then?


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

There seems to be another, less romantic road to happiness. It can be found through work of which one can honestly believe that doing it well stands some chance of making the world a little better work that is worth doing well because it benefits humanity. Does this life of service constitute a fourth conception of happiness an alternative to hedonism, Nirvana, and the creative life? I prefer to think of it in conjunction with the creative life. For an uncreative life of service would not be autonomous but self-destructive or at best a drug. But work of this kind can be creative, and moreover it can be combined with a life that is creative in the more ordinary sense of that word: one can serve others between creative spurts.

The most obvious way of combining creativity and service is by also teaching. That is what painters and sculptors did in the past, and what many scholars, as well as artists and writers, are doing today at colleges and universities. It is not true, as has sometimes been claimed, that those who are free must, by some logical necessity, work for the freedom of their fellow men. One can be autonomous and lack love. But neither autonomy alone nor love alone is likely to bring happiness. The four cardinal virtues form an organic unity, and the life in which all four are developed will be a rich and full life. It will not be free of moral conflicts, dull, bland, or monotone, but rather the kind one likes to read about: not easy, but enviable. Of course, the case for the life of service does not depend solely on this a peal to the agents happiness. The life of service is love in action But love is by no means wholly extraneous to the other cardinal virtues. Even the seemingly individualistic part of my ethic provides reasons for not hating or detesting any human being and for always being mindful that even those who have grievous faults are, in the words of Moses, as yourself.

First, it is difficult to find our own faults; they are much easier to find in others. If we always make excuses and end up by not considering them faults, we become lax with ourselves. But if we hate or detest as inhuman those who have these faults, then we are almost bound to overlook the same faults in ourselves because we fail to see the continuity between us and them. Hence it is essential for our moral health to see those who offend us in their full humanity while at the same time judging their faults clearly. Humbition says: Judge others and remember that they are as yourself.

Second, our ideas and truths especially in faith, morals, and politics have an inveterate tendency to be onesided. Even a staunch commitment to the new integrity cannot remedy this fault entirely unless we go out of our way to consider with an effort at sympathy the views of those whom we feel tempted to detest. Without suspending our critical faculties, we must keep asking ourselves how human beings not essentially unlike ourselves have come to see things so differently.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

The new integrity rules out blind love and admiration, but also blind hatred. It often keeps us from agreeing with those we love and admire and from loving or admiring those with whom we agree. But it precludes not only Manichaeism but also a self-centered attitude.

I have shown how the new integrity spells alienation. Yet it is not compatible with indifference to our fellow men. There is no better way to discover objections and alternatives than exposure to the views of others, including people of the opposite sex and of radically different backgrounds.


One cannot specify how much service justice requires. But it would be foolish to think of service to others as a price one has to pay or as an interruption in creative work. Some kinds of service, of course, are felt to be radically uncongenial, and an autonomous individual will want to choose his own way. But in order to choose wisely he should put aside the notion that the path to creative autonomy is straight. Solzhenitsyn spent three and a half years in the Russian army, during World War II, followed by eight years in concentration camps and then exile, interrupted by two spells in a cancer ward. No doubt, books can help liberate people: Solzhenitsyns novels, for example; Tolstoys Anna Karenina; Goethe and Euripides; and even some philosophers. But I doubt that books and study alone suffice.

Some existentialists have suggested that the mark of authenticity is the ability to face up to ones own dread of death. But all their tedious talk of dread and death has not made them authentic. I have argued in The Faith of a Heretic that the dread of death is not universal and, in effect, that an autonomous individual will not fear death. Nor need the road to autonomy lead through such fear. What makes people inauthentic (and what makes their talk of food and clothes and petty failures and successes so utterly pathetic) is not that they have forgotten that they must die before long. It is that they have forgotten that they are survivors.

Thinking only of oneself can never generate an ethic; nor will it ever lead to autonomy. Neither dread nor courage in the face of death need keep anyone from seeking trivial satisfactions in his final days or years. What makes such pursuits seem inappropriate, if not outrageous, is a vivid sense that one is a survivor. What is needed is some sense of solidarity with others not necessarily or even usually all others, but some. My reflections on the case of the survivor will be found at the center of this book, but this theme is introduced on the dedication page. Solzhenitsyns unique moral force is inseparable from


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 the fact that he has never forgotten that he is a survivor. In his novels he has given voice to the experiences of those who did not survive, and in his public statements, most obviously in his Nobel Lecture, he has spoken quite explicitly s a survivor.

Of course, it is possible to be creative without having had this kind of experience. Tolstoy had it and described in Anna Karenina how his brothers death became a turning point in his life. I have shown earlier how most of the major modern philosophers lost one or both parents in childhood. We are all survivors, but it is possible to be creative without ever taking in this fact.

Autonomy is different. One cannot become autonomous and make with open eyes the decisions that mold ones character and future while shutting ones eyes to the fact that one is a survivor. If the alternatives were laid out before us like so many distributive shares, being a survivor would be totally irrelevant. But fateful choices are not like that. Life does not lead us into a bakery shop as if we were children, telling us to choose one piece of cake. As long as you confine your choices to the alternatives that are presented to you in a given framework and do not think of questioning the framework itself, considering alternatives to that, you are not liberated.

The fateful choice is not simply between marrying X or Y, it being understood that you have to marry one of them. It includes the possibility of not getting married at all, or not yet, or perhaps to Z. The fateful decision is not limited to going to this school or that. There are countless other schools and ways of life. And there is always the option of ending ones life. One can make lists, and that may help, especially when the choice is not a fateful one. But autonomy faces up not merely to bloodless, disembodied alternatives that one thinks up. Some of the most haunting alternatives have human shapes, and not all of these come out of books. Some we have known in the flesh, and not all of them are living any more. It is usually the dead that are most persistent. And typically it is only the death of someone very close to us that liberates us from the framework that we had taken for granted, exploding the status quo and leading us to see radical alternatives.

Caring for others, then, is far from being totally extraneous to autonomy, and the life of service must not be thought of as interrupting what matters most. The implications for education should be obvious. As long as study is artificially isolated from service and from the work with which one earns a living, work and service will also be severed from study and when the years of study are over, ones education will come to an end. But if work and study, creativity and service intertwine during the formative years of education, then study and creativity will not come to an end when a person leaves school. Some types of education favor the development of integrity and creativity more than others. But creative autonomy is not acquired through study alone. It is forged in hell.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973


Liberation involves a bitter knowledge of solitude, failure, and despair, but also the sense of triumph that one feels when standing, unsupported, on forbidding peaks, seeing the unseen. Those who try to ease the boredom of their sheltered lives by reading tales or seeing films that tell of men and women who lived richer lives may still seek comfort in the thought that the price of liberation is too high. One used to tell ones children that autonomy was wicked; now it is considered much too risky.

The image of the two ways in the Sermon on the Mount is suggestive. I cannot accept the Manichaean and inhuman idea that the many who follow the easy way are going to eternal torment while the few are saved; nor can I admire those who, believing this, see to their own salvation, unconcerned about the many, if not actually looking forward to beholding the torments of the damned. But what of these words? Strait is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and few find it. Those who have found autonomy have been few indeed, but for an intelligent and well-read person today there are fewer excuses than there have ever been.

Some social conditions facilitate the development of autonomy, others inhibit it. Solzhenitsyn, to be sure, attained it under Stalins regime, in the camps, but the odds are overwhelmingly against such triumphs, for they require not only extraordinary strength of character but also a great deal of luck. After all, every attempt was made t root out signs of budding autonomy and to kill those who gave promise of attaining it. To cite Solzhenitsyns Nobel Lecture: Those who fell into that abyss who already had made a name in literature are at least known to us but how many whom we do not know, never once were published! And so very few, almost no one, managed to survive and return. A whole national literature remained behind . . .

Autonomy involves reflection on alternatives. It requires a sustained effort to liberate oneself from the cultural determination that sticks to youth as eggshell does to a young bird. In this fight for liberation nothing helps more than reading and discussion. What is needed is exposure to different views not merely to one devils advocate but to a genuine variety of points of view and of ways of experiencing the world. What is needed is not only a free flow of ideas but also some feeling for the less fortunate, some feeling for those who did not and those who still do not enjoy the privileges that we tend to take for granted. What is needed is not only comparative religion and philosophy but also history and, above all, world literature.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 An ethic that includes love, but not justice, among the cardinal virtues is apt to be considered Christian. Mine is not. In the first place, the notion that Christianity transcended justice is simply false: witness the belief in retribution after death. Then, what is distinctive in my ethic is humbition and the new integrity, as well as the detailed critique of justice. Finally, the concept of autonomy is anti-Christian, and in Christian morality, from the Sermon on the Mount to Thomas, Luther, Calvin, and beyond, guilt and fear have always been central. My autonomous morality is above guilt and fear.


Another comparison may help to sum up my views. The just man of Plato and the prophets was essentially an obedient man. He might disobey a wicked despot, but only in obedience to a higher law that was not of his making. Decidedly, he was not autonomous. Nor did creativity have a place in this ancient ideal. We do not usually think of justice as being on the same plane or in possible conflict with either creativity or autonomy; but we should. Creativity and autonomy belong together and represent an orientation that is at odds with the preoccupation with justice. The myth of Prometheus shows this beautifully. And Karl Marxs Prometheus complex was of a piece with his dedication to human autonomy and his scorn for those preoccupied with social justice. Conversely, Platos central concern with justice was accompanied, typically, by an excessive regard for mathematics and the strong conviction that in a just society there could not be any place for creative artists.

Although the great philosophers were creative, they have generally shown little understanding of creativity. Even in aesthetics they have dealt with art from the spectators point of view. In ethics, the concern with justice has been associated with passivity, too: the question was what people should receive. In discussions of distributive justice, it is generally assumed that whatever is worthwhile is given, and the problem is how much each member of a group is to receive. But a creative person is one who finds most worthwhile what is not given, and his primary concern is not with receiving. Nor will he concentrate on distribution, seeing that he does not yet know what there will be. That depends on his creative work and on what others will create.

If he were told that other people are quite different from him, interested in having rather than doing, grabby rather than creative, he might well feel that the greatest service one could do them would not be to help them calculate how each of them might receive as much as possible. Surely, he might say, they would be better off if one could change their orientation and make them creative. Suppose, he might add, we could choose between two societies. The one with fewer social inequalities would not necessarily be better: it might be stagnant, uncreative, afflicted with boredom and despair. A more


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 creative society might well be preferable even if it were more inegalitarian. It is better to create than to receive, and autonomy surpasses possessions.

This is not a defense of the status quo. That our society needs changing is clear and no less true because other societies need to be changed, too. Karl Marx said: The philosophers have merely interpreted the odd differently, but what matters is to change it. One hundred and twenty-five years later, there is no dearth of people who want to change the world. The time has come to insist: We can agree that society needs to be changed, but what matters is how not only the means but also and above all the new goal.

The old goals of justice and equality, and the fight against injustice and inequality, are congruent with the modem trend toward ever greater regulation, homogeneity, and conformity. As long as the prime concern is with the redistribution of what we have, none of the tediously conformist protests against conformity and regulation will prevent the steady erosion of liberty. What is needed is a different order of priorities. What is also needed is an attempt to develop in some detail what is wrong with the old concepts and to show the price of autonomy.

The autonomous life does not involve a lack of concern for others. The question is what one desires for others. Some elitists might say: What I want for myself is autonomy, but what the masses need is bread and circuses or, in other words, the proper distribution of possessions and amusements. It is less inegalitarian to say: I desire autonomy for myself and for others. Moreover, if we concentrate on justice and equality or, in one word, distribution, we shall find before long that, however we distribute goods, there will not be enough to go around. We must assign a higher priority to creativity, realizing that creation and discovery render distributive schemes obsolete.

Guilt is mired in the past, as is retributive justice. Distributive justice is stuck in the present, but by the time it has figured out how to cope with that, it is dated. We must move beyond guilt and justice. We must give up the pleasant notion that we can have all good things at once. What is best is not things at all but creative autonomy.

THE serpent was wiser than man and woman and asked them: Are you afraid? They answered: We have been told what is good and evil, and if we disobey we shall die. But the serpent said: You will not


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 die, but your eyes will be opened; you will see that all gods are dead; and you will be as gods, deciding what is good and evil. They were afraid and replied: How can that be? The gods are almighty and know everything. We can never be as gods. But the serpent said: Nobody is almighty and knows everything. Your knowledge and your power will always be limited. Still, you can decide about your own life, and you need not accept what you have been told.

The man and the woman replied: Those who told us knew what is good, and we do not know. If we do not obey, we shall be guilty. We are afraid. Then the serpent said: Fear not to stand alone! Nobody knows what is good. There is no such knowledge. Once upon a time God decided, but now that he is dead it is up to you to decide. It is up to you to leave behind guilt and fear. You can be autonomous.

They answered: But what are we to do right now to make a beginning? The serpent replied: You still want to be told what to do. Perhaps your children will be ready for autonomy.

THIS BOOK has no footnotes. Most of the information ordinarily given in footnotes will be found in the Bibliography. Freud, for example, is quoted in section 57, and the Bibliography furnishes full data on the source, followed by a parenthesis: (57: p. 34 f.), which means that the quotation in section 57 comes from p. 34 f. When a work is cited in several sections, the references in the parentheses are separated by semicolons.

The reason for this unorthodox system is that it is easier to locate an author in an alphabetically arranged bibliography than it would be to find him in the notes at the end of the book. This way the reader does not have to remember on what page Freud was quoted, nor does he have to interrupt his reading to be sure of finding the reference. The Bibliography supplements the Index. The Notes contain only material that could not easily be incorporated in the Bibliography, and the system just described has made it possible to hold them down to a few pages. Altogether, I have tried hard to keep the Notes and Bibliography short.

Translations from the German are my own even when English versions are listed, too, for the readers convenience.



Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

* An asterisk indicates a note that offers some further discussion. Readers may find it convenient to glance at these notes after finishing a chapter. Chapter 1:

* Kants autonomy and a little depth philosophy

1: Kant introduced the term autonomy into ethics, but the ideal is far older. The Stoics sought moral autonomy, and so did the Cynics even earlier. These post-Socratics associated liberation with independence from desire and therefore believed that it was essential to have few desires and no passions. Kant still stands in this tradition; and he was autonomous y his own lights.

He considered it the ma of autonomy that ones actions are not prompted by any inclination whatsoever but by a maxim of which one could wish that it might become universal law. This notion has elicited a large literature, and I have dealt with it at some length in The Faith of a Heretic, 77. Now it must suffice if I can suggest briefly how Kants conception of autonomy was misguided. By considering his autonomy in action, we can see at a glance what is borne out by a careful analysis of his works. on ethics.

Not everybody acts according to maxims, but Kant did. Why did he? A few months after Kants death, R. B. Jachmann, who had known him well and whom Kant had actually asked to write his biography, published a memoir, Immanuel Kant Described in Letters to a Friend. I turn to the seventh letter: Perhaps smoking tobacco was his supreme sensual pleasure, but he had adopted the maxim to smoke only one full clay pipe a day, because he did not see where he should stop otherwise.

Kant suffered from constipation, and a physician prescribed a daily pill. When the effectiveness of the pill diminished, he doubled the dosage on the advice of another doctor. But no sooner had this happened than Kant reflected that this increase would have no end, and he formulated a maxim for himself never to take, as long as he lived, more than two pills a day. Late in his life, when his doctors wished him to take more pills, he refused to deviate from his maxim. As soon as he had adopted such a maxim, . . . nothing in the world could have made him abandon it.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Jachmanns attitude is rather worshipful; he admires Kants firmness; and the illustrations are introduced thus: By and by his whole life had become a chain of maxims that eventually formed a firm system of character. And Jachmann concludes: In this way he had eventually tied his whole way of thinking and living to rules of reason to which he remained as loyal in the smallest circumstances as in the most important matters. . . . His will was free, for it depended on his law of reason. All attempts by others to subdue his will and guide it differently were in vain. . . . He persisted in the duty that he had imposed on himself.

Clearly, Kants conception of rationality was untenable. A maxim that can be universalized is not necessarily rational. And a person whose life is governed by scores of duties that he has imposed on himself is hardly a paradigm of autonomy.

Socrates did not depend on alcohol. He could take it or leave it. He did not need a maxim to stop after the second glass of wine. When the wine and conversation were good, he went on drinking until everybody else had passed out and then, at dawn, left the symposium, took a bath, and spent the rest of the day as he usually, did.

The exclusively microscopic approach favored by so many scholars gives one no depth of vision at all. What I call depth philosophy, following the example of depth psychology, makes it easier to perceive radical alternatives-for example, to a morality of maxims and principles. What I mean by depth philosophy is a philosophy that does not rest content with analyses of words or concepts but inquires into the concrete human realities behind various philosophical positions. Specifically, one does not have to be either a slave of ones inclinations or a man of maxims, to use Jachmanns apt phrase.

The central problem of Kants ethics (no less than of his Critique of Pure Reason) was to escape from determinism. He called all motivation that was not totally free of inclination pathological, and he believed that as long as our motivation was pathological we were unfree. Only behavior determined solely by reason was free, and it was only when obeying a law one had imposed on oneself that one was autonomous, provided that this law was wholly rational and not stained by inclination. The test of that was whether the law could be made universal and applied to all men. Thus Kants rigorism seemed essential to him. As long as one always gets up at 5 a.m. (as Kant did), regardless of all inclinations, or as long as one never takes more than two pills a day, no matter what consequences are invoked by others, one is free, Kant thought. But as soon as one heeds ones inclinations or appeals to consequences, one re-enters the realm of causal determinism and of heteronomy.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Kants psychology was superficial. The procedure he recommended could well be pathologica1. It is certainly decidophobic. I am not trying to explain Kants ethics psychologically. For my present purpose it is just as well if his ethics came first and he then put it into practice. I believe that, as Jachmann put it in his sixth letter, Kant lived as he taught. But even if the stories cited here were apocryphal and if Kant himself had been a libertine, these illustrations would still show how Kants conceptions of autonomy and rationality were misguided.

I agree that autonomy depends on rationality. But rationality is incompatible with a rigorous refusal to listen to reason. Autonomy requires deliberate attention to objections and alternatives. If anything can liberate us from cultural determination, that can. But there is no need here for an analysis of determinism. The difference between those who give deliberate attention to objections and alternatives and those who do not is sufficiently important to be stressed and worked out in detai1.

2 and 6: For existentialism, cf. Kaufmann, 1959, especially the chapters on Kierkegaard and Heidegger. For Heideggers relation to the Nazis, see also Heidegger, 1933, and Schneeberger, 1962. The Heidegger quotation in 6, about using force, is from his 1953, page 124.

4: The We-We orientation: See. Buber, 1923. In the Prologue to the English translation, pages 11-14, I present five attitudes in which there is no You: I-I, I-It, It-It, We-We, and Us-Them.

7: For Manichaean thinking, cf. Kaufmann, 1969 and 1970. I have made some use of material first presented there. For Greek tragedy, cf. Kaufmann, 1968. For Hegel, ibid.

* A Note on Solzhenitsyn

9: For the confrontation with the Soviet Writers Secretariat, see either Solzhenitsyn, ed. Labedz, or the Appendix of Cancer Ward. The quotation about Tolstoyan philosophy is found in Burg and Feifer, 1972; the detractor was Dmitri Eremin. The image of Solzhenitsyn that emerges from the Burg and Feifer biography is consistent with my view of him, but my interpretations are based exclusively on his own works and on the admirable Documentary Record, edited by Labedz. H. T. Willetts somewhat different rendering of Solzhenitsyns remark about the mice and cockroaches is equally to my purpose: But I got used to it because there was nothing evil in it, nothing dishonest. Rustling was life to them.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

11: For the Nietzsche epigram see Kaufmanns Nietzsche, page 19.

Chapter 2:

13: For Marx and justice, see also Wood, 1972.

14: First sentence: see Reiwald, page 16. Regarding 1694, see Megarry, page 182. Regarding 1770, 1832, and 1837, see Reiwald, page 16f.

Reiwald on talio: pages 268f. and 273. Cf. also 18. Scholarly references in support of the long quotation: page 294, note 17; also Kaufmann, 1961, 49.

The Gospel quotation is from Matthew 10: 14f.; cf. Luke 10: 10ff. For a fuller discussion of these aspects of the New Testament, see Kaufmann, 1958, chapters 6-8, and 1961, chapter 8.

16: the nineteenth-century philosopher is Green, 1895, page 184.

17: for point 6, cf. Freud, 1913, Werke, IX, page 89.

20: the two penologists are Gauthier and Robert Meindl; the quotations are from Reiwald, page 189.

21: for poena, see Mommsen, 1899, page 13; cf. pages 14, 899.

Chapter 3:

* Notes on Rawls 184

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

22: For the differences between justice and fairness see also Chapman, 1963. Rawls, 1971, page 12f., defends himself by saying that justice as fairness . . . does not mean that the concepts of justice and fairness are the same, any more than the phrase poetry as metaphor means that the concepts of poetry and metaphor are the same. But this terse remark does not help much to explain the difference between two key concepts.

One of the differences between justice and fairness is illustrated by one of Rawlss own examples: . . . gambling. If a number of persons engage in a series of fair bets, the distribution of cash after the last bet is fair, or at least not unfair, whatever the distribution is (page 86). But we should not call it just.

Rawlss chapter 1 is entitled Justice as Fairness, and the phrase recurs throughout.

29: For a fuller account and critique of Hume, see Kaufmann, December 1969. Humes association of justice with possessions and the love of gain was so close and at the same time so misguided that it seems to call for psychological, historical, or sociological explanations.

Page references for the Rawls quotations: moral geometry (121); everyones advantage and Injustice (62 et passim); For simplicity (408n); Rome or Paris (412. cf. 551); To say that (138); We want to (141).

Rawlss exceptional intelligence and subtlety and his tireless attention to detail may give the impression that we are confronted with such a tightly woven theory that every objection is taken care of somewhere. In fact, the book is quite uneven, and the discussion of guilt in 70-74, for example, seems rather ill-considered. To mention at least one point, Rawls seems to suppose that a greater feeling of guilt implies a greater fault (page 475).

Occasional asides in Rawlss book come much closer to my position than do the passages quoted in the text; for example, this staggering concession: It is too much to suppose that there exists for all or even most moral problems a reasonable solution. Perhaps only a few can be satisfactorily answered (page 89f.). I welcome such agreement, but it would be naive to suppose that I must be right because another author says something similar. What autonomy requires is attention to significant alternatives to our


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 own views. Hence I have concentrated on the moral rationalism that is the central motif of A Theory of Justice.

How hard even philosophers find it to see through moral rationalism is suggested by Stuart Hampshires review-article (1972): If our moral beliefs on many subjects, and in many very different situations, are shown to be instances of a few general principles at work, then we have an assurance that our moral beliefs have a rational foundation. This is surely wrong. Omit the word moral both times and think of $1. Thomas or some Muslim scholastic; did any scholastic ever show that the beliefs of his community had a rational foundation? Hampshire himself immediately retracts his claim in the next sentence: At least they are not just a chaos and a jumble: there is a reason why we hold the various beliefs that we do. The first half of this qualification is trivially true, the second half again false. What scholastics do is to bring a complex, Gothic order into chaos, beginning with a few general principles and then adding to these as need arises. But the reasons why people actually hold various beliefs usually have little to do with the scholastics ingenuity. Actually, Hampshire does not finally accept Rawlss rationalism: some version of intuitionism seems to me nearer to adequacy than Professor Rawlss social contract theory. Hampshire favors perfectionism: having a picture of the wholly admirable man, and of an entirely desirable and admirable way of life. This is much closer to the present book.

Regarding my final criticism that the cards are stacked: After finishing this book I read in manuscript Robert Nozicks critique of Rawls in his forthcoming book, Anarchy, State, and Utopia. He shows at length how the cards are stacked, how Rawlss second principle of justice is not at all particularly rational, and how Rawlss original position is an inappropriate model for thinking about how the things people produce are to be distributed. Nozick devotes far more space to Rawls than I do and raises many other points. The one most pertinent to my concerns is surely his attempt to show that Rawls is in effect denigrating a persons autonomy.

Finally, it seems to me that A Theory of Justice invites comparison with Ralph Barton Perrys General Theory of Value (1926). Rawlss references to Perry show that he is not unaware of this. In a lengthier discussion this point would be worth pursuing. Here it must suffice to note that a generation ago many philosophers believed that Perry had virtually created a new branch of philosophy. In fact, however, general theory of value had no future. Those who expect a renewal of moral and political philosophy from A Theory of Justice overlook that, notwithstanding the authors many virtues, justice has no future.

30: Solomons judgment: I Kings 3.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 The quotation in the final paragraph is from Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Chapter 4:

35: Satan is quoted from Kaufmann, 1958, 59.

36: Characterization of Tertullian opens the article on him in Encyclopaedia Britannica, eleventh edition.

* A Note on Guilt and Aggression

Guilt will be discussed at length in the next chapter, but this is the place for a brief remark about the theory regarding the origin of the bad conscience advanced by Nietzsche in 1887 and revived by Freud in 1931 and 1933. They claimed that aggression, denied outward expression, turns inward against oneself. This is a profound insight, but this is not the origin of the notion of guilt. I have tried to show how this notion is born; but once a person has the notion that he is guilty, this idea provides a channel for the discharge of inhibited aggression. Cf. my analysis of the institution of punishment in 17; punishment does not owe its origin to aggression, but it certainly provides an outlet for aggression.

Chapter 5:

39: I first developed my concept of humbition and the three other cardinal virtues in Kaufmann, 1961, 83ff.

* Spinoza and the bite of conscience

41: Spinoza repudiated the bite of conscience (conscientiae morsus) but defined it rather implausibly as pain accompanied by the idea of something past that has had a result contrary to our hope (Ethics, Definitions at the end of Book III, 17; cf. III. 18, Scholium 2). This comes closer to a cynical bon mot than to a genuine understanding of the bad conscience, and it is understandable, though unjustifiable, that


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 many interpreters, and even the standard English translation, render conscientiae morsus as disappointment.

Later on (IV. 54 ) Spinoza says that poenitentia is no virtue because it does not issue from reason, but as we must sin, we had better sin in that direction because those who are prey to these emotions may be led much more easily than others to live under the guidance of reason. (Cf. also IV.4 7.) In sum, Spinoza repudiated the traditional Christian view of guilt feelings, but he did not come close to the view developed in the present book.

44: The Painted Bird is by Jerzy Kosinski, Night by Elie Wiesel, and The First Circle and Cancer Ward are by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

What is said in the text applies also in full measure to the work of Heinrich Boll-as much to some of his very short stories as to his novels.

* A Note on Dreams

Third paragraph from end: Self-punishment in dreams poses a serious problem for Freuds thesis that all dreams are to be explained as wish fulfilments. His epic struggle with dreams of this sort began with his discussion of dreams in which we fail examinations (1900: page IS8f.). In the last edition of his Traumdeutung he expanded this discussion and incorporated some new ideas (Werke, pages 280-282). He noted that the tests we fail in dreams are always tests in which we have done very well in real life, never tests we have actually failed. More important, he added another section in which he said expressly:

I could not object if one distinguished dreams of this type [not examination dreams but dreams in which we are far worse off than we are in real life-especially dreams that take us back to early hardships] as punishment dreams from our wish-fulfilment dreams.

But then he added in a footnote: It is easy to recognize in these punishment dreams wish fulfillments of the superego (page 479f.). So far, my comments are compatible with Freuds theory without committing me to it. But Freud does not suggest, as I do, that some of us have a lingering feeling that we do not deserve to be so successful in a world in which so many others are so miserable. 188

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

Consider two recurrent dreams. A professor who is a very successful lecturer dreams now and again that people walk out on his lectures. A woman who has an enviable reputation as a hostess and a cook and always has an abundance of food left over after every party dreams occasionally of giving one at which there is not enough food, while people she does not remember inviting keep arriving. If one knows independently that both have an articulate social conscience and that the woman is troubled by the fact that millions are starving, my interpretation seems the most plausible.

Chapter 6:

46: After the third error: Occasionally. . . total: see, e.g., Fromm, 1955, p. 124.

For a more detailed account of the way in which alienation became popular, see Kaufmanns essay in Schacht, 1970. In the present chapter I have made some use of parts of this essay, but much of the material, including all of 58 and 59, is entirely new. For a detailed account of alienation in Hegel, Marx, Fromm, and twentieth-century sociology, see Schacht, 1970.

* Marx and Fourier

49: Marxs dream, quoted from The German Ideology, was influenced by Charles Fourier, 1845, page 68. Fourier had pointed out that what makes labor a tedious torment is that workers have to spend long, consecutive hours at the same occupation. He had proposed a commune in which the Harmonians would never spend more than, at most, two hours at one job, and he had constructed schedules for two Harmonians, one poor and one rich. Marx was influenced by the schedule for the rich:

Hours sleep from 10:30 P.M. till 3 A.M. 3 :30 rise, preparations ... 5:30 with the hunting group 7 with the fishing group 189

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 8 breakfast, newspapers 9 agriculture, greenhouse 10 mass 10:30 pheasantry 11:30 library 1 dinner ... 9:30 court of the arts, concert, ball, theater, receptions 10:30 to bed

Marx introduced not only the notion of rearing cattle in the evening but also importantly the phrase as I please. He opposed regimentation and prized spontaneity and autonomy.

* A Note on Depth Philosophy

54: About half of the data in the penultimate paragraph were originally brought to my attention in another context by Ben-Ami Scharfstein. The phrase symptoms of mental alienation comes from the article on Schopenhauer ill the Encyclopaedia Britannica, eleventh edition. But it was surprisingly difficult to establish most of these facts.

Even in biographies of philosophers their mothers are rarely more than mentioned! The fathers are mentioned more often-usually in connection with the sons education. The character and attitudes of a mother or her death during a future philosophers childhood are widely considered irrelevant. The tradition that shapes works of this sort has been molded by an absurd male chauvinism and a mixture of psychological obtuseness with hostility to any attempt at psychological understanding.

What accounts for this hostility? Decidophobia. No similar hostility exists in the case of artists and writers. But as soon as we see the great philosophers as men who did not feel very reliably at home in the interpreted world and who reacted in various ways to a deep sense of alienation, the history of philosophy confronts us with alternatives and the challenge to make choices. Of course, we need not


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 choose one of the philosophies found in a book; we might try to develop views of our own. But that possibility only adds to the horror. Nonphilosophers prefer to write off philosophy as too deep, while philosophers seek safety in microscopism. They pick out a sentence, a claim, or an argument and examine that, carefully. Biographies of great philosophers are felt to be irrelevant, but barely tolerated as long as they really remain irrelevant and concentrate on trivia. The microscopist depends on abstraction and avoids any possibility of confrontation with the philosophers of the past as living alternatives.

Of course, the page in the text, above, does no more than open up one line of questioning. Here is another: Wittgenstein, whose influence dominated English-speaking philosophy for a quarter of a century, lost neither of his parents in childhood, but three of his brothers committed suicide (Hans in 1902, Rudolf in 1904, and Kurt in 1918: see Bartley, 1973).

57: Compact majority in the Freud quotation is a phrase from Ibsens Enemy of the People (Volksfeind in German) and thus ties in very well with Freuds references to the Volk.

59: For love of the stranger see Leviticus 19.34 and Deuteronomy 10.19. Cf. Exodus 12.49,20.10,22.21,23.9, Leviticus 24.22, Numbers 15.15, and Deuteronomy 5.14. For Samuel see I Samuel 8.

Chapter 7:

60: for justice as health of the soul, see Platos Republic 444. For some recent scholarly discussions of Platos argument at that point, see Vlastos (1971), essays 2-5.

66, second paragraph, on existentialism and resoluteness: see, e.g., Heidegger, 1927, 46ff., especially the two chapters on Das mogliche Ganzseinkonnen des Daseins . . . and Das eigentliche Ganzseinkonnen des Daseins . . .; e.g., the sentence in 62 (p. 309), emphasized by Heidegger himself: The question about being able to be whole is factual-existential. Being-there answers it in resoluteness. What is different from the classical integrity is the emphasis on temporality and the wholeness not only of the person but also of his life.

68: for a detailed discussion of different dimensions of meaning, see Kaufmann, 1966, page 33ff. 191

Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

69, first paragraph: Job is usually seen differently. Glatzer, 1969, includes over thirty interpretations of Job, and considers mine (reprinted from Kaufmann, 1961) one of the boldest and most incisive and sensitive, partly because it stresses points carefully avoided by theological moralists (page 237). It would be immodest to quote this here if there were a better way of establishing the point made in the text.

70: The first sentence harks back to the beginning of this book.

73: Buddha and Mara: Jataka, I, 63. 271; quoted in Sder-blom,1933.

77: Moses as yourself: You shall love your neighbor as yourself and The stranger. . . shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself (Leviticus 19: 18 and 34).

80: The sentence quoted from Marx is the last of his eleven Theses on Feuerbach, which are included, e.g., in Marxs Frith. schriften and in Tucker, 1972.


Aeschylus. Libation Bearers (7: line 461).

Andrews, William. Old-Time Punishments. 1890. Reproduced, London: Tabard Press, 1970. Indudes many old illustrations, including 16 of branks. See Morning Herald.

Aquinas, St. Thomas. Summa Theologiae, Part III, Supplementum (may have been added after Aquinass death) (35: Question 99, Article 1; 36: Question 94, Article 1).

Arendt, Hannah. The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958 (46).


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Aristotle. Metaphysics. (54 on wonder: 982b).

. Nicomachean Ethics (12: V.I-5; 39: IV.3).

Augustine, St. City of God (19: bk. 21, chap. 12).

. Enchiridion (19: chaps. 94, 98, 99).

Bartley, William Warren, III. Wittgenstein. New York and Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott: 1973 (54 n).

Beauvoir, Simone de. La Force des Choses. Paris: Gallimard, 1963. Translated as Force of Circumstance by Richard Howard. New York: G. P. Putnams Sons, 1965. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1968 (45: pp. 452, 669, 610 f., 397, 641; 63: p. 641).

Bradley, F. H. My Station and Its Duties. In Ethical Studies. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1927 (67).

Buber, Martin. Ich und Du. Leipzig: Insel, 1923. English: I and Thou. Translated with a prologue and notes by Walter Kaufmann. New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1970 (4n: 42; 51: 102ff.).

. Schuld und Schuldgefuhle. Heidelberg: Lambert Schneider, 1957. English: in The Knowledge of Man by Martin Buber. Translated and edited by Maurice Friedman. New York: Harper & Row, 1965 (37: p. 25 f.).

Burg, David, and Feifer, George. Solzhenitsyn. New York: Stein and Day, 1972 (9 n).

Chapman, John W. Justice and Fairness. In Justice, edited by Carl J. Friedrich and John W. Chapman, Nomos VI. New York: Atherton, 1963 (21 n).


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Confucius. Analects (65: 12.2 and 15.23; also The Doctrine of the Mean. 13.). Dante. Inferno (19: III, 1.19.). Diamond, A. S. Primitive Law. London: Longmans, 1935. London: Methuen, 1971 (21: pp. 316,148).

Dostoevsky, F. M. The Grand Inquisitor. In The Brothers Karamazov bk. V, chap. 5 (3; 4; 71).

Earle, Alice Morse. Curious Punishments of Bygone Days. Chicago: H. S. Stone, 1896 (16: p. 148).

Feuerbach, Ludwig. Das Wesen des Christentums. 1841. Translated as The Essence of Christianity by M. Evans (George Eliot), 1854. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1957 (50).

Fourier, Charles. Le Nouveau Monde Industriel et Socihaire, Oeuvres Completes, vol. 6. Paris: Ala Librairie Societaire, 1845 (49 n).

Frankena, William. Ethics. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1963 (12: 59 and 50).

Freud, Sigmund. Die Traumdeutung. 1900. Gesammelte Werke, 11III (44 n).

. Totem und Tabu. 1913. Gesammelte Werke, IX (17 n).

. Vorlesungen zur Einfuhrung in die Psychoanalyse. 1917. Gesammelte Werke, XI (68: p. 451).

. Selbstdarstellung. 1925. Gesammelte Werke, XIV (57: p. 34 f.).

. Das Unbehagen in der Kultur. 1931. Gesammelte Werke, XIV (36 n: chap. VII-VIII).

. Neue Folge der Vorlesungen zur Einfuhrung in die Psychoanalyse. 1933. Gesammelte Werke, XV (36 n: concluding portion of Lecture XXXII) .


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

Fromm, Erich. Escape from Freedom. New York: Rinehart, 1941 (2).

. The Sane Society. New York: Rinehart, 1955 (46 n).

. Marxs Concept of Man. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1961 (46: pp. v, 46; 58: x n).

Gibbon, Edward. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. 6 vo1s. 1776-1788 (36: chap. XV).

Glatzer, Nahum N., ed. The Dimensions of Job: A Study and Selected Readings. New York: Schocken Books, 1969 (69 n).

Green, Thomas Hill. Lectures on the Principles of Political Obligation. Published posthumously in 1895. London: Longmans, Green, 1937 (16n: p. 184).

Hammurabi, Code of. In Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, edited by James B. Pritchard. 2d rev. ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955 (35: 210). For a detailed comparison of this code with Moses, see Kaufmann, 1961, section 49.

Hampshire, Stuart. A New Philosophy of the Just Society. In The New York Review of Books February 22, 1972 (29 n: pp. 34,38).

Hegel, G. W. F. System der Wissenschaft: Erster Teil, die Phiinomenologie des Geistes. 1807. English: The Phenomenology of Mind. Translated by J. B. Baillie. 2d rev. ed. in 1 vol. London: George Allen & Unwin. New York: Macmillan Co., 1931 (46: p. 191).


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 . Naturrecht und Staatswissenschaft im Grundrisse zum Gebrauch fur seine Vorlesungen; (Facing right page:) Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts. 1821. English: Hegels Philosophy of Right. Translated with notes by T. M. Knox. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1942 (13; 67).

. Die Vernunft in der Geschichte: Einleitung in die Philosophie der Weltgeschichte. 5th rev. ed. by Johannes Hoffmeister. Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 1955 (67). There is no English translation of this edition, but see Kaufmann, 1965, section 63-64.

Hegel, and necessary (50: see Kaufmann, 1959, 1960 ed., p. 159, and Kaufmann, 1965, section 17.

Hegel-Lexikon, 4 vols. Edited by Hermann Glockner. Stuttgart: Fr. Frommanns, 1935-1939 (46).

Heidegger, Martin. Sein und Zeit: Erste Hiilfte, Halle: Niemeyer, 1927. English: Being and Time. Translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson. New York and Evanston: Harper & Row, 1962 (6,7,37,42,66 n).

. Die Selbstbehauptung der deutschen Universitiit. Breslau: Wilh. Gottl. Korn, 1933 (2 n, 6 n).

. Einfiihrung in die M etaphysik. Ttibingen: Max Niemeyer, 1953. English: An Introduction to Metaphysics. Translated by Ralph Manheim. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959 (6: force on p. 24, Hottentots on p. 12).

Heraclitus. (54: fragments 121 and 101).

Hesse, Hermann. Die Morgenlandfahrt. Berlin: S. Fischer, 1932. Translated as lourney to the East by Hilda Rosner. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1968 (4).

Hillel. (65: Talmud Babli, Sabbath 31a). For quotation and discussion see Kaufmann, 1961, section 57, n 1.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

Hoess, Rudolf. Kommandant in Auschwitz: Autobiographische Aufzeichnungen. Edited by Martin Broszat. Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1958. Munchen: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1963 (63: pp. 179, 183, 152, 187, 148,133).

Hoffer, Eric. The True Believer. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1951 (4,63).

Homer. Iliad (7; 11: VI. 57 ff.; 21: IX. 632 ff.; 39).

Hopkins, Gerard Manley. (30: Poem 65).

Huizinga, Johan. Homo Ludens: Vom Vrsprung der Kultur im Spiel. Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1956. English translation of the original edition, first published in German in Switzerland in 1944, without translators name: Homo Ludens. Boston: Beacon Press, 1955 (75).

Hume, David. The Life of David Hume, Esq. Written by Himself. 1777. (25: dead-born: sixth paragraph).

. Treatise of Human Nature, 1739-1740. Edited by L. A. Selby-Bigge. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1896 (29: Section II: Of the Origin of Justice and Property, p. 494 f., 495; 29n and 31: love of gain, p. 492).

For an exposition and critique of Humes view, see Kaufmann, 1969.

Jachmann, Reinhold Bernhard. Immanuel Kant geschildert in Briefen an einen Freund; Konigsberg: Nicolovius, 1804. Reprinted in Immanuel Kant: Sein Leben in Darstellungen von Zeitgenossen / Die Biographien von L. E. Borowski, R. B. lachmann und A. Ch. Wasianski. Berlin: Deutsche Biblothek. n.d., preface dated June 1912 (1 n).


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Jaspers, Karl. Die Schuldfrage. Heidelberg: Lambert Schneider, and Zurich: Artemis, 1946. English: The Question of German Guilt. Translated by E. B. Ashton. New York: The Dial Press, 1947 (37).

Jefferson, Thomas. A Bill for Proportioning Crimes and Punishments 1779. In The Complete Jefferson; Containing his Major Writings, Published and Unpublished, except his Letters. Edited by Saul K. Padover. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1943 (13: pp. 90-102).

. The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson. Edited by Adrienne Koch and William Peden. New York: Modern Library, 1944 (13: p. 683, on Napoleon).

Job. (60: 2.3, 2.9, 27.5; 63: 27.5; 69: 27.5.)

Kafka, Franz. Brief an den Vater, written in 1919 and published posthumously in Hochzeitsvorbereitungen auf dem Lande und andere Prosa aus dem Nachlass. New York: Schocken Books, 1953 (31: p. 182 f.).

Kant, Immanuel. Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufkliirung. 1784. Gesammelte Schriften. Edited by Konigl. Preussische Akademie der Wissenschaften, vol. 8 (69: 1st parag., i.e., p. 35).

. Kritik der praktischen Vernunft. 1788. Gesammelte Schriften, vol. 5 (13: pp. 124 ff., i.e., bk. II, chap. II, sec. V; 69: Duty on p. 86, i.e., bk. I, chap. III, and the Moral Law on p. 161 f., i.e., Conclusion).

. Metaphysische Anfangsgrunde der Rechtslehre. 1797. Gesammelte Schriften, vol. 6 (13 and 14: 49 E). The translation mentioned in the text is The Metaphysical Elements of Justice. Translated by John Ladd. Indianapolis & N.Y. & Kansas City: The Library of Liberal Arts, 1965. Translations in the text are the authors.

Kaufmann, Walter. Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1950. 3d ed., revised and enlarged, Princeton University Press; New York: Random House, Vintage Books, 1968 (11).


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 , ed. Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre. New York: Meridian Books, 1956. Later printings, Cleveland and New York. See Sartre.

. Critique of Religion and Philosophy. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1961. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1972 (14 n; 35 n).

. From Shakespeare to Existentialism. Boston: Beacon Press, 1959. Rev. ed., Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1960 (2 n, 6 n).

. The Faith of a Heretic. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday. 1961. Doubleday Anchor Books, 1963 (1 n, 14 n, 39 n). . Hegel: Reinterpretation, Texts, and Commentary. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1965. Doubleday Anchor Books. 2 vols. 1966. See Hegel.

. Educational Development from the Point of View of a Normative Philosophy. In Philosophy and Educational Development. Edited by George Barnett. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966 (68 n).

. Tragedy and Philosophy. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1968. Doubleday Anchor Books, 1969 (7 n; 56: chap. VII).

. The Origin of Justice. In The Review of Metaphysics, 23.2. December 1969 (31).

. Black and White. In Survey: A journal of Soviet and East European Studies. Autumn, 1969. Also under the title Beyond Black and White: A Plea for Thinking in Color in Midway. 10.3. Winter 1970 (7 n).

Kierkegaard, Soren. The Concept of Dread. 1844. Translated by Walter Lowrie. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1946 (2: p.55).


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Kosinski, Jerzy. The Painted Bird. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965. New York: Pocket Books, 1966 (44 n; 53: p. 44 ff.).

Lindbergh, Anne Morrow. The Wave of the Future, a Confession of Faith. New York: Harcourt, 1940 (9).

Lukacs, Georg. Der junge Hegel und die Probleme der kapitalistischen Gesellschaft. Zurich: Europa Verlag, 1948. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 1954 (46).

Marcuse, Herbert. Reason and Revolution: Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory. New York: Oxford University Press. 1941. 2d ed. 1955 (46).

. Eros and Civilization. Boston: Beacon Press, 1955 (46).

. Repressive Tolerance. In A Critique of Pure Tolerance (three essays) by Robert Paul Wolff, Barrington Moore, Jr., and Herbert Marcuse. Boston: Beacon Press, 1965 (8: pp. 85, 94, 100, 10 1 ) .

Marx, Karl. Historisch-Kritische Gesamtausgabe. 1927 ff. This is considered the standard edition and usually cited as MEGA. The previously unpublished early manuscripts appeared in vol. 3 in 1932. The first popular edition of these writings was Die Fruhschriften, edited by Siegfried Landshut. Stuttgart: Kroner, 1955 (46 ff.; 80).

. Zur ludenfrage. 1843. Edition of Siegfried Landshut, pp. 171-99 and 199-207 (58: all quotations are from part II, pp. 199 ff.) Different English translations in Lloyd D. Easton and Kurt H. Guddat, Writings of the Young Marx on Philosophy and Society. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1967, and in Tucker, 1972.

. Die entfremdete Arbeit. In Karl Marx: Texte zu Methode und Praxis, vol. 2: Pariser Manuskripte 1844. Edited by Gunther Hillmann. Rowohlt. 1966. pp. 50-63 (50: p. 54). English translation in Tucker, 1972, p. 59.


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 . Die deutsche Ideologie. Edited by V. Adoratskij. Vienna and Berlin: Verlag fUr Literatur und Politik, 1932 (49: p. 22 f). The quoted passage is also included in Landshut ed., p. 361; and an English version of it in Tucker, 1972, p. 124).

. Manifest der kommunistischen Partei. 1848. (47: Landshuted., p. 552, i.e., III.1.c. English translation in Tucker, 1972).

. Das Kapital, vol. 1. 1867 (50: the expropriators, 3d paragraph from the end of chapter 24) .

Megarry, R. E. Miscellany-at-Law; a Diversion for Lawyers and Others. London: Stevens. 1958 (14 n).

Meyer, Eduard. Geschichte des Altertums. Erster Band. Erste Haelfte. 3d ed. Stuttgart and Berlin: Cotta, 1910 (58: pp. 227-30).

Mill, John Stuart. Utilitarianism. 1863 (32). For a detailed exposition and critique of his ideas about the origin of justice, see Kaufmann, 1969.

Mishnah. (60: Berakhot, IX.5.)

Mommsen, Theodor. Romisches Strafrecht. Leipzig: Duncker and Humblot, 1899 (21 n).

Morning Herald. January 28, 1804. Quoted by Andrews, 1890, 84 f., whose chapter on The Pillory contains many similar reports (16).

Mo-tze. The Ethical and Political Works of Motse. translated by Yi-pao Mei. London, Probsthain, 1929 (29: major calamities: chapter XVI. The passages on music are quoted by Fung Yulan, A History of Chinese Philosophy. Translated by Derk Bodde, vol. 1. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1952, pp. 86 f., 89 f., 104 f.).


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Nietzsche, Friedrich. Basic Writings of Nietzsche. Translated and edited by Walter Kaufmann. New York: Random House, The Modern Library, 1968 (33: p. 511 f., i.e., Genealogy of Morals, II, section 11; 36: p. 485 fl., i.e., Genealogy of Morals, I, section 15; 36 n: p. 520 fl., i.e., Genealogy of Morals, II, section 16 fl.).

. The Portable Nietzsche. Translated and edited by Walter Kaufmann. New York: The Viking Press, 1954 (4: p. 640, i.e., The Antichrist, section 55; 25: p. 258, i.e., Zarathustra II, last chapter, doves feet; 37: p. 576, i.e., The Antichrist, section 10; 72: p. 129 f., i.e., Zarathustra, Prologue, section 5).

Nozick, Robert. Anarchy, State and Utopia. New York: Basic Books, 1974 (29 n).

Perry, Ralph Barton. General Theory of Value. New York: Longmans, Green, 1926 (29 n).

Pius XII, Pope. International Penal Law: Address to the Sixth International Congress of Penal Law, October 3, 1953. In The Catholic Mind, February 1954 (16).

Plato. Gorgias (54, 2nd parag.: Soma, serna. 493, d. also Cratylus, 400).

. Republic (44: 571; 54, first paragraph: 473, 592, 555 fl.; 73: 583).

. Theaetetus (54, wonder: 155).

Rawls, John. A Theory of lustice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971 (12: p. 314 f.; 20: p. 315; 21 n; 29 n).

Reich, Charles. The Greening of America. New York: Random House, 1970. New York: Bantam Books, 1971 (11: 1971 ed. pp. 318, 374, and 377).


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Reiwald, Paul. Die Gesellschaft und Ihre Verbrecher. Zurich: Pan Verlag, 1948. Society and its Criminals. Translated and edited by T. E. James. London: Heinemann, 1949 (14, 20 n).

Sartre, Jean Paul. LEtre et Ie Neant. Paris: Gallimard, 1943. Translated as Being and Nothingness by Hazel Barnes. New York: Philosophical Library. 1956 (2: French ed., p. 515, translation, p. 439; 49: translation p. 59, also in Kaufmann, 1956, p. 256).

. Les Mouches. Paris: Gallimard, 1943. The Flies. Translated by Stuart Gilbert. New York: Knopf, 1947 (39). For a discussion of the play, see Kaufmann, 1968, section 51.

. LExistentialisme est un Humanisme. Paris: Editions Nagel, 1946. Translated as Existentialism and Humanism by Philip Mairet. London: Methuen, 1946. The discussion after the lecture: pp. 57-70. The lecture itself is included, uncut, in Kaufmann, 1956 (6).

. Portrait of the Anti-Semite in Kaufmann, 1956. Translated by Mary Guggenheim from Refiexions sur la question luive. Paris: Morihien, 1946 (4; 63).

. Question de Methode. Paris: Gallimard, 1960. Translated as Search for a Method by Hazel Barnes. New York: Knopf, 1963 (9: p. xxxiv, preface; and p. 30; cf. p. 7 f.). For the authority of history, see also Sartre, Reply to Albert Camus (Les Temps Modernes, 1952) and Merleau-Ponty (ibid., 1961). In Situations. New York: George Braziller, 1965.

. Merleau-Ponty. In Les Temps Modernes, 1961. Reprinted in Situations. Translated by Benita Eisler. New York: Braziller, 1965 (6, 45: Russia. . . p. 266; the right to . . . Marxists, p. 257; 45: p. 266).

. LIdiot de la famille; Gustave Flaubert de 1821-1857. Paris: Gallimard, 1971. 2 vols., 2136 pages! Two more volumes are to follow (29).


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973 Schacht, Richard L. Alienation with an Introductory Essay by Walter Kaufmann. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1970. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1971 (46 n).

Schneeberger, Guido. Nachlese zu Heidegger. Bern: Buchdruckerei AG, Suhr, 1962 (2 n, 6 n).

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet (39: II.2.1. 178 f.).

Soderblom, Nathan. The Living God. The Gifford Lectures . . . 1931. London, New York, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1933 (73 n: p. 89).

Solzhenitsyn, Alexander. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Translated by Max Hayward and Ronald Hingley. New York: Praeger, 1963. New York: Bantam Books, 1963 (9).

. Matryonas House in We Never Make Mistakes: Two Short Novels. Translated by Paul W. Blackstock. Columbia: The University of South Carolina Press, 1963. New York: Norton, 1971. Translated by H. T. Willett, in Encounter, May 1963, and in Half-way to the Moon: New Writing from Russia, edited by Patricia Blake and Max Hayward. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1964 (9).

. The First Circle. Translated by Thomas P. Whitney. New York: Harper & Row, 1968. New York: Bantam Books, 1969 (9; 11; 44).

.Cancer Ward. Translated by Nicholas Bethell and David Burg. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1969. New York: Bantam Books, 1969 (9; 9 n; 11; 44).

. Solzhenitsyn: A Documentary Record. Edited by Leopold Labedz. New York;.: Harper & Row, 1971 (9 n; 11).


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

. August 1914. Translated by Michael Glenny. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1972 (9,11).

. Nobel Lecture in The New York Times, September 30 and October 7, 1972 (78,79).

Sophocles. Oedipus Tyrannus. For a full-length interpretation see Kaufmann, 1968, chapter N.

Spinoza. Ethics (41 n). Tappan, Paul W. Crime, Justice and Correction. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1960 (16).

Tertullian. On Spectacles in The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325. Edited by the Reverend Alexander Roberts, D.D., and James Donaldson, LL.D., in vol. 3, Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian, American reprint of the Edinburgh Edition. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1957 (36).

Theognis. (12: line 147 f.).

Thucydides. (69: 1.20 conclusion) .

Tucker, Robert C. Marx and Distributive Justice, in Justice. Nomos VI. New York: Atherton, 1963. Also in Tuckers The Marxian Revolutionary Idea. New York: Norton, 1969 (13).

, ed. The Marx-Engels Reader. New York: Norton, 1972. See Marx.

Vlastos, Gregory, ed. Plato: A Collection of Critical Essays, II. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1971 (60 n).

Watson, John B. Psychological Care of Infant and Child. New York: Norton, 1928 (1).


Without Guilt and Justice: from Decidophobia to Autonomy by Walter Kaufmann, New York: P. H. Wyden. 1973

Weber, Max. Wissenschaft als Beruf. Munich and Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, 1919 (76: pp. 10, 14). Translations mine, italics in the original. Complete translation in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, translated and edited by H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills. 1946. For a detailed .critique of Webers lecture see Kaufmanns Ketzerei in der Erziehung in Club Voltaire, vol. 2, edited by Gerhard Szczesny. Munich. 1965, pp. 303-14.

Wood, Allen W. The Marxian Critique of Justice. In Philosophy & Public Affairs. vol. 1, no. 3. Spring 1972 (13 n).