SOURCES OF THE SELF The Making of the Modern Identity CHARLES TAYLOR HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS Cambridge, Massachusetts

1989 THE SELF IN MORAL SPACE 2.1 I said at the beginning of section I.5 that the naturalist reduction which would exclude frameworks altogether from consideration cannot be carried through, and that to see why this is so is to understand something important about the place of frameworks in our lives. Having seen a little better what these frameworks c onsist in, I want now to pursue this point. In sections I.4 and I.5 I have been talking about these qualitative distinctions in their relation to the issue of the meaning of life. But it is plain that dis tinctions of this kind play a role in all three dimensions of moral assessment t hat I identified above. The sense that human beings are capable of some kind of higher life forms part of the background Jor our belief that they are fit object s of respect, that their life and integrity is sacred or enjoys immunity, and is not to be attacked. As a consequence, we can see our conception of what this im munity consists in evolving with the development of new frameworks. Thus the fac t that we now place such importance on expressive power means that our contempor ary notions of what it is to respect people's integrity includes that of protect ing their expressive freedom to express and develop their own opinions, to defin e their own life conceptions, to draw up their own life-plans. At the same time, the third dimension too involves distinctions of this kind. Th e dignity of the warrior, the citizen, the householder,and so on repose on the b ackground understanding that some special value attaches to these forms of life or to the rank or station that these people have attained within them. Indeed, one of the examples abbve, the honour ethic, has plainly been the backgr ound for a very widespread understanding of dignity, which attaches to the free citizen or warrior-citizen and to an even higher degree to someone who plays a m ajor role in public life. This goes on being an important dimension of our life in modern society, and the fierce competition for this kind of dignity is part o f what animates democratic politics. These distinctions, which I have been calling frameworks, are thus woven 25 26 . IDENTITY AND THE GOOD in different ways into the three dimensions of our moral life. And this means, o f course, that they are of differential importance. I want to explore here a lit tle further just how they interweave through our moral existence. The first way is the one that I have already discussed. Frameworks provide the b ackground, explicit or implicit, for our moral judgements, intuitions, or reacti ons in any of the three dimensions. To articulate a framework is to explicate wh at makes sense of our moral responses. That is, when we try to spell out what it is that we presuppose when we judge that a certain form of life is truly worthw

hile, or place our dignity in a certain achievement or status, or define our mor al obligations in a certain manner, we find ourselves articulating inter alia wh at I have been calling here 'frameworks'. In a sense, this might be thought to offer a sufficient answer to the naturalist attempt to sideline frameworks. We might just reply to whoever propounds this r eductive thesis with the ad hominem point that they also make judgements about w hat is worthwhile, have a sense of dignity, and so on, and that they cannot simp ly reject the preconditions of these beliefs and attitudes making sense. But the ad hominem argument doesn't seem to go deep enough. We might think that although almost all the protagonists of naturalist reduction can themselves be c aught making the kind of distinctions which presuppose what they are rejecting, this doesn't dispose of the question whether we could in principle do without fr ameworks altogether-whether, in short, adopting them is ultimately to be seen as an optional stance for human beings, however difficult it in fact has been to a void them throughout most of previous human history. What tends to lend credence to the view that they are so optional is just the de veloping 'disenchantment' of modern culture, which I discussed in section 1.4 an d which has undermined so many traditional frameworks and, indeed created the si tuation in which our old horizons have been swept away , and all frameworks may appear problematical-the situation in which the I problem of meaning arises for us. In earlier ages, the reasoning might run, i i when the major definition of our existential predicament was one in which we fea red above all condemnation, where an unchallengeable framework made I imperious demands on us, it is understandable that people saw their I frameworks as enjoyi ng the same ontological solidity as the very structure of I the universe. But th e very fact that what was once so solid has in many cases f melted into air show s that we are dealing not with something grounded in the ! nature of being, but rather with changeable human interpretations. Why is it impossible, then, to con ceive a person or even a culture which might so understand this predicament as t o do altogether without frameworks, that is, without these qualitative discrimin ations of the incomparably higher? The The Self in Moral Space . 27 fact that we may always be able to catch our contemporaries still clinging to so me such in their actual lives and judgements does nothing to show that they are grounded on anything beyond ultimately dispensable interpretation. So runs a currently persuasive argument in favour of the reductive thesis. And t his is precisely the thesis I oppose. I want to defend the strong thesis that do ing without frameworks is utterly impossible for us; otherwise put, that the hor izons within which we live our lives and which make sense of them have to includ e these strong qualitative discriminations. Moreover, this is not meant just as a contingently true psychological fact about human beings, which could perhaps t urn out one day not to hold for some exceptional individual or new type, some su perman of disengaged objectification. Rather the claim is that living within suc h strongly qualified horizons is constitutive of human agency, that stepping out side these limits would be tantamount to stepping outside what we would recogniz e as integral, that is, undamaged human personhood. Perhaps the best way to see this is to focus on tl1e issue that we usually descr ibe today as the question of identity. We speak of it in these terms because the question is often spontaneously phrased by people in the form: Who am I? But th is can't necessarily be answered by giving name and genealogy. What does answer this question for us is an understanding of what is of crucial importance to us. To know who I am is a species of knowing where I stand. My identity is defined by the commitments and identifications which provide the frame or horizon within which I can try to determine from case to case what is good, or valuable, or wh at ought to be done, or what I endorse or oppose. In other words, it is the hori zon within which I am capable of taking a stand. People may see their identity as defined partly by some moral or spiritual commi

tment, say as a Catholic, or an anarchist. Or they may define it in part by the nation or tradition -they belong to, as an Armenian, say, or a Quebecois. What t hey are saying by this is not just that they are strongly attached to this spiri tual view or background; rather it is that this provides the frame within which they can determine where they stand on questions of what is good, or worthwhile, or admirable, or of value. Put counterfactually, they are saying that were they to lose this commitment or identification, they would be at sea, as it were; th ey wouldn't know anymore, for an important range of questions, what the signific ance of things was for them. And this situation does, of course, arise for some people. It's what we call an 'identity crisis', an acute form of disorientation, which people often express i n terms of not knowing who they are, but which can also be seen as a radical unc ertainty of where they stand. They lack a frame or horizon within which things c an take on a stable significance, within which some life 28 . IDENTITY AND THE GOOD possibilities can be seen as good or meaningful, others as bad or trivial. The m eaning of all these possibilities is unfixed, labile, or undetermined. This is a painful and frightening experience. What this brings to light is the essential link between identity and a kind of o rientation. To know who you are is to be oriented in moral space, a space in whi ch questions arise about what is good or bad, what is worth doing and what not, what has meaning and importance for you and what is trivial and secondary. I fee l myself drawn here to use a spatial metaphor; but I believe this to be more tha n personal predilection. There are signs that the link with spatial orientation lies very deep in the human psyche. In some very extreme cases of what are descr ibed as "narcissistic personality disorders", which take the form of a radical u ncertainty about oneself and about what is of value to one, patients show signs of spatial disorientation as well at moments of acute crisis. The disorientation and uncertainty about where one stands as a person seems to spill over into a l oss of grip on one's stance in physical space.1 Why this link between identity and orientation? Or perhaps we could put the ques tion this way: What induces us to talk about moral orientation in terms of the q uestion, Who are we? This second formulation points us towards the fact that we haven't always done so. Talk about 'identity' in the modern sense would have bee n incomprehensible to our forebears of a couple of centuries ago. Erikson2 has m ade a perceptive study of Luther's crisis of faith and reads it in the light of contemporary identity crises, but Luther himself, of course, would have found th is description reprehensible if not utterly incomprehensible. Underlying our mod ern talk of identity is the notion that questions of moral orientation cannot al l be solved in simply universal terms. And this is connected to our post-Romanti c understanding of individual differences as well as to the importance we give t o expression in each person's discovery of his or her moral horizon. For someone in Luther's age, the issue of the basic moral frame orienting one's action coul d only be put in universal terms. Nothing else made sense. · This is linked, of co urse, with the crisis for Luther turning around the acute sense of condemnation and irremediable exile, rather than around a modern sense of meaninglessness, or lack of purpose, or emptiness. So one part of the answer to our question is historical; certain developments in our self-understanding are a precondition of our putting the issue in terms of i dentity. Seeing this will also prevent us from exaggerating our differences with earlier ages. For most of us, certain fundamental moral questions are still put in universal terms: those, for instance, which we stated in section I.I, dealin g with people's rights to life and integrity. What differentiates us from our fo rebears is just that we don't see all such questions as framed in these terms as a matter of course. But this also means that our identities, as defined by what ever gives us our fundamental orientation, are in The Self in Moral Space . 29 fact complex and many-tiered. We are all framed by what we see as universally va lid commitments (being a Catholic or an anarchist, in my example above) and also by what we understand as particular identifications (being an Armenian or a Que

The slightly more aggressive form: 'Who ( the hell) do you think you are?' calls for the latter type of answer. More fundamentally . Or who is that? point ing to some person across the room. we can see that it only plays the role of orienting us of prov. On this picture. is not to know who one is. not a . That this is so. can surrender when one ought to. But in fact ou r identity is deeper and more many-sided than any of our possible articulations of it. The issue is. And this orientation. It is not just that the commitments and identifications by which 30 . or by a statement of social role: 'It's the repair man'. capable of answering for oneself. or just that the issue of identity is invariably for us a matt er itself of strongly valued good-an identity is something that one ought to be true to. Of course. IDENTITY AND THE GOOD we in fact define our identity involve such strong evaluations. B~t if this is so. Itis what makes possible t hese discriminations. or 'the man you're pointing to is the President'. But the second facet of the question above is not historical. and what meanings things have for us. Who? wIthout accepting any qualitative distinctions. providing the horizon within which we know wh ere we stand. that the space in question is one which must be mapped by stron g evaluations or qualitative distinctions. To be some one who qualifies as a potential object of this question is to be such an interl ocutor among others. emerges from the above discussion. This is based on a quite dIfferent ~Icture. And these are the questions to which our framework-definitions are answers. it is difficult to see how anything could play th is role which didn't incorporate such distinctions. But to speak of orientation is to presuppose a space-analogue within w hich one finds one's way. It henc e couldn't be entirely without such evaluations. that of human agency where one could answer the question. The notion of an identity defin ed by some mere de facto. Who? The questi on Who? is asked to place someone as a potiential interlocutor in a society of i nterlocutors. Even more. what one wants to answer. frameworks are ~hings we invent. just on the basis of desires and aversi ons. we take as basic that the human agent exists in a space of questions. Who is this speaking? we say over the phone. because this is what is salient in our lives. then the naturalist supposition that we might be able to d? w ithou~ frameworks altogether is wildly wrong. how could the absence of some such preference be felt as a disorientin g lack? The condition of there being such a thing as an identity crisis is preci sely that our identities define the space of qualitative distinctions within whi ch we live and choose. But then what emerges from all this is that we think of this fundamental moral o rientation as' essential to being a human interlocutor. which turn on strong evaluations. To understand our predicament in terms of finding or l osing orientation in moral space is to take the space which our frameworks seek to define as onto logically basic. But to be able to answer for oneself is to know where one stands. through what framework-definiti on can I find my bearings in it? In other words. likes and dislikes. hence your identity. It is rather: Why do we think of fundamental orientation in terms of the question. We often declare our identity as defined by only one of these. or what is put in question.becois). But this is obviously a derIvativ e case: beings of whom one can ask this question are normally either actually or potentially capable of answering for themselves. To lose this orientation. And that is why we naturally tend to talk of our fundamental orienta tion in terms of who we are. Our identity is what allows us to define what is important to us and what is not. defines where yo u answer from. The answer comes in the form of a name: 'I'm Joe Smith'. someone with one's own standpoint or one's own role. or not to have found it. can fail to uphold. not strongly valued preference is incoherent. as the above exa mples make clear. I can ask the question. by virtue ot'the quahtative distinctio ns it incorporates. Who?-pointing to som eone lying over there in an irreversible coma. And what is more. including those. who ca n speak for himlherself.iding the frame within which things have meaning for us. often accompanied by a statement of relationship: 'I'm Mary's broth er-in-law'. once attained.

By con trast. some atheists take this view towards the dispute among differen t religions over what one might call the shape of the supernatural-whether we sp eak in terms of the God of Abraham. that this form of life is more admirable. For o ne can only adopt such dIstmctIOns as make sense to one within one's basic orien tation. In practi ce. prior to all choice or adventitious cultural change. moreover. What is. of course. He has gone way beyond the fringes of what we think as shallowness: 'people we judge as shallow do have a sense of what is incomparably important. then one rather has a picture of frightening dissociation. tha t it belongs to human agency to exist in a space of questions about strongly val ued goods. our orientation in The Self in Moral Space . or reflect s a higher moral benevolence. 3I space is not the answer to a factitious. and so on. these atheists believe. On a mor e serious level. who has played such a role in our culture. Within this picture. It is the utilitar ian ideologue. we should see such a person as deeply disturbed. The whole issue area in which these a~swers make ~ense didn't need to arise. does cast t hem in this latter light. We would see this as pathological. or of Nirvana. If one wants to add to the portrait by saying that the person doesn 't suffer this absence of frameworks as a lack . make s the task of finding these bearings mescapable. One orients oneself in a space which exists independen tly of one's success or failure in finding ?ne's bearings. i. the portrait of an agent free from all frameworks ra ther spells for us a person in the grip of an appalling identity crisis. easily understandable as a human type is a person who has decided that he ought not to accept the traditional frameworks distin guishing higher and lower ends. isn't in other words in a cri sis at all. than following the traditional definitions of virtue. the notion of inventing a qualitative d~st~nct~on out of whole cloth makes no sense. as the atheists imagine we can for religion. and the like. We can't distance ourselves from the issue of spatial orientation or fail to stumble on it-as with the right angle for bowler hats-or repudiate it. or of Brahman. as an ultimately factitious question. piety. Such a person wouldn't know where he stood on issues of fundamental importance. It would have sufficed that no one have invented the bowler hat. only we think their commitments trivial. But our discussion of iden tity indicates rather that it belongs to the class of the inescapable.nswers to questions which inescapably pre-exist for us. which. they ought after all to develop a sense of up and down. would h ave no orientation in these issues whatever. or not deeply thought out or chosen. since they were spatial beings. But this person doesn't . We can't conceive of a form in which this question is not always already there. he wouldn't have a stand in the space where the rest of us are. The naturalist view would relegate the issue of what framework to adopt to the f ormer category. We all think of some ~ssue s as fac~itious in this sense. and one day mIght totally dIsappear from human concern. We couldn't conceive of a human life form where one day people came to reflect that. . and find landmarks which would enable them to get around-reflections which might be disputed by others. that what he ought to do is calculate rationally about happiness. The distinction between the two views can perhaps be put this way: the Idea that we invent distinctions out of whole cloth is equivalent to the notion that we invent the questions as well as the answers. . however.. In the light of our understanding of identity. To see frameworks as orientations. To take a trivial example: if we see a dispute m some socIety about what is the fashionable way to wear a bowler hat flat or at a rakish angle. dispensable issue. right and left. But a person without a framework altogether would be outside our space of interlocution. or merely conventional.e. we would all agree that this whole issue might easil. This is even a familiar picture. mdependent of our answer or inability to answer. This discussion thus throws up a strong challenge to the naturalist picture. demanding an answer. wouldn't be able to answer for hims elf on them. not have ex isted.

The word is usedin all sorts of ways. capa cities. The utilitarian lives within a moral horizon which cannot be explicated by his own moral theory. It may be wrong in detail. I remember an experiment designed to show that chimps too have 'a sense of self': an animal with paint marks on its face. We have to distinguish this f rom all sorts of other uses which have cropped up in psychology and sociology. of c ourse. But there is an important difference. I will return to it below. Nor is it sufficient to be a self in the sense that one can steer one's action s trategically in the light of certain factors. The Freudian Ego is a t its freest. But because this horizon can be easily f orgotten in favour of the facts and situations one deals with within it. It is not essentia l to the Ego that it orient itself in a space of questions about the go?d. If any view takes us right acro ss the boundary and defines as normal or possible a human life which we would fi nd incomprehensible and pathological. For the aim of this account is to examine how we actually make sense of our lives. that it stand somewhere on these questions. This is one of 32 IDENTITY AND THE GOOD the great weaknesses of utilitarianism. drawn from some questionable epi stemological theories. it springs to light that the ultilitarian is very much one of us. The answer is that this is not only a phenomenol ogical account but an exploration of the limits of the conceivable in human life . Rather the reverse. account of identity? For so he might want to describe it. a nd we shall see in Part II that this whole language is historically conditioned. meaning th at they are beings of the requisite depth and complexity to have an identity in the above sense (or to be struggling to find one). and to draw the limits of the conceivable from our knowledge of what we actually do when we do s o.lack a framework. this fr amework can be disregarded. etc. It is on these grounds that I oppose the naturalist thesis and say that the horizons in which we live m ust include strong qualitative discriminations. This strategic capacity reqUires some kind o f reflective awareness. in the next chapter. the connection that came to light in the above discussion between identity and the good. and the picture is accredited of a frameworkless agen t. reached wi th its paws to its own face to clean it. the ultimate basis for accepting any of these theories is precisely that th ey make better sense of us than do their rivals. We talk about a human being as a 'self'. ought to trump what we can descry from within our practic e itself as the limits of our possible ways of making sense of our lives? After all. 2. feels wrong when he himself falls below it. it can't be right. The ideally free Ego would be a lucid cal . including one's. and the imagined agent of naturalist theory is a monster. But there is a sense of the term where we speak of people as selves.beIng) ~n Ego In the F reudian sense. and in related uses. the objection that arises for naturalism is decisive. I wan t to pursue something else. viz. and he wouldn't be entirely wrong. The Self in Moral Space . own desir~s. 33 this involves a very different sense of the term from the one I wish to invoke. But once one becomes aware of how human agents are inescapably in a space of such moral questions. But for the moment. It somehow recognized that this mirror image was of its own body. seeing itself in the mirror. when it has the maximal mar gin of manoeuvre in relation to the imperious demands of the Superego as well as in the face of the urgings of the Id. an account of its "transcendental conditions". But the naturalist might protest: Why do I have to accept what emerges from this phenomenological. is most capable of exercising control. But what description of human possibilities. condemns those who fail or who are too confused even to accept it. He admires people who live up to this ideal.. This is part of what is meant by having (or . But if it's co rrect.2 I recognize that there is a crucial argument here which I have stated all too br iefly. he has a strong commitment to a certain ideal of rationality and benevolence. and the challenge is always there to provide a better one.3 Obviously. On the contrary.

So one crucial fact about a self or person that emerges from all this is that it is not like an object in the usually understood sense.. t hat they strive to appear in a good light in the eyes of those they come in cont act with as well as in their own.6 T . in abstraction from his or her self-interpretations. "v alue-free" language of SOCial SCience.. what is usu ally studied under this h~ad is. The object of study is to be taken "absolutely".. define ourselv es at least inter alia by) where we stand on this. of course. We are selves only in that certain issues matter for us. anthropocentric.. : 34 . gen~rally socially induced. that we should cease trying to explain th e world around us in subjective. my identity. as the all-too-human weakness of "ego" an d "image" in the everyday sense of these terms (themselves. '. and the issue of my identity is worked out. But in the way this is usually conceived. is to ask a fundamentally misguided question. We are not selves in the way that we are organisms. even In thiS sense. would not be deterred by the adverse opinions of oth ers. but as it is on its own ("objectively").culator of pay-offs. The self. H~re there is indeed. the importance of image bears no connection to identi ty. that we each essentially are (i. only through a language of interp retation which I have come to accept as a valid articulation of these issues. What it is to be a self or pe rson of this kind is difficult to conceive for certain strands of ~ode~n philoso phy and above all for those which have bec~me.way. one to which there couldn't in princ iple be an answer. It is seen as a fact about human beings that they care that their image matc hes up to certain st. that is. The object is what it is independent of any descriptions or interpretations offer ed of it by any subjects. 4. enshrIned In mainstream psycholog y and social science. The object can in principle be described without reference to its surroundings. 4 . it would help to enumerate four of these. What I am a s a self.e.o ask what a person is. The ideally strong character would be maximally free of them.and~rds. By contrast.s But. And as has been widely discussed. of course. that we cannot do without some orientation to the good. outside the sterilized. in connec tion with the observation that people have a self-Image whiCh matters to them. The first two features correspond to a central feature of the great seventeenthcentury revolution in natural science. and would be able to face unflinchingly the truth about himself or herself. or we don't have selves in the way we have hearts an d livers. not in its mea ning for us or any other subject. these things have significance for m e. ought to be an object of stu dy like any other. the notion of self which connects it to our need for Identity is me ant to pick out this crucial feature of human agency.what we can identify. 3. 1.. The object can in principle be captured in explicit description. or "secondary" properties. On the contrary. is essentially defined by the way things have significanc e for me. incorpora ted into the vernacular from social science). I h ave discussed this elsewhere. We are living beings with these organs quite independently of our self . But this is not seen a s something which IS essential to human personhood. The Ego or 'Self also enters ~sychology and sociology :n a~other. a sense of self which go es beyond neutral self-observatIOn and calculatIOns of benefits.. To see the conceptual obstacles here. IDENTITY AND THE GOOD 2. But there are certain things which are generally held true of objects of scientific study which don't hold of the self. neither of these features holds o f the self..

I may innovate. just as it would appear the very first acquisi tion of language depends on a proto-variant of it. Wittgenstein has made this point familiar. a ce rtain language. A language only exists and is maintained w ithin a language community. in some c ommon space. But we are only selves insofar as we move in a certain space of questions. as we saw above . as we seek a nd find an orientation to the good. try to increase our understanding of what is implicit in our moral and evaluative languages. in t he geography of social statuses and functions. We can. But why is this a point specifically about the self? Doesn't it apply to any lan guage. or activate such common spaces. or the meanings things have for us. To study The Self in Moral Space . This obviously cannot be just a contingent matter. We first lear n our languages of moral and spiritual discernment by being brought into an ongo ing conversation by those who bring us up.ll Later. even that of the scientific description of objects? Yes. One is a self only among other selves. even if we add t hat I know that it's an object for you. which in turn can be further unp acked. We clarify one language with another. There is no way we cOldd be i nducted into personhood except by being initiated into a language. But we cannot have fully articulated what we are taki ng as given. love. in my intimate relations to the o nes I love. are through my and others' experience of these being objects for us. And this indicates another crucial feature of a self . But articulation can by its very nature never be c ompleted. at least one which is in . My self-definition is understood as an answer to the question Who I am. for me and my conversati on partners together. what we are simply counting with.8 This brings us to the fourth feature. which I have tried to describe elsewhere9 with the notion of 'public' or 'common space'. and so on. as seems indicated in the pio neering work of Jerome Bruner. But I would like to show here how this modern independence of the self is no negation of the fact that a self only exists among other selves. of course. or are partly constituted by. The various uses oflanguage set up. internal to. that is. that i n talking about something you and I make it an object for us together. focus . and you know. not just an object for me which happens also to be one for you. Just how this happened is a central theme that I will trace in Part II. Here a crucial feature of conversation is relevant. for instance. in using this language. one which. But i t is in the case of the self that the language which can never be made fully exp licit is part of. This can even be an ideal. The self is partly const ituted by its self-interpretations. The meanings that the key words first had for me are the meanings they have for us. in the family tree. anxiety. until they shut him up once and for all.-understandings or -interpretations. and also crucially in the space of moral and spiritual orientation w ithin which my most important defining relations are lived out. And th is question finds its original sense in the interchange of speakers. institute.lO So I can only learn what anger. This has become an important point to make. Full arti culacy is an impossibility. the aspiration to wholeness. The object is for us in a strong sense. or constitutive of the "object" studied. etc. in social space. o f course. But the self's interpretations can never be fully explicit. Socra tes imposed on his unwilling and frustrated interlocutors in Athens. 35 persons is to study beings who only exist in. this is what made it fail to match the secon d feature. This is the truth behind Wittgenstein's dictum that agreement in me anings involves agreement in judgements. The language we have come to accept articulates the issues of the good for us. etc. A self can never be described without r eference to those who surround it. that is. This point is already implicit in the very notion of 'identity'. because not only the philosophico-sc ientific tradition but also a powerful modern aspiration to freedom and individu ality have conspired to produce an identity which seems to be a negation of this .7 That the self will fail to exhibit the third feature of the classical object of study is already implicit in its failure on the second. I define wh o I am by defining where I speak from. I may develop an original way of understanding myself and human life. .

In a parallel deve lopment. where I spoke of identifying oneself as a Catholic or an anarchist. these classes may overlap. But it is important to see how this stance. In the writings of the prophets and the Psalms. but by no means takes us out of. T hus it might be essential to the self-definition of A that he is a Catholic and a Quebecois.· But I need to say a word about it here in order to overcome a common confusion. it is clear that the most important spiritual traditions of our civilizat ion have encouraged. transforms our position within. in conversation with othe rs. Even as the most independent adult. They are still in a web. everything would be co nfusion.:r little we may live up to it in disagreement with my family and background. declaring independence from the webs of interlocution which have originally formed himlher. then it is plain that the ideal of detachment comes to us from both sides of our heritage. This incapacity is a mere shadow of the one the child experiences. First. Normally. IDENTITY AND THE GOOD common language. in another in rel ation to those who are now crucial to my continuing grasp of languages of self-u nderstanding-arid. I am a self only i n relation to certain interlocutors: in one way in relation to those conversatio n partners who were essential to my achieving self-definition. even demanded. But the innovation can only t ake place · from the base in our 36 . however. who know me. or at least neutrali zing them. of course.13 The full definition of someone's identity thus usually involves not only his stand on moral and spirit~al matters but also some reference to a defining community. and talk instead of how they found . this will be one of the major themes of later parts. what I have called the original situat ion of identity-formation. but the one they define themselves by is no longer . finding his or her own bearings within. a detachment from the second dimension of id entity as this is normally lived. which would be anachronistic in talking about the ancients. their spiritual bearings. without the conversat ions which fix this language for him. of B that he is an Armenian and an anarchist. to be left behind and to play no part in the finished person. like the training wheels of nursery school.) What I have been trying to suggest in this discussion is that these two dimensio ns of identity-definition reflect the original situation out of which the whole issue of identity arises. If we The Self in Moral Space . It goes onbeing true of such heroes that they define themselves not just genetically but as they are today. historic communities . For him. or as an Armenian or a Qu ebecois. A self exists only with in what I call 'webs of interlocution'Y It is this original situation which gives its sense to our concept of 'identity' . offering an answer to the question of who I am through a definition of where I am speaking from and to whom. Plato describes a Socrates who was firmly rooted enough in philosophica l reason to be able to stand in imperious independence of Athenian opinion. (And these descriptio ns might not exhaust the identity of either. one dimension would not be exclusive of the other. which has become a powerful ideal fo r us. at least poten tially. 37 transpose this discussion out of the modern language of identity. we are addressed by people who stood out against the almost unanimous ob loquy of their communities in order to deliver God's message. where I will tr ace some of the history of the modern identity. there are moments when I ca nnot clarify what I feel until I talk about it with certain special partner(s). It's as though the dimension of interlocution were of significance on ly for the genesis of individuality. from particular. Modern culture has develope d conceptions of individualism which picture the human person as. or with whom I have an affinity. that is. or have wisdom. This is the sense in which one cannot be a self on one's own. But this second definition tends to become occluded. there would be no language of discernment at all. howevt. These two dimensions were reflected in the e xamples which quite naturally came to mind in my discussion above. from the given webs of birth and history. What has given cu rrency to these views? In a sense.

the given historical community. It is the saving remnant, or the community of li ke-minded souls, or the company of philosophers, or the small group of wise men in the mass of fools, as the Stoics saw it, or the close circle of friends that played such a role in Epicurean thought.14 Taking the heroic stance doesn't allo w one to leap out of the human condition, and it remains true that one can elabo rate one's new language only through conversation in a broad sense, that is, thr ough some kind of interchange with others with whom one has some common understan ding about what is at stake in the enterprise. A human being can always be origi nal, can step beyond the limits of thought and vision of contemporaries, can even be quite misunderstood by them. But the drive to original vision will be hamper ed, will ultimately be lost in inner confusion, unless it can be placed in some way in relation to the language and vision of others. Even where I believe that I see a truth about the human condition that no one el se has seen-a condition that Nietzsche seems to have approached sometimes-it sti ll must be on the basis of my reading of others' thought and language. I see the 'genealogy' underlying their morality, and therefore hold them too to be (unwit ting and unwilling) witnesses to my insight. Somehow I.have to meet the challeng e: Do I know what I'm saying? Do I really grasp what I'm talking about? And this challenge I can only meet by confronting my thought and language with the thoug ht and reactions of bthers. Of course, there is a big difference between the situation, on one hand, where I work out where I stand in conversation only with my immediate historic communit y and where I don't feel confirmed in what I believe unless we see eye to eye, a nd the case, on the other hand, where I rely mainly on a community of the like-m inded, and where confirmation can take the form of my being satisfied that they give unwitting testimony to my views, that their 38 . IDENTITY AND THE GOOD thought and language bespeak contact with the same reality, which I see clearer than they. The gap gets even bigger when we reflect that in the latter case, the 'conversation' will no longer be exclusively with living contemporaries, but wil l include, e.g., prophets, thinkers, writers who are dead. What is the point of my insisting that the thesis about interlocution holds in spite of this gap? The point is to insist on what I might call this 'transcendental' condition of o ur having a grasp on our own language, that we in some fashion confront it or re late it to the language of others. This is not just a recommended policy of the kind that suggests if you check your beliefs against others' you'll avoid some f alsehoods. In speaking of a 'transcendental' condition here, I am pointing to th e way in which the very confidence that we know what we mean, and hence our havi ng our own original language, depends on this relating. The original and (ontoge netically) inescapable context of such relating is the face-to-face one in which we actually agree. We are inducted into language by being brought to see things as our tutors do. Later, and only for part of our language, we can deviate, and this thanks-to our relating to absent partners as well and to our confronting o ur thought with any partner in this new, indirect way, through a reading of the disagreement. And even here, not all the confronting can be through dissent. I stress the continuity between the later, higher, more independent stance and t he earlier, more "primitive" form of immersion in community not just because the second is necessarily ontogenetically prior, and not even just because the firs t stance can never be adopted across the whole range of thought and language, so that our independent positions remain embedded, as it were, in relations of imm ersion. I also want to point out how through language we remain related to partn ers of discourse, either in real, live exchanges, or in indirect confrontations. The nature of our language and the fundamental dependence of our thought on lan guage makes interlocution in one or other of these forms inescapable for US.15 The reason why this is an important point to make is that the development of cer tain modern character forms, of a highly independent individualism, has brought along with it, understandably if mistakenly, certain views of selfhood and langu age which have denied it or lost it utterly from sight. For instance, the early modern theories of language, from Hobbes through Locke to Condillac, presented i t as an instrument potentially inventable by individuals. A private language was

a real possibility on these views. 16 This idea continues to bewitch us in this age. We have only to think of the sense offresh insight we gain, or alternativel y, of the resistance and disbelief we feel, when we first read Wittgenstein's ce lebrated arguments against the possibility of a private language. Both are testi mony to the hold of certain deeply entrenched , modes of thought in modern culture. Again, a common picture of the self, as The Self in Moral Space . 39 (at least potentially and ideally) drawing its purposes, goals, and life-plans o ut of itself, seeking "relationships" only insofar as they are "fulfilling", is largely based on ignoring our embedding in webs of interlocution. It seems somehow easy to read the step to an independent stance as a stepping al together outside the transcendental condition of interlocution-or else as showin g that we were never within it and only needed the courage to make clear our bas ic, ontological independence. Bringing out the transcendental condition is a way of heading this confusion off. And this allows the change to appear in its true light. We may sharply shift the balance in our definition of identity, dethrone the given, historic community as a pole of identity, and relate only to the comm unity defined by adherence to the good (of the saved, or the true believers, or the wise). But this doesn't sever our dependence on webs of interlocution. It on ly changes the webs, and the nature of our dependence. Indeed, we can go even further and define ourselves explicitly in relation to no web at all. Certain Romantic views of the self, drawing its sustenance from nat ure within and the great world of nature without, tend in this direction, as do their debased derivatives in modern culture. And a close cousin to Romanticism i s the self of the American Transcendentalists, in a sense containing the univers e, but bypassing any necessary relation to other humans. But these grandiose asp irations do nothing to lift the transcendental conditions. This kind of individualism, and the illusions which go with it, is peculiarly po werful in American culture. As Robert Bellah and his co-authors point out,!7 Ame ricans have built on the earlier Puritan tradition of "leaving home". In early C onnecticut, for instance, all young persons had to go through their own, individ ual conversion, had to establish their own relation to GOQ,to-be-aUowed'fuHmembe rship in the church. And this has grown into the American tradition of leaving h ome: the young person has to go out, to leave the parental background, to make h is or her own way in the world. In contemporary conditions, this can transpose e ven into abandonin,g the political or religious convictions of the parents. And yet we can talk without paradox of an American 'tradition' of leaving home. The young person learns the independent stance, but this stance is also something ex pected of him or her. Moreover, what an independent stance involves is defined b y the culture, in a continuing conversation into which that young person is indu cted (and in which the meaning of independence can also alter with time). Nothin g illustrates better the transcendental embedding of independence in interlocutio n. Each young person may take up a stance which is authentically his or her own; but the very possibility of this is enframed in a social understanding of great temporal depth, in fact, in a "tradition". Itwould be to forget the distinction between the transcendental conditions 40 IDENTITY AND THE GOOD and our actual stance to think that this enframing in tradition simply makes a m ockery of the emphasis on independent, self-reliant individuals. Of course the i ndependence can become a very shallow affair, in which masses of people each try to express their individuality in stereotyped fashion. It is a critique that ha s often been made of modern consumer society that it tends to breed a herd of co nformist individuals. This is indeed a mockery of the pretensions of the culture . But just for that reason we can't conclude that the existence of a traditional culture of independence itself empties individuality of its meaning. In order to see that the cultu;al shift to the ideal of self-reliance makes a di fference, even in its debased form, we have only to compare it with a quite diff erent culture. It matters that American young people are expected to be independ

ent of their elders, even if this itself is one of the demands of the elders. Be cause what each young person is working out is an identity which is meant to be hislher own in the special sense that it could be sustained even against parenta l and social opposition. This identity is worked out in conversations with paren ts and consociates, but the nature of the conversation is defined by this notion of what an identity is. Compare this with Sudhir Kakar's account of the upbringi ng of young Indians: "The yearning for the confirming presence of the loved pers on ... is the dominant modality of social relations in India, especially within the extended family. This 'modality' is expressed variously but consistently, as in a person's feeling of helplessness when family members are absent or his dif ficulty in making decisions alone. In short, Indians characteristically rely on the support of others to go through life and to deal with the exigencies imposed by the outside world.,,18 This is plainly a different pattern from the one encouraged in our societies in the West. The fact that both are elaborated in cultural traditions does nothing to lessen the difference. The Indian pattern, on this view anyway, tends to enco urage a kind of identity in which it is difficult for me to know what I want and where I stand on an important range of subjects if I am out of phase or not in communication with the people close to me. The Western pattern tries to encourag e just the opposite. From within each, the other looks strange and inferior. As Kakar points out, Wes tern scholars have tended to read the Indian pattern as a kind of "weakness". In dians might read the Western one as unfeeling. ,But these judgements are ethnoce ntric and fail to appreciate the nature of the cultural gap.19 Ethnocentrism, of course, is also a consequence of collapsing the distinction between the transce ndental conditions and the actual content of a culture, because it makes it seem as though what we are "really" is separated individuals, and hence that this is the proper way to be.20 The Self in Moral Space . 4I 2.3 I have been trying, in the previous section, to trace the connections between ou r sense of the good and our sense of self. We saw that these are closely interwo ven and that they connect too with the way we are agents who share a language wi th other agents. Now I want to extend this picture, to show it relates to our se nse of our life as a whole and the direction it is taking as we lead it. To set the context for this, I return to my argument about the good, to sum up where I think it stands at this pbint. In my introductory remarks I began by declaring that my aim was to explore the b ackground picture which underlies our moral intuitions. And later (section 1.2), I redefined this target as the moral ontology which lies behind and makes sense of these intuitions and responses. As the discussion has proceeded, I have come to describe my goal in different terms again: we can now see it as exploring th e frameworks which articulate our sense of orientation in the space of questions about the good. These qualitative distinctions, which define the frameworks, I saw first as background assumptions to our moral reactions and judgements, then a s contexts which give these reactions their sense. So I still see them. But thes e descriptions of their role do not capture how indispensable they are to us. Ev en the second fails to do this: for though a context which makes-sense of a part icular range of judgements is indeed indispensable to those judgements, the opti on might still seem open of not making such valuations at all. As long as the na turalist picture, by which having amoral outlook is an optional extra, continues as plausible, the place of these frameworks in our lives will be obscured. Seei ng these qualitative distinctions as defining orientations has altered all this. We can now see that they are contestable answers to inescapable questions. But the image of spatial orientation which I have been using as an analogy bring s out another facet of our life as agents. Orientation has two aspects; there ar e two ways that we can fail to have it. I can be ignorant of the lie of the land around me-not know the important locations which make it up or how they relate to each other. This ignorance can be cured by a good map. But then I can be lost

. of course. Jovite. Of course. in just the way that the orientation which defines our identity is not. Lac Carre. then ripping the blindfold off and shouting. I still don't know where I am becaus e I can't place Tremblant in relation to other places in the known world. By analogy. for us. or of cruci al importance. which concerns questions about what kind of life is worth living. the need to be connected to. These are expressions commonly used. our orientation in relation to the good requires not only some frame work(s) which defines the shape of the qualitatively higher but also a sense of where we stand in relation to this. She presumably knows well how the mountain relates to the 42 . to the point w here the very term 'identity' is somewhat anachronistic for premodern cultures-w hich doesn't mean. a native of the region might get lost on a trek in Mont Tremblant P ark. once we s ee that this orientation in relation to the good is essential to being a functio nal human agent? The fact that we have to place ourselves in a space which is de fined by these qualitative distinctions camiot but mean that where we stand in r elation to them must matter to us. But in a meaningful sense. no matter how distant it placed us from the good. T he traveller in the plane has a good description of where he is but lacks the ma p which would give it an orienting sense for him. e. of course . the trekker has the map but la cks knowledge of where she is on it. what they see as good. I know now (if I trust you) that I'm at Mont Tremblant. or empty and trivial. or whether one day is just following the next with .. Or: Is my life amounting to something? Does it have weight an d substance. My point is that the goods which defin e our spiritual onentatlOn are the ones by which we will measure the worth of ou r lives· the . an d ultimately for the same reason. we come here to one of the most basic aspirations of human beings. And how could it be otherwise. or weight. to which we could be indifferent. per son-related terms tha~ it . meaningful life. or is it just running away into nothing. On the contrary. or what would con stitute an honourable another way if I don't know how to place myself on this map. "Ther e it is!" as we overfly the wooded hill. or whether I am in 'contact' with it. or of fundamental value. about the worth. taking any answer which effectively orient ed us as satisfactory. and the like. images frequently evoked. the kind of issue which arises alon g this axis varies from person to person and. from culture t o culture. into something insubstanti al? Another way the question can arise for us (below we will see better why) is whether our lives have unity. We are back here to what I called the second axis of strong evaluation i~ sectio n I. as against an empty one. much more markedly. w hat would be a rich. But she has ceased to be able to place he rself in this well-known terrain as she stumbles around the unfamiliar forest. Typically.4. two ~ssues are indissolubly linked because they relate to the same core. IDENTITY AND THE GOOD Riviere Diable. I touched on this in section I. In contrast. What I am arguing here is that our bei ng concerned with some or other issue of this range is not an optional matter fo r us. the question can arise of the 'worthwhileThe Self in Moral Space . If I am a trave ller from abroad and I ask where Mont Tremblant is. Not being able to function without orientatio n in the space of the ultimately important means not being able to stop caring w here we sit in it. that the need for a moral or spiritual orientation is any less absolute but just that the issue cannot arise in the reflexive. or sub stance of my life. Nor is this question a potentially neutral o ne. do the goods by which people define their identity vary-indeed. St.4.g. particularly in connection with the saliency in our day of questions about the "meaning" of life. and tha t IS why I want to speak of the second issue. or in contact with.does . for contemporaries. you don't help me by taking me blindfolded up in a plane. as a question of how I am 'placed' or 'situated' in relation to the good. 43 ness' or 'meaningfulness' of one's life. of whether it is (or has been) rich and substantial. But so.

These are peculiarly modern forms and images. be both: thes e are alternative favoured descriptions. one transcending the cosmos. the past falling into a kind of nothingness which is not t he prelude. to give himself more integrally to God. to their lives. or some meaning. not necessarily mutually exclusive feat ures. some pattern of higher action. For those who define the good as self-mastery through reason. In certain early religi ons. time which is both wasted and irretrievably lost. iDENTITY AND THE GOOD of politics. if not in one of the recognized artistic or intellectual media. it is above all important to see oneself as moved by and furthering this life. the issue concerns their place in the space of fame and infamy. We might think that the second kind of description is more "premodern". beyond re call. hav ing been a witness to big. in one's work for instance. or early stage of anything. or opening. that one's name be remembered. some of them also alive today. For those moved by one of the modern forms of the affirmation of ordinary life. a cosmic reality. or the march of human History. 'contact' is understood as a relation to God and may be understood in sacramental terms or in those of prayer or devotion.21 that is. The aspiration to fulness can be met by building something into one's life.. But whatever favoured description. or whatever. Francis left his companions and fa mily and the life of a rich and popular young man in Assisi.22 has itself taken a number of forms: the aspiration t o fame is to immortality in one form. overarching this distinction and maintaining the primacy of my spatial metaphor. important events in the world 44 . los es substance or Being. or 'how we are placed' in relation to the good. or it can be met by connecting one's life up with some greater reality or story. 1 am suggesting that we see all these diverse aspirations as forms of a craving . as Pericles says of the fall en heroes?3 Eternal life is another. be it incorporating something in one's life or connecting to som~thing greater outside. in which we pass as if we had never been. som e people get a sense of meaning in their lives · from having Been There. On what is perhaps a more trivial level. or harbinger. th at it tends to occur earlier in human history. and this is what gives meaning. and the unbearable threat is of being engulfed and degraded by the irresistible craving for lower things. like the Aztec. But it would be a mistake to think that this kind of formulation has disappeared even for unbelievers in our world. And the search for this kind of fuller being which is immortality. Or it can. i. whether it is just 'temps perdu' in the double sense intended in the title of Proust's celebra ted work. Thus within certain religious traditions. which would make life unbearable and non-existence seem preferable. but we recognize the similarity wi th other forms. there was even a notion that the whole world runs down. some committed leftists see themselves as part of the socialist Revolution. Cert ainly earlier formulations of the issue of this second axis invoke some larger r eality we should connect with: in some earlier religions. 1 use my images of 'contact' with the good. When St. and has to be periodically renewed in sacrificial contact with the gods. without stint. wholer. People for whom meaning is given to life by expression must see themselves as bringing their potential to expression. which go much further back in hum an history. or fuller Being. For those who espouse the honour ethic. in J ewish-Christian monotheism. as John Du nne has shown so vividly. The modern aspiration for meaning and substance in one's life has ob vious affinities with longer-standing aspirations to higher being. And so on.e. then perhaps in the shape of their lives themselves. or at least to avoid shame and dishonour. show business. The aspiration is to glory. of course. And in a sense this is true. as generic terms. "The whole world is their memorial". forever on people's lips. and one's family. he must have felt i n his own terms the insubstantiality of that life and have been looking for some thing fuller. the aspiration is to be able to order their live ~. to immortalit y.out purpose or sense. On a deeper level.

which is ineradicable from human life. It is in fact a fundamental drive. however near or distant we may be from the triumph of the right. At the other extreme. We find this kind of question clearly posed in the religious tradition. Over against the dedicated f ighter for a cause. But it is also true for other conceptions which are not at all polarized in this way. The believer in reason whose life is in order.)'. The insistent absolute question here is: Which side are you on? This permits 'of only two answers. these may be quite unaware of this aspiration as such. we have seen the drama repeated that the ones who often react this way turn out precisely to be the children whose growth the hous eholder so cherished. as in the grip of lo wer drives. This craving for being in contact with or being rightly placed in relation to th e good can be more or less satisfied in our lives as we acquire more fame. someone might see in the same everyday life which so enriches the householder only a narrow and smug satisfaction at a pitiable comfort. or the source of our motivations in regard to it. he might still be a long way from being 'sanctified': this latter was a continuous process. The yes/no question concerns not how near or far we are from what we see as the good. the householder (I am talking of course about someone with a c ertain moral ideal. with an immense pote ntial impact in our lives. he was 'justified'. My claim is that this isn't peculiar to Puritan Christianity. If called. The question was whether he was called or not . or in troduce more order in our lives. The householder's sense of the value of what 1 hav e been calling ordinary life is woven through the emotions and concerns of his e veryday existence. a peculiarly poignant one in our day. but that all frameworks permit of. But the issue also arises for us not just as a matter of more or less but as a q uestion of yes or no. indeed. Or they have a sense of impotence: 'I can't get it together. socialism and exploitation. not the census category) who senses . unto uched. Or alternatively. obviously sees this mastery as attained slowly an d step by step. 1 feel on the outside. or the suffering of the masses. We have to be rightly placed in relation to the good. 1 want to hold back. In recent decades. they feel themselves on the outside: 'I can't really throw m yself into this great cause/movement/religious life. or become more firmly settled in our families. which s ee history in terms of a struggle between good and evil. This may not be very obtrusive in our lives if things go well and i f by and large we are satisfied with where we are. This is just one example.the fulness and richnes s of his family life as his children grow up and his life is filled with their n urture and achievement. it is never complete and is always in . but 1 get so distressed. or the sweep o f history. 1 can't help lashing out'. But if justified. over against the master of himself. the mastery of reason as a kind of rational control over the emotions attained through the distance of sci entific scrutiny. even though they love me. m ay be impatient or contemptuous of those whose lives are made tempestuous and re stless by it. but 1 can't feel moved by it. I feel unworth y of it somehow'. of how this aspiration to connection can motivate some of the most bitter conflicts in human life. who sees. a road that he co uld be more or less advanced on. The Puri tan wondered whether he was saved. towards or away from it. obliv ious to the great issues of life. They see themselves. Or even a sense of being evil: 'I can't The Self in Moral Space' 45 somehow help hurting them badly. 1 know it's great. in a way. but rather the direction of our lives. progress and reaction. their lives disordered and soiled by their base attachments. It is what gives them their richness and depth. etc. The believer in disengaged objectification. This is obviously the case of those secular derivatives of Christianity. But this is only because the sense of value and meaning is well in tegrated into what they live. the kind of modern of whom Freud is a prototypical example and for whom he is often a model. Indeed. can't shake that habit (ho ld a regular job. there are people whose lives are torn apart by this cravin g. framing the context in which we ask the relative qu estions about how near or far we are from the good. place us before an abs olute question of this kind. And this is the form in which it most deeply affects and c hallenges us.

He has taken up the scientific attitude. These barriers helped set the directi on of their lives. he is deeply committed to building over time a web of relatio nships which gives fulness and meaning to human life. or · alternatively. Of course. to do with recogni tion as'well as with expression and the significant achievements for human welfa re that these jobs entailed). but where we're going. as we e xperience more and mature. however little mastery he may have actually achieved. That is wh y an absolute question always frames our relative ones. Since we cannot do witho ut an orientation to the good. they may come to feel one day that they just haven't got what it takes. This array of examples puts us on the track of why the absolute question not onl y can arise but inevitably does arise for us. i n the concerns of providing and caring for wife and children. someone who sees the fulfilment of life in some form of expressive act ivity may be far from this fulfilment. we need an orientation to the good. who sees the meaning of life in the rich joys of family love. the latter is a question of towards or away from. the issue of the direction of our lives must arise for us. but she may nevertheless see herself as s triving towards it and approaching it. and since we cannot be indifferent to our place r elative to this good. So the issue for us has to be not only where we are. The issue of The Self in Moral Space· 47 our condition can never be exhausted for us by what we are. Or again. Or their despair may spring from a sense that some external limitations stand in the way: that people of their cla ss. by external barriers which had nothing to do with their own authentic desires and attitudes. His direction is set. tha t against those who decry or condemn fami!y life or who look on it as a pusillan imous second best. in this case. as with disengaged objectification. that place is constantly challenged by the new events of our lives. even though she never fully encompasses w hat she projects for herself. The issue that recurs in different forms in the above cases is the one I put in terms of the direction of our live s. or sex. as with the householder. I have been a rguing that in order to make minimal sense of our lives. which means some sense of qualitative discrimination. But this is to state another basic condition of making sense of ourselves. And even then. or the outer limits of relevant possibilities for us. or poverty will never be allowed to develop themselves in t he relevant ways. And yet behind the more-or-Iess question of mastery achi eved lies an absolute question about basic orientation: the disengaged agent has taken a once-for-all stance in favour of objectification. but the objective limits of possibility which frame her life. The householder. as well as constantly under potential revision. Many women in our day have felt so excluded from careers. and hence the direction our live s were moving in or could move in.46 . that we g . and since this place is something that must always change and become. he has broken with re ligion. and though the first may be a matter of more or less. IDENTITY AND THE GOOD danger of being undone. in order to have an ide ntity. or our basic allegiance. Here we connect with another basic feature of human existence. because we are alway s also changing and becoming. or race. Because our lives move. superstition. People bent on an artistic career may feel they have it i n them to do something significant. the issue may concern not only her basic stance. an issue of yes or no. and not only her deep est motivation. and their relation to what they identified as crucial goods. resisted the blandishments of those pleasing and flatterin g world-views which hide the austere reality of the human condition in a disench anted universe. whic h they saw as deeply fulfilling (for a whole host of reasons. But he senses that his ultimate allegiance is there. It is only slowly that we grow through infancy and childhood to be autonomous agents who have something like our own place relativ e to the good at all. Here we connect up with another inescapable feature of human life. may feel that he i s far from appreciating these joys at their full or from giving himself to these concerns unstintingly. The direction of his lif e is set. of the incomparably higher. And this is a so urce of deep satisfaction and pride to him. It concerned our most fundamental motivation. Now we see that this sense of the g ood has to be woven into my understanding of my life as an unfolding story.

rasp our lives in a narrative. This has been much discussed recently, and very i nsightfully.24 It has often been remarked25 that making sense of one's life as a story is also, like orientation to the good, not an optional extra; that our li ves exist also in this space of questions, which only a coherent narrative can a nswer. In order to have a sense of who we are, we have to have a notion of how w e have become, and of where we are going. Heidegger, in Being and Time,26 described the inescapable temporal structure of being in the world: that from a sense of what we have become, among a range of p resent possibilities, we project our future being. This is the structure of any situated action, of course, however trivial. From my sense of being at the drugs tore, among the possible other destinations, I project to walk home. But it appl ies also to this crucial issue of my place relative to the good. From my sense o f where I am relative to it, and among the different possibilities, I project th e direction of my life in relation to it. My life always has this degree of narr ative understanding, that I understand my present action in the form of an 'and then': there was A (what I am), and then I do B (what I project to become). But narrative must playa bigger role than merely structuring my present. What I am has to be understood as what I have become. This is normally so even for such everyday matters as knowing where I am. I usually know this partly through my s ense of how I have come there. But it is inescapably so for the issue of where I am in moral space. I can't know ina flash that I have 48 . IDENTITY AND THE GOOD att~ined perfection, or am halfway there. Of course, there are experiences in wh Ich we are carried away in rapture and may believe ourselves spoken to by angels ; or less exaltedly, in which we sense for a minute the incredible fulness' and intense meaning of life; or in which we feel a great surge of power and ~astery over the difficulties that usually drag us down. But there is always an ~ss,ue o f wh~t to make of these instants, how much illusion or mere 'tripping' IS 1Ovolv ed 10 them, how genuinely they reflect real growth or goodness. We can only answ er this kind of question by seeing how they fit into our surrounding life, that is, what part they play in a narrative of this life. We have to move forward and back to make a real assessment. To the extent that we move back, we determine what we are by what we have become ~ by the ~to~ of how we got there. Orientation in moral space turns out agam to be SImIlar to orientation in physical space. We know where we are through a mixt ure of recognition of landmarks before us and a sense of how we have travelled t o get here, as I indicated above. If I leave the local drugstore, ~nd turn the c orner to find the Taj Mahal staring me in the face, I am ~ore hk~ly to conclude that the movie industry is once again earning its ~ax WrIte-offs 10 Montreal tha n to believe myself suddenly by the Jumna. This IS analogous to my distrust of s udden rapture. Part of my sense of its genuineness will turn on how I got there. And our entire understanding beforehand of states of greater perfection, howeve r defined, is strongly shaped by our ~triving to attain them. We come to underst and in part what really characterIzes the moral states we seek through the very effort of trying and at first failing, to achieve them. ' Of cour,se, the im~ediate experience co uld be strong and convincing enough on ItS own. I~ It really were all there, Taj , Jumna, the city of Agra, bullocks, sky, everyth1Og, I would have to accept my new location however , , mysterIous my translation. Something analogous may exist spiritually. But even h ere, your past striving and moral experience would alone enable you to understan d ~nd id~nti~ this rapturous state. You would recognize it only through hav10g s tnven 10 a certain direction, and that means again that you know what you are th rough what you have become. Th~s, making, sense of my present action, when we are not dealing with such trIV Ial questIons as where I shall go in the next five minutes but with the issu~ of

my place relative to the good, requires a narrative understanding of my hfe, ,a sense ~fwhat I have become which can only be given in a story. And as I proJec~ my hfe forward and endorse the existing direction or give it a new one, I proje ct a future story, not just a state of the momentary future but a bent for my wh ole life to come. This sense of my life as having a direction towards what I am not yet is what Alasdair MacIntyre captures in his notion quoted above that life is seen as a 'quest'.27 The Self in Moral Space' 49 This of course connects with an important philosophical issue about the unity of a life, which has once more been brought to the fore by Derek Parfit's interest ing book, Reasons and Persons.28 Parfit defends some version of the view that a human life is not an a priori unity or that personal identity doesn't have to be defined in terms of a whole life. It is perfectly defensible for me to consider (what I would conventionally call) my earlier, say, preadolescent self as anothe r person and, similarly, to consider what "I" (as we normally put it) shall be s everal decades in the future as still another person. This whole position draws on the Lockean (further developed in the Humean) under standing of personal identity. Parfit's arguments draw on examples which are of a kind inaugurated by Locke, where because of the unusual and perplexing relatio n of mind to body our usual intuitions about the unity of a person are disturbed .29 From my point of view, this whole conception suffers from a fatal flaw. Pers onal identity is the identity of the self, and the self is understood as an obje ct to be known. It is not on all fours with other objects, true. For Locke it ha s this peculiarity that it essentially appears to itself. Its being is inseparab le from self-awareness;3o Personal identity is then a matter of self-consciousne ss.31 But it is not at all what I have been calling the self, something which ca n exist only in a space of moral issues. Self-perception is the crucial defining characteristic of the person for Locke.32 It is the vestigial element correspon ding to the four features which distinguish the self from an ordinary object tha t I outlined in section 2.2. All that remains of the insight that the self is cr ucially an object of significance to itself is this requirement of self-consciou sness. But what has been left out is precisely the mattering. The self is define d in neutral terms, outside of any essential framework of questions. In fact, of course, Locke recognizes that we are not indifferent to ourselves; but he has n o inkling of the self as a being which essentially is constituted by a certain m ode of self-concern-in contrast to the concern we cannot but have about the qual ity of our experiences as pleasurable or painful. We shall see in Part II how th is neutral and "bleached" sense of the person corresponds to Locke's aspiration to a disengaged subject of rational control. We have here a paradigm example of what I discussed in the previous section: how the assertion of the modern indivi dual has spawned an erroneous understanding of the self. This is what I want to call the 'punctual' or 'neutra1' self-'punctual' because the self is defined in abstraction from any constitutive concerns and hence from any identity in the sense in which I have been using the term in the previous s ection. Its only constitutive property is self-awareness. This is the self that Hume set out to find and, predictably, failed to find. And it is basically the s ame notion of the self that Parfit is working with, one whose IDENTITY AND THE GOOD 50 "identity over time just involves ... psychological connectedn~ss and/or psychol ogical continuity, with the right kind of cause".33 If we think of the self as neutral, then it does perhaps make sense to hold that it is an ultimately arbitrary question how we count selves. Our picking out of enumerable objects in the world can be thought to depend ~ltimately on the inter ests and concerns we bring to them. My car to me is a single thing. To a skilled garage mechanic, it may be an assemblage of discrete functioning units. There i s no sense to the question what it "really" is, an sich, as it were. But if my position here is right, then we can't think of human persons, of selve s in the sense that we are selves, in this light at all. They are-not neutral, p unctual objects; they exist only in a certain space of questions, through certai n constitutive concerns. The questions or concerns touch on the nature of the go

od that I orient myself by and on the way I am placed in relation to it. But the n what counts as a unit will be defined by the scope of the concern, by just wha t is in question. And what is in question is, generally and characteristically, the shape of my life as a whole. It is not something up for arbitrary determination. We can see this in two dimensions, the past and future "ekstaseis" that . 34 '--' Heldegger talks about. I don't have a sense of where/what I am, as I argued abov e, without some understanding of how I have got there or become so. My sense of myself is of a being who is growing and becoming. In the very nature of things t his cannot be instantaneous. It is not only that I need time and many incidents to sort out what is relatively fixed and stable in my character, temperament, an d desires from what is variable and changing, though that is true. It is also th at as a being who grows and becomes I can only know myself through the history o f my maturations and regressions, overcomings and defeats. My self-understanding necessarily has temporal depth and incorporates narrative. But does that mean that I have to consider my whole past life as that of a single person? Isn't there room for decision here? After all, even what happened before I was born might on one reading be seen as part of the process of my becoming. Isn't birth itself an arbitrary point? There is perhaps an easy answer to this last question. There clearly is a kind of con tinuity running through my lifetime that doesn't extend before it. But the objec tor seems to have some point here: don't we often want to speak of what we were as children or adolescents in terms like this: 'I was a different person then'? But it is clear that this image doesn't have the import of a real counter-exampl e to the thesis I'm defending. And this becomes obvious when we look at another aspect of our essential concern here. We want our lives to have meaning, or weig ht, or substance, or to grow towards some fulness, or however the concern is for mulated that we have been discussing in this section. But this means our whole l ives. If necessary, we want the future to The Self in Moral Space . 5 I "redeem" the past, to make it part of a life story which has sense or purpose, t o take it up in a meaningful unity.35 A famous, perhaps for us moderns a paradig m, example of what this can mean is recounted by Proust in his A la recherche du temps perdu. In the scene in the Guermantes's library, the narrator recovers th e full meaning of his past and thus restores the time which was "lost" in the tw o senses I mentioned above. The formerly irretrievable past is recovered in its unity with the life yet to live, and all the "wasted" time now has a meaning, as the time of preparation for the work of the writer who will give shape to this unity.36 To repudiate my childhood as unredeemable in this sense is to accept a kind of m utilation as a person; it is to fail to meet the full challenge involved in maki ng sense of my life. This is the sense in which it is not up for arbitrary deter mination what the temporal limits of my personhood are.37 If we look towards the future, the case is even clearer. On the basis of what I am I project my future. On what basis could I consider that only, say, the ne:xt ten years were "my" future, and that myoid age would be that of another person? Here too we note that a future project will often go beyond my death. I plan th e future for my family, my country, my cause. But there is a different sense in which I am responsible for myself (at least in our culture). How could I justify considering myself in my sixties, say, as another person for this purpose? And how would his life get its meaning? It seems clear from all this that there is something like an a priori unity of a human life through its whole extent. Not quite, because one can imagine culture s in which it might be split. Perhaps at some age, say forty, people go through a horrendous ritual passage, in which they go into ecstasy and then emerge as, s ay, the reincarnated ancestor. That is how they describe things and live them. I n that culture there is a sense to treating this whole life cycle as containing two persons. But in the absence of such a cultural understanding, e.g., in our wo rld, the supposition that I could be two temporally succeeding selves is either

But in another version. The simple answer would be: qualitative distinctions give the reasons f01 our mo ral and ethical beliefs. but it is dangerously misleading-unl ess we first clarify what it is to offer reasons for moral views. and that this means that we understand ourselves ine scapably in narrative. situations. I see these conditions as connected facets of the same reality. 3 ETHICS OF INARTICULACY 3. This is not wrong. therefore we cannot be wit hout an orientation to it. qualities-in a purely de scriptive language. Goods or 'values' were understood as projections2 of ours onto a world which in itself was neutral-which is why our seeing the world in "value" terms was consid ered ultimately optional in the view I contested in section 2. after all. and thus determine our place relative to it and hence determine 52 IDENTITY AND THE GOOD the direction of our lives. This projection could be seen in two ways. We could ideally pick out the same entities-actions. idea overdramatized image. My underlying thesis is that there is a close connection between the different c onditions of identity. as a 'quest'.1 In the previous chapter I tried to show the crucial place of qualitativt distinc tions in defining our identity and making sense of our lives in narrative. and this means that we could dev ise new value vocabularies. But one could perhaps start from another point: because we have to determine our place in relation to the good. or of one's life making sense. following Williams. Here I hav e been arguing that the issue of how we are placed in relation to this good is o f crucial and inescapable concern for us. or versions of the Humean 'is/ought' distinction. that I have been discussin g. what the greal controversies have been about . inesc apable structural requirements of human agency. the projection could be seen as something deeply 53 *****END OF SECTION 2 . It could be something we did or.3. Discriminating these two kinds of meaning allows us to be maximally reflective and rational about our value commitments. and hence must see our life in story. we employ to answel questions about how we should live? This is. One could put it this way: because we cannot but orient ourselves to the good . we must inescapably understand our lives in narrativ e form. void of prescriptive force. that we cannot but strive to give our lives meaning or substance. and that we achieve selfhood among other selves. In the previous section we saw that our being selves is essentially linked to ou r sense of the good. or quite false. These views were of c ourse underpinned by the prejudices of modern naturalism and subjectivism (ironi c as that might appear for adversaries of a "fallacy" misnamed 'naturalistic'). But w hat is their plac:e in moral thought and judgement? How do they relatt to the wh ole range of the ethical. It runs against the structural features of a self as a being who exists in a space of 38 concerns. in which prescriptive force was connected with descr iptions hitherto left unmarked.l fOI the undiv ided category of considerations which . to adopt this term. From whichever direction. something we could bring under voluntary control. But this whole complex of issues has been almost irremediably muddled and confus ed by the widespread acceptance of arguments against the supposed "naturalistic fallacy". This kind of view underla y Hare's prescriptivism:3 the logic of our value terms is such that we can separ ate out a descriptive level to their meaning from an evaluative force.

On either version. even though our scienti fic consciousness shows that value is not part of the furniture of things. we cannot grasp what would hold all their instances together as a clas s if we prescind from their evaluative point. and for the second version. But as has often been argued. in the second.3. to adopt this term. would be a "colo uration" which the neutral universe inescapably had for us. In the first case.1 In the previous chapter I tried to show the crucial place of qualitative distinc tions in defining our identity and making sense of our lives in narrative. Discriminating these two kinds of meaning allow s us to be maximally reflective and rational about our value commitments. the entire "descriptive" part. and this means that we could de vise new value vocabularies. they of fer the normal causally necessary and sufficient conditions for our wanting to u se the value term. The simple answer would be: qualitative distinctions give the reasons for our mo ral and ethical beliefs.4 Values would have a status analogous to the one that post-seventeenth-century science has given to secondary properties . With terms like 'courage' or 'brutality' or 'gr atitude'. the projection could be seen as something deeply 53 54 . what the great controversies have been about. it will be possible to offer non-evaluative descriptions whic h are extensionally equivalent to each of our value terms. Someone who had no sense of this p oint wouldn't know how to "go on" from a range of sample cases to new ones? This means. they define part of what we mean by the value term. following Williams. But this whole complex of issues has been almost irremediably muddled and confus ed by the widespread acceptance of arguments against the supposed "naturalistic fallacy". This kind of view underl ay Hare's prescriptivism:3 the logic of our value terms is such that we can sepa rate out a descriptive level to their meaning from an evaluative force. It could be something we did or. This projection could be seen in two ways. on this involuntary projection view. Goods or 'values' were understood as projections2 of ours onto a world which in itself was neutral-which is why our seeing the world in "value" terms was consid ered ultimately optional in the view I contested in section 2. Ac. Values. void of prescriptive force.ETHICS OF INARTICULACY 3. something we 'could bring under voluntary control. like colour:5 we know that without sighted agents like ourselves there would b e nothing in the universe like what we now identify as colour. Socio biologists tend to talk in these terms.cording to the fir st version. that the "descriptive" meaning cannot be separated from the "evaluative". But in another version.6 these descriptive equivalents turn out to be unavailable for a wh ole host of our key value terms. idea lly. these will encapsulate the "descriptive meaning" of these terms. in which prescriptive force was connected with desc riptions hitherto left unmarked. it shows . a way we can't help experiencing the world. or versions of the Humean 'is/ought' distinction. But w hat is their plaGe in moral thought and judgement? How do they relate to the who le range of the ethical. This is not wrong. but it is dangerously misleading-unl ess we first clarify what it is to offer reasons for moral views. IDENTITY AND THE GOOD involuntary. We could ideally pick out the same entities-actions. 1 for the undiv ided category of considerations which we employ to answer questions about how we should live? This is. although there wo uld be the properties of surfaces of objects which determine the wavelengths of the light they reflect and which are now correlated with our colour perceptions in a law-like way. they will give us the underlying reality which triggers off our "coloured" experience of value. most recently brilliantly and economically by Bern ard Williams. on the second version. as far as the first version is concerned. qualities-in a purely d escriptive language. These views were of c ourse underpinned by the prejudices of modern naturalism and subjectivism (ironi c as that might appear for adversaries of a "fallacy" misnamed 'naturalistic'). after all. situations.

solidarity. or lying to enemies. 'assault' . w e find them maximally easy to understand across cultural gaps.· much less serious rules which have an analogous background which many people do accept wit hout any sense that their infringement would be a violation. These are a subset of the minimal rules of politeness. just one set of considerations may suffice-at least to give one a functional approximation of its sense. including some of the most Ethics of Inarticulacy . those shown by a great performer. in other words. are sh aped in part by the functional requirements of any human society. Thus one could argue that a great many of our socially defined obligations. 55 serious ones. the common purposes . Some features of the rules of any society are of this kind. There are virtue terms like 'kindness' or 'generosity' which def ine the qualities they do partly against the background of the social interchang e characteristic of a given society and partly in the light of a certain underst anding of personal dedication.. 'murder'. one needs t o get a sense. Everybody understands this as part of the point of t hese rules. absolute equality withou t regard to rank or sex. and the aspiration to truth which these infringements violatenotions of the range that I discussed in section I. I. injury. And second. First. where the norms of social interchange are prof oundly marked by the aspiration to certain goods: e. and hence as part of the background by which we understand the terms --e.) I can see quite well how it he lps things along to say 'please' and 'sorry' in the right places-and I know how to throw in functional equivalents where I can't say these words--even though I set no great value on the whole practice. where the understanding of social interaction is close to irrelevant. and the like. of their perceptions of the good.8 But what is involved in seeing the evaluative point of a given term? What kind o f understanding do you need to grasp it? There seem to be two orders of consider ations. one needs to grasp what I have been cal ling the qualitative discriminations that the people concerned make. 'honesty'.g. To the extent that some of our moral rules have this kind of background. w ith the minimum of trust and solidarity it demands. The excelle nces of aesthetic sensibility. (I say 'a subset'. Social life. how things can go well or badly between people in the society where this term is current. In contrast. say. bu t where everything depends on grasping a certain vision of the good. autonomy of individuals. lying. o ne needs an understanding of the kind of social interchange. which is p recisely why they are often opaque to outsiders. are of thi s kind. T hese are the aspects that are hardest to understand for outsiders~ But once we have made clear the conditions of intelligibility of our value terms . even admire those brave enough to flou t it.g. like those governing our behaviour in a socialist commune. which are made to these exclusions in di fferent societies. even to feel the obligation to f ollow them. Only against this background can we understand why the question 56 . which interlock in most cases to form the background of a term.up the ineptitude of the whole parallel to secondary properties. Most people in our society also see these restrictions as justified by a percept ion of the good. such as capital punishm ent for criminals. couldn't consist with unrest ricted violence and deceit. For some terms. can be a moral issue here. or mutual needs. They have some notion of the sanctity or dignity of human life. This backgro und helps to explain and justify the apparent exceptions. bodily integrity. or vice versa.. because some of the rules of etiquette of any society are tied up with its notions of dignity. There are social rules. like those forbidding killing. As are perhaps those definitive of a Nietzschean superman. IDENTITY AND THE GOOD whether A takes out the garbage and B washes the dishes. indeed.-in which they are couched. without any such intuition of the good. There are. even when another people's notions of the good might be utterly strange to us. But the great mass of our terms seem to require that we bring to bear both kinds of background. there are virtue terms which apply to features of our lives as indi viduals. But it would be possible to understand many of the rules of our society.

then can one not say after all that good and right are merely relative. as has been demonstrated time and again. it tries to assimilate our moral reactions to visceral ones. Platonism and the natural science model are thus objectively allied in creating a false picture of the issue of moral goods. and non-relative as any other part of the natural world. For our language of deliberation is co ntinuous with our language of assessment.. It is e asy to see their fundamental role in science as the guarantee of their ontologic al status as real and objective standards of good. what would be the significance of this if the terms prove ineradicable in first-person. For Plato. the temptation is strong to conclude t hat they have lost all claim to objective ontological status as well. But even if their third-person explana tions were more plausible than they are. and this with the language in which we explain what people do and feel. We have to free ourselves of both a nd examine the question again. So when they lose this role. But if. in his way. The second rep resents our notions of the good as opinions on an issue which is ultimately opti onal. What needs to be said can perhaps Ethics of Inarticulacy .12 or the various virtue terms mentioned before which resist splitting into "factua l" and "evaluative" components of meaning. objective. how to behave. What does this prove if I can't do without it as a term in my deliberations about what to do.. feeling. but in some f orm our projection. our language of good and right makes sense only ag ainst a background understanding of the forms of social interchange in a given s ociety and its perceptions of the good. Proponents of a reductive theory may congratulate themselves on explanations which do without these or those terms current in ordinary life. how to treat people. what Williams h as called the "absolute" conception. the ultimate concepts of ethics and those fu ndamental to explanation in the sciences were the same. as they do in the modern age irrevocably. most realistic orientation a bout the good but also allowing us best to understand and make sense of the acti ons and feelings of ourselves and others. viz. But the ascendancy of these models is one of the great sources of illusion a nd error in these sciences. What are the requirements of 'making sense' of our lives? T hese requirements are not yet met if we have some theoretical language which pur ports to explain behaviour from the observer's standpoint but is of no use to th e agent in making sense of his own thinking. and so I want to pause to examine it a bit more closely. And to the extent that our natural science since the seventeenth century has been developing on the basis of a conception of the world which is maximally freed from anthropocentric conceptions. as we have just seen. there still seems to be room for a more sophisticated version of the is/ought or fact/value distinction.. however. Up to now. 57 best be put in a rhetorical question: What better measure of reality do we have in human affairs than those terms which on critical reflection and after correct ion of the errors we can detect make the best sense of our lives? 'Making the be st sense' here includes not only offering the best. it is an unjustified leap to say that they therefore are not as real. and I tried to refute this in my discussion of the conditions of identity in 2. the Ideas. non-explanatory uses? Suppose I can convince myself that I can explain people's behaviour as an observer withou t using a term like 'dignity'.g. and acting. premodern notions of science have also contributed to this over-hast y inference. The third is the thesis that value terms have descriptive equivalents. we have encountered three attempts to form ulate some view to the effect that values are not part of reality.lO In a sens e. The first was discussed in section I. e. not anchored in the real? To say this would be t o fall into an important confusion.9 we can say that good and right are not par t of the world as studied by natural science.11 This is an important point for my purposes. .I. But from there. 'freedom' and 'dignity'. Certainly what emerges from this is that goo d and right are not properties of the universe considered without any relation t o human beings and their lives. The te mptation to make this leap comes partly from the great hold of natural science m odels on our entire enterprise of self-understanding in the sciences of human li fe.1. a nd we have just seen in this section how erroneous this is.

and so forth which purport to be more perceptive. We can see excellent reasons why my perception of the horizon at sunset ought to be sidelined in face of the evidence of. 15 the t erms in which they cannot avoid living them cannot be removed from the explanand um. Indeed. in the meaning of m y statement above.g.. s atellite observations. I may feel (and we frequently do) that I was less capable of doing in the past. with whom I feel affinity. in that I can not do without them in assessing possible courses of actions. How can we ever know that humans can be explained by any scientific theory until we actually explain how they live their lives in its terms? This establishes what it means to 'make sense' of our lives. The best account in the above sense is trumps. What is preposterous is the suggestion that we ought to disregard altogether the terms that can figure in the non-explanatory contexts of living for the purpose s of our explanatory theory. t o focus the issue properly-as. or in judging the people or situations around me. before I acquired this term. or 'courage'. and the attempts to distinguish 'value' from 'fact'. dislikes. and these figure again for the most part in our account of why they do what they do. They are to be taken no more seriously for e xplanatory purposes than the visual experience of the sun going down behind the horizon is in cosmology. In fact we find ourselves inescapably using terms whose logic cannot be unders . It seems to me that the various theories of moral judgements as projections. unless and until we can replace th em with more clairvoyant substitutes. As I said above. But these are also te rms in which the individuals can live their lives. This begs the questions about whom I admire. We cannot just leap outside of these terms altogether. are to be relegat ed to the realm of mere appearance. which declare "phenomenology" irrelevant on principle. and no epistemological o r metaphysical considerations of a more general kind about science or nature can justify setting this aside. The result of this search for clairvoyance yields the best account we can give at any given time. most insightful statement of the issues before me . that the terms of everyday life. or in determining how I really feel about some p erson's actions or way of being. say. because we do sometimes offer accounts of what people are about in their likes. on the grounds th at their logic doesn't fit some model of "science" and that we know a priori tha t human beings must be explicable in this "science". The terms we select have to make sense across the whole range of both explanatory and life uses. fall afoul of this BA principle . shorn of certain delusions o r limitations of vision that affect the people themselves. unless we can propose other terms in which they could live them more clairvo yantly. deliberations . This is the more untenable in that the languages of the two kinds of contexts overlap and interpenetrate. The terms indispensable for the latter are p art of the story that makes best sense of us. in Donald Davidson's a pt expression. those in which we go about living our lives. viz. my delibera tions about what to do? I mean that this term is indispensable to (what now appe ars to me to be) the clearest. Now 'dignity '. I wouldn't be able to deliberate as effectively. 14 What we need to explain is people living their lives. Let me call this the BA principle. indeed. They are "changing the subject". Theories like behaviourism or certain strands of contemporary computerstruck cogn itive psychology. we frequently offer t hem to the people concerned as an improvement on their own self-understandings. are bas ed on a crucial mistake.13 But 58 . e.. or 'brutality' may be indispensable terms for me. My point is that this kind of indispensability of a term in a nonexplanatory cont ext of life can't just be declared irrelevant to the project to do without that term in an explanatory reduction. But what ought to trump the language in which I actually live my life? This is not (quite) a rhetorical question. If I were denied this term. the term s we use to decide what is best are very much the same as those we use to judge others' actions. and the like? But what does it mean 'not to be able' to do without a term in. IDENTITY AND THE GOOD this assimilation is untenable. The widespread assumption that it can comes fro m a premiss buried deep in the naturalist way of thinking.

what won't go away just because i t doesn't fit with your prejudices. what other considerations can overrule this verdict? Ethics of Inarticulacy· 59 Of course. They themsel ves are committed to some morality. This reality is. which he defines as "the enterprise of showing how much of the apparently 'realist' appea rance of ordinary moral thought is explicable and justifiable on an anti-realist picture".18 But here they impale themselves on the other horn of a dilemma.. The . Just as physica l science is no longer anthropocentric. to which I add a third for good measure. It comes in t he confused sense that espousing the projection view ought to have a devastating effect on first-order morality. and this is a quite different ma tter from that which physical science claims to reveal and explain. You cannot help having recourse to these strongly valued goods for the purpo ses of life: deliberating. dependent on us. The force of this argument is obscurely felt even by non-realists. that what they count wi th as they live-goods and the demands they make-is flatly incompatible with a pr ojection view. where values are seen as metaphysically "queer". say. to adopt a basically non-realist position about the strongly v alued goods I have been discussing-all the way from the cruder 'error theory' of Mackie. deciding how you feel about peopl e. of course. or as near to reality as you can get a grasp of at pr esent. This is the point of Blackburn's 'quasirealism'.tood in terms of this kind of radical distinction. or your incapacity to contain your ir ritation at Uncle George sucking his dentures. By this token. of humans as objects of science. and the like. a projectivist would have to reject morality altogether. and is difficu lt to class). Even Mackie doesn't follow through on his error theory and propose that we stop moralizing or do so quite different ly. the terms of our best account will never figure in a physical theory of the universe. It couldn't conceivably b e the basis of an objection to its reality. If we live our lives like thi s. This is the complement to the anti-A ristotelian purge of natural science in the seventeenth century. or as part of a disen chanted universe. To go along with this sense. as a domain of strong evaluation. judging situations. This is the sense that everyone has 60· IDENTITY AND THE GOOD before they are got to by philosophical rationalization. Your general metaphysical picture of "values" and their place in "reality " ought to be based on what you find real in this way. But once granted that we eXist. But most non-realists are reluctant to take this route. The 'cannot help' here is not like the inability to stop blinki ng when someone waves a fist in your face. what you can't help having re course to in life is real. So they try instead to show how a non-realist theory is compatible with our ordi nary moral experience. in the sense t~at ~ condition for its existence is our existence. Our value terms purport to give us insight into what it is to live in the universe as a human being. It means rather that you need these terms to make the best sense of what yo u're doing. What is real is what you have to deal with.16 to the more refined view of Williams (who is not a non-realist in the ordinary sense. coming to see what you were really about all these years. I . even though you know it's irratio nal. By the same token these terms are indispensable to the kind of expla nation and understanding of self and others that is interWoven with these life u ses: assessing his conduct. Perhaps it would clarify the application of this argument to the main theme of t his section if I formulated a terse polemical attack on the position I am contes ting.e. But that just means that our human reality cannot be understood in the terms appropriate for this physics. 2. It is addressed to all those who are influenced by a naturalist-inspired m etaphysical picture.17 The attack falls into two phases. etc. as this is usually understood. that one couldn't operate this way. i. and they also have some distant sense of my point I. so human science can no longer be couche d in the terms of physics. or pe rhaps to heap insult on injury. grasping her motivation. it is no more a subjective pr ojection than what physics deals with. through Simon Blackburn's 'quasi-realism'.

In fact. and an overall judgement may be hard to make. That these are not combinable with our own home-grown goods-for-ev eryone may indeed be tragic bu~ is no differen~ in principle from any of the oth er dilemmas we may be m through facmg incombinable goods. But once this is said. then there are no good gr ounds to believe it at all. so we might be forced to recognize that certain goods are o nly such granted the existence of humans within a certain cultural form. generating incomprehension of one's past-something that could in principle onl y come about through intimidation and brainwashing. Although for obvious reasons they are beyond being able to choose again for themselves. and this in turn can contribute to the projectivist c onviction. Bu t perhaps there is no way. understand and recognize the goods of another society as goods-for-everyone (and hence 'fo r ourselves). and adopt these rules as the content of one's moral theory. T he trick is then to forget or fudge the fact that non-realism undermines moralit y. by making the determinants of this issue of the status o f the good lie elsewhere. has go~e along with an irretrievable loss in our attunem ent to our natural surroundmgs and our sense of community. But this last predicament is no real relativization. and show in particular cases how a projective view made more sense of them. they also tend to argue for a more sociobiological (as in some respects. There may be different kinds of human realization w hich are really incommensurable. They represent different ways of being human. impali ng themselves moderately on both horns. even within our own wa y of life. I think this is a real possib ility. For some people. most non-realists adopt an incoherent mixture of both routes. There is no gu. and just as Ethics of Inarticulacy· 61 we recognize in general that the existence of certain goods is dependent on the existence of humans.3). But this.19 3. of arbitrating between them when they cla sh. m pnnciple. there can be strong (if un admitted) moral reasons for adopt ing an ethic of this kind. but there may be some of both. these moderns may genuinely. This would mean that there would be no way of m oving from one of these to the other and presenting the transition without selfdelusion as either a gain or a loss in anything. As we shall see l ater (section 3. we might say. there is another very poignant sense in which we may be unable to cho ose between cultures. if he were to convince us. Of course. unlike t?e p~ev~ous situati on of incommensurability. even if in b oth cases by a set of invalid inferences. and certamly not in all situations.. Not that even this follows strictly. the motivation runs in both directions. but I doubt if it is true. For it presupposes that we can. this time a species of relativism? Human societies differ greatly in their cu lture and values. But we have seen how the logic of our moral language resists this kind of splitting. Unlike the other attempts to relativize the good that I discussed above. If non-realism can't be supported by moral experience. these rules are obviously a "good thing". But one can still justify some rules a s more conducive to survival and general happiness. I think this is a real possibility. . Hence in some sense. they think. While insisting on their compatibilist t hesis. which we can assume are wide ly sought ends.y make non-realism compatible with moral experience by making this experience so mehow irrelevant to it. for there really ought to be no place for what we understand as moral obligation at all. Perhaps they are quite incommensurable. Some moderns see our p~edicament in relation to earlier societi es somewhat in this way. But that runs against my point 2. is not the door still open to another kind of subjectivis m. Mackie) or consequentialist (Blackburn)20 cast of first-order moral theory. It would just be a total switch .arantee that universally valid goods should be perfect ly combinable. The non-realist would have to get down to the detail of the moral life. They have lIttle doubt that we have a better science. in the end. We may indeed be able to understand the transition in term s of gain and loss. belie~e that their lot is no better than their forebears'-as may emerge m then reluctance to induct still premodern societies into our civilizat ion . t hat we have explored more fully the human potential for self-determining freedom .

They may find themselves accused of half-heartedness by other more single-minded adherents to the same go od: Why do they not spend more time in prayer? Or why do they not dedicate their whole lives to the struggle for ju~tice in society? But nevertheless as far as they themselves are concerned. For those with a strong commitment to such a good.Even our understanding of the transition from a previous society in terms of gai ns and losses has analogues in our reflection .2 There is one great oversimplification in the discussion of the previ?us sections that I'd now like to lift. provided we affor~ the same status to those of other societies we are trying to understand. and in some cases. or fame. Until we meet this limit. thls rankmg makes one of them of supreme impo rtance relative to the others. of family life. W . there is no reason not to think of the goods we are tr ying to define and criticize as universal. The~e . Th~y recognize the value of self-expression. or all their. The type descriptions above rang a be ll. ranging from a sense of thelr own hmits to the rec~gmtlon that the other g oods are valuable also. of considerat ions. which restrain them from thls. This model is superior partly in respect of the critical self-awareness it entails. and therefore my direction to this good is of unique importance to me. It is orientation to this which comes closest to defining my id Wlt~ many goods but find that we hav e to rank them. or perhaps justice-as of overriding importance. But in fact a great many of us mode rns are ~oved by all these goods and more. Commensurability seems to have been attained. and a host of others. what it means is that this ab ove all others provides the landmarks for what they judge to be the direction of their lives. if they did. This is not to say that they give it unflinching prior ity in their deliberations and decisio?s. of dif ferent types: people who believe in rational mastery. so that they judge t hemselves and others by the degree they attain the goods concerned and admire or look down on people in function of this. of sensi tivity. our mode of assessment across cultures is not so different from our way of 62 . thls good has an incomparable place in their live s. Most of us not only h. Thls does not mean of cou rse that all our. 63 distinctions. because they evoke people who ta~e ~he particular goods in ques tion not as the only orienting framework o~ thel~ lIves but as the most importan t and serious one. Thus we t end to believe that our culture has gamed relative to its preseventeenth-century predecessor in having a superior model of science. of justice. supposed goods will turn out at the end of the d ay to be defensible as such.t o certain ideas and practices in our own culture. In these kinds of cases.within ou: own ~ulture. 3. for mstance. previous theories do not stand up. or a rich conception of fa mily life or expressive fulfilment. But we take the same critical stance. IDENTITY AND THE GOOD arbitrating within our culture. We have a sense of gain throug h critical examination when we overcome some of the confusions which are the pro duct of our own culture. nevertheless the one highest good has a special place. t~at we ca~n~t definitively weigh up. Each of the goods I ~m talking about here is defi ned in a qualitative contrast. just that we don't start with a preshrunk moral uni verse in which we take as given that their goods have nothing to say to us or pe rhaps ours to them. It may be tha~ ~ur contact wit h certain cultures will force us to recognize incommensurabllIty. of the worshlp of God of ordinary decency. It is a question of fact how far it can be extended. I spoke in the previous chapter. In the light of this crit icism. as against sim ply a balance of goods-and bads-for-everyone. But we certainly shouldn't assume thls lS so a pnon. but some people hve according to a higher-order c ontrast between such goods as well. but they conside~ one of these-perhaps their relat ion to God. while all of these involve strong evaluation. While they recognize a whole range of qualitative Ethics of Inarticulacy .may be all sor~s.

On Kant's theor y. But then it would appear that we all recognize some such. And the 'moral' is often defined as what has overr iding force. however much the y may admit of lesser or greater attainment. of fulness of being as a person o r self. and he gives these a supenor status to Issues concerning the best or most satisfactory life.. allow for a yes/no question concern ing the direction of my life in relation to them. or determine when and if to follo w them. or can never approach it. Symmetrically. there is a qualitative discontinuity between this one good and the others. and this in turn by universaliza bility or by our being members of a kingdom of ends. i. that nothing else can. ~ut this leaves open how we are actually going to square off different competmg ends in t he changing situations of life. A higher-order qualitative distinctio n itself segments goods which themselves are defined in lower-order distinctions . Thus I may see expre ssive fulfilment as incomparably more worthwhile than the ordinary things we all desire in life. on the basis of which we discriminate among other goods.e. must inco rporate some notion of the relative importanc~ of ~oods. in an even more striking fashion than they are seen as incomparably more valuable than a life which lacks them. 25 I will take up this issue of th . which a~e the domain of a discourse ethic. t he 'moral' encompasses a domain significantly n~r. an end of generally lower rank may have exceptional urgency. decided about. or whether it can ever be justified. would be devastating and insufferable. is a big issue of ethical theory. who also wanted to challenge "moral ity". That is. 10 an attempt to challenge thi s special status. Ther e has been a common tendency in modern philosophy to define morality by a kind o f segregation. that whi. Even those of us who are not committed in so single-minded a way recognize highe r goods. A~istot~e's. the greate st of all comprehensive theories in the traditIOn. Of course there will always be ran king of goods.than what ancient philos ophers defined as the 'ethical'. It th reatens to plunge me into a despair at my unworthiness which strikes at the very roots of my being as a person.rower. but I see the love of God or the search for justice as itself i ncommensurably higher than this fulfilment. that this status is ju st what defines the 'moral' in our culture: a set of ends or demands which not o nly have unique importance. attri bute differential worth or importance to them. goods wh ich not only are incomparably more important than others but provide the standpo int from which these must be weighed. and in many others. For people who understand their lives this way . IDENTITY AND THE GOOD Habermas in our day identifies a set of issues which have to do with universal j ustice and hence with the universal acceptability of no~ms.23 And Hegel. Bernard Wilhams. considerations of happiness should be silent when we find ourselves addressed by a categorical theories insulate t heir higher goods from figuring in the same dehberattve process. case 10 pomt. se~regati. against the merely 'prudential'. we acknowledge second-order qualitative distinctions which def ine higher goods. if I am strongly committed to a highest good in this sense I find the corresponding yes/no question utterly de cisive for what I am as a person. Kant defines th e moral in terms of the categorical imperative. but also override and allow us to judge others. By contrast. had his own account of the difference. The most comprehensive ethical theory. Just because my orientation t o it is essential to my identity.hereas I naturally want to be well placed in relation to all and any of the good s I recognize and to be moving towards rather than away from them. the assurance that I am turned to wards this good gives me a sense of wholeness. it is incomparably above them.22 In both these cases.21 64 .ch most es~hews t he hiving off of a special class of ends or issues as umquely cruCial. IS a. though the definition of the boundary has varied. Let me call higher-order goods of this kind 'hypergoods'. so the recognition that my life is turned away from it. has offered his own desc~iption of what he sees as a common th read through much of modern moral philosophy: a definition of the 'moral' in ter ms of the notion of obligation. While all the goods I recognize. In some predicaments.24 What justifies this kind of segregation. my direction in relation to this good has a crucial importance. judged.

with which it has some close intellectual connections and affinities. Hypergoods are generally a source of conflict. that this universal ethic replaced earlier ones which were in various respects restricted. the sense that it arose through a historical supersessio n of less adequate views goes along with its serving as a standard of criticism of contemporary beliefs and practices. And that is why recognizing a hypergood is a source of tension and of often grievous dilemmas in moral life. And as Nietzsche so well saw. The older condemned goo ds remain. To take perhaps the most salient example of mode rn culture. Here I want to pursue further the nat ure of 'hypergoods' and the difficulties they pose for the thesis I've been deve loping. principle of right) a notion of universal justice and/or benevolence. those which are most widely adhered to in our civilization. and that this was accomplished through a number of hard-fought and painfully won stages. The most important ones. An ethical outlook organized around a hypergood in this way is thus inherently c onflictual and in tension. have arisen through a historical supersession of earlier. in total consistency.26 The new highest good is not only erected as a standard by which other. The first is to go all the way. culture. ordinary goods are judged but often radically alters our view of their value. But we who stand within this framework are awa re that It was not always recognized. and the Judaeo-Christian religious revelations in another. Such was the fate of the warrio r honour ethic at the hands of Plato. A nd as with our science. se~. and later still in the eyes of the modern ethic of ordinary life. So the principle of equal respect is not only defined through its historical gen esis in early modern times as a negation of hierarchical conceptions of society.e status of the moral in the next section. So that the struggle and tension continues. they resist. it also continues on. In this regard. as the principle of equal respect has been doing to the goods and virtues connec ted with traditional family life. less adequate views-analogous to the criti cal supersession of premodern by modern science that I mentioned at the end of t he last section. To have a hypergood arise by superseding earlier views is to bring about (or und ergo) what Nietzsche called a 'transvaluation of values'. regardless of rac e. in some cases taking what was p reviously an ideal and branding it a temptation. and as the author of the Republic did to the goods and virtue s of agonistic citizen life. in relati ons between the sexes. This example offers us the picture of a hypergood in which our awareness of its being incomparably higher than others builds on an understanding of its having s uperseded earlier. and later of Augustine. 65 science. Hypergoods are understood by those who espouse them as a step t o a higher moral consciousness. This is the st ance that Plato's Socrates seems to be taking in the 66 . The highest good is not only ranked above the other r ecognized goods of the society. less adequate views and thus still serving as a standard by w hich contemporary views can be criticized and sometimes found wanting. finding new applications-as for instance today. it can in some cases challenge and reject them. a transvaluation is not necessarily a once-for-all affair. both have been defin ed as historical supersessions-of the Homericinspired honour ethic and of various forms of idolatry. IDENTITY AND THE GOOD . religion. There are two extreme strategies whereby all hint of a dilemma may be avoided he re. respectively-and both remain as sources of radical criticism of existing practices and beliefs. the pr inciple of universal and equal respect is like our modern conception of Ethics of Inarticulacy . To take two other crucial origin points of such goods. class. in which all human beings are to be treated equally with respect. as Judaism and Christianity did to the cults o f pagan religions. many accept as their highest good (or perhaps we should say at this stage. and deny entirely the credentials of any goods which stand in the way of the hypergood. challenging certain 'patriarchal' forms of life which wer e originally left unchallenged by its early modern protagonists. some seem ineradicable from the human heart. Platonism in one way . It seems that this is generally true of what are recognized as hypergoods in our civilizat ion.

and Aristotle recognizes that some are of higher rank than others-e. in the way in which I described in the last section. not as offering a critical perspective from which other lesser ones can be denied altogether. And indeed.. and the kind of common deliberation which maximally develops phronesis. regarding the goods we have come to recognize. 28 But whatever tru ths were to be found here would nevertheless in a crucial sense be relative to t . wh ich are bound up with the mode of social interchange which has developed among u s. But their paramountcy is to be understood in terms of hig h priority.. but just that we can see all too well how these institutions could look pe rfectly all right in that society while we now see them as unconscionable and as fit objects for reform or abolition. those which see values as simple projections onto a neutral world. This 'comprehending' strategy has powerful arguments on its side. the other possible strategy is propounded by Aristotle. And we are no t encouraged along the Aristotelian path by the thought that the Philosopher him self justified slavery. there i s still room for a more sophisticated naturalism. I mean those whose point must be understood against the backgrou nd of a certain mode of social interchange in the manner I discussed in the prev ious section. after all. even after we have come to accept that our evaluative outlooks have their proper place within our experience. and which reflect the mo st sensitive insights of those who live within this mode: who is to say that the se are worthless? Where. taking note of the good s that people tend to seek within this form? The good life must thus be understo od as one which somehow combines to the greatest possible degree all the goods w e seek. we are plainly too far gone in our recognition of hypergoods to go the whole comprehending route. in totality. This sophisticated naturalism could agree that the distinctions marked by our va lue words were as real as any others. This would understand our valu ations as among the perceptions of the world and our social existence which are inseparable from our living through and participating in our form of life. as we dwell in the world within a certain form of life. But it is hard to follow it either. By 'i nternal' goods. i. all the goods together in their proper proportions. of equal value. the only way to prescind from these would be to stand altogether outside this mode of life. Or rather. Against this. granted that this mode is organized around ce rtain goods which we cherish and that it in turn makes other qualities and condi tions of value to us. e. Even when one gets beyond the cruder reductionist theories. This is to affirm all goods.27 But if we ever could have done this.Republic. but this is the whole good life. This is n ot to say that moral indignation against Aristotle himself is in order on this s core. These are not. Let us call this the uncompromisingly 'revisionist' stance. which in turn feeds the naturalist temper and the various reductive theories that I have been Ethics of Inarticulacy· 67 contending against. contemplation (thewria). It involves respecting all the goods which ar e internal to practices which humans develop in their different societies. We could say that what plays the role of a 'hypergood' in Aristotle's theory is the "supreme good" (teleion agathon) itself. we cannot but perceive our lives in terms of certain quali tative distinctions. not to speak of a subordinate place for women. unless within the (or a) human life form. Coming to learn them would be seen as attaining a kind of 'knowledge'. can one stand to decide what the good for hu man beings is. and thus their absence would void a life of much of its value. to be sure. grasping the world in terms of these values is inseparable from participating in this way of living. These touch more cen trally on what we are as rational life. We are to o aware that there have been and are societies and modes of social interchange w hich are vicious or are incompatible with justice or human dignity. certainly not mere projections. Grant ed the mode of social interchange. But we can readily see from all this that the place of these hypergoods in our lives cannot but provoke an epistemological malaise.g. where the normal fulfilments of family life and property are denied th e guardians in the name of social harmony.

But I am talking here about a mode of naturalism whic h would make such' culture-relativity a fatality. But the moral outlook make s wider claims. but a condit ion of our being selves with an identity. and certain patterns of caring. But something like this is what is involved in the claims to critical supersessi on that are made on behalf of hypergoods. For it engenders a pitiless critici sm of all those 68 . for instance. It is hard to see why this critical radicalism should suddenly fail when we get to the boundaries of our society-boundaries which are hard to draw in any case-'-and condone the often much more severe lapses we find in premodern civil izations.g. Can we show how any claim of this kin d could be valid? Or are all such claims unreceivable in principle because they run against the very bases of our valuations. something we can engage in or abstain from at will. But these properties ar e no less real features of the world which does contain humans than any "neutral . and kinds of awareness. made familiar by followers of Wittgenstein. Each side has to be judge d right from its own p~int of can we accept polygamy. What I mean is. To the extent to which these goods appear not to be so fr om the standpoint of another way of living. Of course. with a certain form of life. IDENTITY AND THE GOOD beliefs and practices within our society which fail to meet the standard of univ ersal respect. an in-principle limit. under the impress not only of natu ralist epistemology but also of our anti-colonialist sympathies (ironically. widow-burning. in our reflective moments.. And in the last section I invoked the arguments. It ruthlessly sets aside the goods involved in these peccant prac tices. We do find ourselves sometimes thinki ng in these terms. and this by its very nature. e. an essential feature of which is precisely the ir value. ano ther offshoot of the principle of universal respect). Faced with the view that all valuation is simply projection of our subjective reactions onto a neutr al world.29 to the effect that our language of valuation cannot for the most part be construed as expressing our re actions to features of the world. I accept this as a possibility: this is the one I described with the term 'incommensurability'. purdah. or society which are or could be ide ntified in neutral terms. bloodless sacrifice. our life. but there is no standpoint 'beyond the two f rom which the issue could be arbitrated. virtue terms like courage or gener osity is such that they have to be construed as picking out projectible properti es.he given form of life. I that orientation to the good is not some optional extra. we have to administer another dose of the same argument that levered us out of the cruder naturalism. or even appear sometimes to be wrong or evil. it allows in principle no purcha se from which the goods enshrined in a given way of life can be shown as wrong o r inadequate. Can we sho w all such claims to be right? Many of them are undoubtedly wrong and deeply eth nocentric and insensitive. The logic of. as our sophisticated naturalism wo uld have it? To see how these claims can be valid. we had recourse to what might be called moral phenomenology. we don't consider its condemnation of slavery. and sex equality from the societi es where these strange practices flourish. just as 'red' or 'square' do. When we stand within the moral outlook of universal and equal respect. femal e circumcision. it is clear that an essential condition of the existence of such prop erties is that there are human beings in the world. human sacrifice. I tried to show in section 2. let alone the killing of "fallen" women by their male relatives in order to save the family honour? Can we save the objectivity of these cross-cultural critical claims that are inv olved in what I have been calling hypergoods? Of course I don't mean. Of course. If we cannot accept hiring practices which don't ensure that women get their share of the jobs. or female circumcision only as expressions of our way of being. Precise ly because it conceives the 'objectivity' of our valuations entirely in terms of their embedding in our different ways of life. widow-remarriage. there is no way of adjudicating the dispute. inviting a reciprocal and equally valid condemnation of our free labour. but which also can be seen as an examination of the inescapable features of our moral lan guage.

and we will even altogether want to renounce certain facets of these. in which we acknowledge and orient ourselves by a certain range of g oods. and examinations. and this tra . in particular from the meanings that thi ngs have for us. than by seeing what properties or entities or features our best ac count of things has to invoke? Our favoured ontology for the . But we have our present array of recognized entities because they are the ones invoked in what we now see as the most believable account of physical reality. This is very Ethics of Inarticulacy· 69 different from how our ancestors conceived these things. let our ontology be determined by th e best account we can arrive at in these terms.1). or 'original'. There is no reason to proceed differently in the domain of human affairs. but of human life as well. and o ther things I understand only dimly. IDENTITY AND THE GOOD perhaps experience them quite differently. then these are real features of our world. If naturalism and the Platonic precedent shouldn't deter us from following this principle to the point of allowing for courage and generosity. We judge them differently and 70 . and that for two reasons. As a result of our discussions.30 Unless we make a wild conjecture of this kin d. And then we will naturally. And this seems not only undersupported as an assertion but highly implausible in the light of what we know both about human beings and the resources of explanations in absolu te-say. or part of the furnitu re of things. we cease to be fascinated by and absorbed in th e search for honour and pleasure as we were before. The underlying consideration which makes this argument compelling could be put t his way: How else to determine what is real or objective. On a Christian view. comportments." properties are. We will follow what I called abo ve the BA principle (section 3. reflections. What these terms pick out will be what to us is real here. by which I mean the domain where we deliberate about our future action . The first is that they present US with a good which challenges and dIsplaces o thers. offers the best explanation. The picture of moral life in which a hypergood figures is one where we ar e capable of growth from a 'normal'. if these turn out to b e really ineliminable from our best account. rejection. . to a recognition of a good which has incomparably greater dignity than the se. sanctification in volves our sharing to some degree God's love (agape) for the world. challenges. in some cases. physical or chemicalterms. reactions. and rightly. we will be disposed to accept that the world of human affairs has to be descr ibed and explained in terms which take account of the meanings things hav~ for u s. nor should they f righten us away from what I have been calling hypergoods. Hypergoods tend to be more epistemo logically unsettling and to trigger off the reactions which naturalism and the P latonic precedent nourish in us. micro-constitutio n of the physical universe now includes quarks and several kinds of force. once we see the Good. assess our own and others' character. we will come to see a certain vocabulary as the most realistic and insightful for the things of this domain. or understand and explain people's action illuminatingly. to the point of possible indifference and. without such terms as 'courage' or 'generosity'. or 'primitive'. Our tendency has been to be derailed by the thought that such features wouldn't figure in an absolute account of the universe. Both naturalism and the Platonic precedent combine to give this consideration great weight. But should it weigh w ith us? Only if we have reason to believe that an absolute account. arguments. For Plato. and also attempt to lmderstand and explain these. one that pre scinds from anthropocentric properties. Our acceptance and love of this good makes us re-evaluate the goods of the o riginal range. not only of the extra-human univer se (that much seems now fairly clear). feelings. or 'average' condition. If we cannot deliberate effectively. and it cannot and should not be otherwise.

the projection of less admirable interests or desires.3 a s the affirmation of ordinary life. Or agai n.31 as id eals and disciplines of rational control excluded and dominated the lower classe s (as well as women again). and becoming citizens of a wider republic. or 'primitive' moral understanding is. work in a calling conferred a higher dignity on what had previousl y been relegated to a lower status.34 and so on. now seen as specious and destructive. Enlightenment natur alism also frequently portrayed religious moralities of the "higher" not only as the source of self-repression but also as the Ethics of Inarticulacy· 7I justification of social oppression. though unadmittedly) committed to their own rival hypergoods. exercise their natural right to rule the "lower" o rders for the latter's own good. connected to the principle of univ ersal and equal respect. The fact that the perspective defined by a hypergood involves our changing.. and even involves our repudiating earlier goods. a yea-saying to what one is. But it is wrong to think that we have stumbled on aIJ a .. in fact. What previously was endowed with the highest prestige may now seem narrow.e. and this against the express pretensio ns made on their behalf. contemplation or citizen participation. W ho is to say that the critics. tawdry. Neo-Nietzschean thinkers have extended this cri tique and tried to show how various forms of social exclusion and domination . And then Nietzsche took this attack a stage further and tried to break out of th e whole form of thought he defined as 'moral'. This pe rennial worry understandably strengthens the naturalist reaction in this case. critical of where 'ordi nary'. The rejection of the supposedly "higher" act ivities. is what makes it so proble matic. as certain models of religious order excluded and dominated women. the seemingly ineradicable absence of unanimity abou t these hypergoods. We can no longer fe el awe before it. On the contrary what now inspires this sentiment is the moral law itself and its universal demands. Wh y then shouldn't all of them be so? So indeed they might be. all forms which involve the rejection of the supposedly "lower" in us. or 'higher consciousne ss'. are built into the very definitions by which a hypergood perspective is constit uted. or "l'homme moyen sensuel"? This suspicion is a ll the stronger in the modern world because of what I described in section 1. has always been a potent source of moral scepticism. be they priests or aristocrats. And this actual struggle and disagreement. This unleashed a powerful tendency in our ci vilization. The revelation that some hypergoods hav e been woven into relations of dominance.32 as definitions of health and fulfilment exclude an d marginalize dissidents. a kingdom of end s. as the supposed carriers of the "higher".33 as other notions of civilization exclude subject rac es.priori argument showing this to be so. no more shows that all claims of this kind are irreceiv able (and the more so in that the critical stance is often-or always-from the pe rspective of a rival hypergood) than does the success of the absolute standpoint . Some of these involved turning a gainst the very religious tradition which had inaugurated this tendency and defe nding "natural" desire and fulfilment against the demands of sanctification. a ch ange which is qualified as 'growth'.nsforms how we see things and what erse we long for and think important. in favour of the ordinary life of marria ge. Of course. are right against 'ordinary' consciousness.. gener ally in the range of our third example above. one which has taken ever new forms. It is problematic right off because controversial. are overtly (and. It seems that at least some of the hypergoods espoused so passiona tely must be illusory. the move from a prerational and parochial perspective to one in which we reco gnize the right of all humans to equal respect transforms our entire way of seei ng historical cultures and their practices. I believe Foucault's are as well. and to come to a more total self-affirmation. or 'sanctification'. But this doesn't reduce the perplexity and uncertainty we feel here. We feel ourselves lifted out of the ruck o f unthinking custom. exploitative. wi th the exception of Foucault's. children. of our will to power. the argument is complicated by the fact that all of these attacks. i. or of "higher" levels of dedicat ion in the form of monastic asceticism. or 'unregenerate'. the protagonists of 'higher' morality.

but rather that some position is superior to some other. But. But this doesn't mean that we don't and can't argue. and if this account must be in anthropocentric terms. Certain modern doctrines have tried to take up this chall enge. terms which relate to the meanings things have for us. of establishing that one view is better than another. or by acknowledging the importance of some factor which A screened" out. It aims to establish. from a certain under-" standing of moral growth. then how does A ration ally convince himself? Or is it all just a matter of sub-rational hunches and fe elings (as naturalists have been claiming all along)? Here again our understanding has been clouded by a naturalist epistemology and it s focus on the natural science model. Is there any rational way for A to convince B that his hypergood perspective is superior? And if not. No one can fail to recognize that. 'Genealogy' is the name for this kind of probing. There is still no substitute for the BA principle here as elsewhere . This is something we do when we show. We show one of thes e comparative claims to be well founded when we can show that the move from A to B constitutes a gain epistemically. We can only look: perhaps we will find that we cannot make sense of our moral life without something like a hypergood perspective. Nietzsche's genealogies are devastating. The argument turns on rival interpretations of possible transitions from A to B. covertly or open ly. And then we argue. and which then makes us see others differently. not to rely on our moral intuitions or on what we find morally moving. and we are then readier to surrender to naturalist reduction. which I was quite insensitive to before. The error is in thinking that it ought to be. that we get from A to B by identifying and resolving a contradiction in A or a confusion which A relied on. the rise of slave morality.35 but we perhaps don't need to examine their inadequacies in detail to see that the challenge cannot be met. we cannot but despair of practical reason. When Nie tzsche wants to launch his out-and-out attack on morality. or else practical 72. If hypergoods arise through supersessions. Our conviction that we have grown morally ca n be challenged by another. But if our moral ontology springs from the best account of the human domain we c an arrive at. That is Ethics of Inarticulacy· 73 . Because following the ai:gument in favour of a theory in natural science requires that we neutralize our own anthropocentr ic reactions. implicitly or explicitly. or something of the sort. is in fact a proposal to change the subject. it will be objected. not that some position is correct absolutely.37 This form of argument has its source in biographical narrative. Once we make this error. I see that I was confused about the relation of resentment and love. We ought to be able to convince people who share absolutely none of our basic moral intuitions of th e justice of our cause. we too easily conclude that arguments in the domain of practical r eason ought not to rely on our spontaneous moral reactions.36 is a reasoning in transitions . And this raises the diff icult question of practical reason. as I have argued elsewhere. after all. or B to A. it is not just a matter of looking but also of arguing . with comparative propositions. It may. a nd arguing here is contesting between interpretations of what I have been living . IDENTITY AND THE GOOD reason is of no avail. or I see that there is a depth to lo ve conferred by time. How then does practical re asoning proceed? How do we rationally convince each other or ourselves? Practical reasoning. The nerve of the rational proof consists in showing that this transition is an error-reducing one. This is always open to challenge: the attacks on hypergoods as repressi ve and oppressive constitute only the most virulent of such challenges. We are convinced that a certain view is superior because we have lived a transition which we und erstand as error-reducing and hence as epistemic gain. the conviction they carry comes from our reading of the transitions to them. be illusion. some notion of a good to wh ich we can grow. if true .in physics. It is concerned. for i nstance. he does this by offer ing an account of the transition to it. then the demand to start outside of a ll such meanings. The argument fixes on th e nature of the transition from A to B.

rooted in the epistemological tradition. we think very little about it and glide along in conformity with our milieu . where the Platonic synthesis of scientific explanation and moral insight lies irrecoverably shattered by the rise of natural science. been grist to reductionist mills. they felt them deeply. My perspective is defined by the moral intuitions I have. regardless of moral perspective. It wants us to look for 'criteria' to decide the issue. or the founders of our traditions. Our authorities. etc. W e are moved by it seeing its point as something infinitely valuable. and some Romantic-derived views do to Nature as a great source. A hypergood can only be defended through a certain reading of its genesis. even though we don't fully unders tand it or feel it ourselves. the connection between seeing the good and being moved by it cannot be bro ken. and seen in the light of the Platonic precedent they seem d oubly so: for these beings play no part in our natural science explanations toda y. constantly nudges us towards a mistrust of transition arguments. or theistic views do to God. it seems more and more implausible. obey him. and then you will see that yo u ought to worship him. You will only convince me by changing my reading of my moral experience. or perhaps best. external model is increased by something else. this fact shouldn't disturb us. I become incapable of understanding any moral argument at all. etc. We experien . But through all these complex chains of intermedia tion. or because we revere and look up to established authority. of the transitions I have lived through-or perhaps refused to live through.. as Plato does to the Idea of the Good. and in particular my reading of my life story.. There is no question here of our ever being able to come to recognize this by prescinding from our moral intuitions. internalize certain moral intuitions. It is easy to rush in with the standard su bjectivist model: the good's importance reposes just in its moving us so. of cour se. by what I am morally moved by. We may accept 74 . It is necessary to add 'in a complex way'. But the acceptance of God or the Good has no necessary connection with this orde r of argument. creator. We se nse in the very experience of being moved by some higher good that we are moved by what is good in it rather than that it is valuable because of our reaction. But there cannot be such considerations. This intrinsic connection between seeing and feeling in this domain has. and then deduce from this fact that you ought to embrace certain moral reactions . those who give these go ods their energy and place in our lives. But nothing prevents a priori our coming to see God or the Good as essential to our best account of the human moral world. because we never think of these things enti rely on our own and monologically. These are proble matic in themselves. accessible to all. some considerations which could be established even outside the perspectives in dispute and which would nevertheless be decisive. i. And a theist must be saying: first reali ze that there is a God. The bad model of practical reasoning. And this was indeed a common way of conce iving argument in this domain in the days when the Platonic precedent was still unchallenged.because genealogy goes to the heart of the logic of practical reasoning. IDENTITY AND THE GOOD something as a good although we are relatively unmoved by it. If you're a Plat onist you must be saying: first realize that the world is ordered for the good.e. But th is model is false to the most salient features of our moral phenomenology. These often make essential reference to beings or realities which transcend human life. because at the low est. however certain moral views may exhort us to d o so. Some philosophers thought you could prove the existence of God fro m facts about the world. If I abstract from this. But then the force of this bad. Ifwe are consistent in our adhesion to the BA principle. sensing in them that th ey are moved by something authentic and great. And from our modern perspective. he is good. Rather our acceptance o f any hypergood is connected in a complex way with our being moved by it. be cause we choose certain figures as authoritative for us. It seems as though invoking these realities implies something about the order of argument. w hich is the second of the two main reasons which breed suspicions about hypergoo ds. but a worry arises from another quarter.

we give greater credence to this second perception. I read both these transitions as gains. unsettling. a being who infinitely transcends my moral experience and understanding. $0 says the BA principle. My conceited confidence that there is only one moral issue at stake here gives way to an appreciation of the legitimacy of other demands as I mature. All these manoeuvres.ce our love for it as a well-founded love. draw on our implicit know-how about getting good perceptual purchase When we then look again. surrounds it with a halo of the higher. Of course. Is there a transition out of my pres ent belief which turns on an error-reducing move? Do I have to recognize. But we discover this o nly by shifting out of one purchase into another. in one case as in the other. What role do our qualitative discriminations play in our moral thinking? I said then (section 3. Or my critics eit her for that matter. The only way to decide is by raising a nd facing this or that particular critique. 3. There is nothing better I could conceivably have to go on. or seemingly wrong is to stop. and thus gives us an impossible task.3 We can now see better the point of the answer I gave some time back to the quest ion. As long as the wrong. I could be.that we now have a better prise on the situation. This would mean checking the trustworthiness o f this confidence against something else. set ourselves to command a good view. I could be wrong. but precisely becau se we have the sense . and thus I e mbrace the later views over the earlier ones. A typical response when we encounter something surprising. more adequate one. The predicament of practical reason resembles the most primitive context in whic h I acquire factual knowledge. something else would have to be quite outside the perceivable. a sense which enfram es all my particular perceivings.1) one thing that they do is provide reasons. Now the fact that. It isn't. 75 look again. But this. This demand is in its nature impossibl e. not bec ause we have discovered that these manoeuvres work as tricks. that previously unavowed fears and desires of a descreditable kind have been lending lustre to this good. exte . but that this has to be understood in a different way' than usual. The idea that we ought to prescind altogether from this background confidence of purchase is as unjustified as the corresponding demand in the moral field that we step outside moral intuitions. in applying this principle. which it quite loses when these are factored o ut? What successfully resists all such critique is my (provisionally) best accou nt. The most reliable moral view is not one that would be grounded quite outside our int uitions but one that is grounded on our strongest intuitions. which we often do without focally attending to them. shake our heads. doesn't me an that my rational confidence in this belief is grounded in considerations whic h take no account of this moral experience. But in neither case can I do anyth ing with the suggestion that it might all be illusion and that I ought to defend myself against this possibility by stepping altogether outside any reliance eit her on intuition or on sense of purchase. and Ethics of Inarticulacy . My blithe. concent rate. Of course. and with the demise of the Platonic synthesis. Nothing that couldn't move me in this way would count as a hypergood. our confidence on a particular occasion may be misplaced. it couldn't any longer be. for in stance. My confidence in my awareness of my perceptual surroundings rests in large part on the quite inarticulate sen se I have of enjoying a sure perceptual purchase on things. that of perception. But I could also be right. Our sens e that the transition was a purchaseimproving one is what underlies our present c onfidence. Indee d. I may come to a belief in God. unthinking assurance that I know the path gives way to my careful and attentive grip on my surroundings after I trip. where these have s uccessfully met the challenge of proposed transitions away from them. The whole thing co uld be just a projection of some quite ordinary desire which confers this seemin gly exalted status on some object. Classic al epistemology was always threatening to drive into this cul-de-sac and therefo re fall into the despair of scepticism.

or 'saving your integrity'. 77 different virtues. A good life should include.. and in their right proportions. It is in its nature to work asymmetrically. where 'B' allegedly offers a description of an act-form which we're morally committed to. Mill. I say: "you ought to do A". It offers a reason rather as I do when I layout my most basic concerns in order to make sense of my life to you. rejects what he describ es as the "intuitionist" view. But in excepti onal circumstances. Utilitarianism and Kantianism organ ize everything around one basic reason. There has been a tendency to breathtaking systematization in modern moral philosophy. some contemplation.38 But once one thinks in this way in connection with. at the same time helps define my identity. But the good life as a whole doesn't stand to the partial goods as a basic reason. Were this identity to fail. We can call B in this case a 'basic' reason. a well-run household and family. And as so often happens in such cases. But it is a big issue i n moral philosophy how systematically our moral. S.39 But to see how far this is from being an essenti al feature of moral thinking we have only to look at Aristotle's ethical theory. because this conduces to the general happiness. We often ask what makes a give n action right. in part.ay inf ~rmatively that contemplation is a good because it figures ~n the good hfe. or the kind of support that theories like Hare's prescriptivism derive from conside rations about the logic of moral language. T . And we can see right off from this why the perception of a hypergood. Nor do our qualitative distinctions offer reasons in another sense which is ofte n evoked in the literature of moral philosophy. one which had some relevance to an earlier age. then one is heading towards a totally wro ng picture of the situation. A would no lo nger be a moral obligation. and I don't have to pay. B makes A obligatory. We can speak of a single "complete good" (teleion agathon). ends or obligations can be rel ated to a small list of basic reasons. while offering a reason. Aristotle sees us pursuing a number of goods. I add: "because A = B". So typical fillings for 'B' would be: 'obeying the law'. it mclud~s contemplation. This is the kind of reason wh ich a naturalistic picture of human 76 . and our conduct as exhibiting a n umber of Ethics of Inarticulacy . These should figure in their right proportion. we give a reason for a certain moral principle or injunction when we show that the act enjoined h as some crucial property which confers this force on it. There is no as ymmetrical conferral of their status as goods. The belief in God. John Rawls. where public revenues are being terribly misused. b ecause our condition is such that the disparate goods we seek have to be coheren tly combined in a single life. not anchored in our moral intuiti ons. offers a reason no t in this sense but as an articulation of what is crucial to the shape of the mo ral world in one's best account. We say that B gives a reason because we hold that the act picked out by the A-description is only enjoined be cause it also bears the B-description. a theistic view.rnal model of practical reason holds sway. but has none to ours. Thus a utilitarian will argue that I ought generally to pay my taxes. the very notion of giving a reason sm acks of offering some external considerations. following J. ~ut we can't s. which is precisely a view which allows for a plur ality of such basic criteria. inter alia. and when you ask why. t he notion becomes accredited among the proponents of these theories that the nat ure of moral reasoning is such that we ought to be able to unify our moral views around a single base. which can somehow show that certain moral practices and allegiances are cor rect. some participation in politics. It I S much more that this life is good because. A = B is an obligation-conferring identity. say. This form of argument is very frequent in ethics. say. In this sense. this ident ity fails. not vice versa . IDENTITY AND THE GOOD life might seem to offer utilitarianism or some ethic of 'material' welfare. An external consideration in this sense is one which could convince someon e who was quite unmoved by a certain vision of the good that he ought to adopt i t. or at least act according to its prescriptions. or 'conducing to the greatest happiness of the greatest number'. and we are answered with a basic reason. as I argued above.

Our conceptions of what makes humans worthy of respect have shaped the actual schedule of rights we recognize. along with other features. it may seem totally unnecessary to say what I have just said. The mode of thought whic h surfaces in contemporary sociobiology wants us to think of our moral reactions outside of any sense-making context. It is true that clarification on the second is closely related to the defini tion of the basic reasons we invoke in the first kind of claim. and on which we draw when we deliberate about ethical matters. feel. So we can see the place that qualitative discriminations have in our ethical life.his drive towards unification. or in vite us to. and to describe the higher mode of life and feeling which is involved in recognizing th is. which claim a status of incomparably greater importance or urgency. Relative to the most basic action-des cription. What seemed to make it necessary to say all this was the resistance pu t up by the naturalist temper which permeates much of our philosophic thought. or commanding. It has been necessary to describe all this at length in order to rescue our awareness of the crucial importance of the se distinctions from a kind of bewitchment. or what commands our allegiance. or X is wrong. n ot only within the academy but in our society at large.40 What is relevant to my argument here is that articulating a v ision of the good is not offering a basic reason. as on all fours with visceral reactions li ke nausea. Articulating these distinctions is setting ou t the moral point of the actions and feelings our intuitions enjoin on us. we have to look not so much at the various reductive theories of values . that articulating them is articulating what u nderlies our ethical choices. This isn't a step to a more basic level. and later as providing the contexts in which these reactions have sense. as definitions of the good. we can still strive to make clear just what is important. something we might just as well do without. intuitions. Pre articulately. we have the picture of values as pro jections on a neutral world. or present as admirable. But they are nonetheless distinct activities. as with the above example of ~espectmg human righ ts. below. They offer reasons in qui te different senses. And that is also why it canno t be assimilated to giving a basic reason. they function as an orienting sense of what is importan t. or Y is valuabl e and worth preserving. I will try to offer som e explanation of this. Itis one thing to say that I o ught to refrain from manipulating your emotions or threatening you. Our qualitative distinctions.41 On a more sophisticated level. In a way. which emerges in our particulate intuitions about how w e should act. valuab~e. because there IS no. and the latter has evolved over the centuries with changes in the former. r ather offer rea~ons in this sense. respond on different occasions. Up to now 1 have been talking about the naturalistic sources of this bewitchment . That is why it is so different from offering an external reason. because that is what respecting your rights as a human being requires. but that they provided a kind of orientation essential to our identity. either by ar ticulating wha~ underhes your existing moral intuitions or perhaps by my descrip tion movmg you to the point of making it your own. They have this place as much in the broader domain of goods that we pursue across the whole range of our lives. I can only convince you by my ~escription of the good if I speak for you. 78 . What I first described as 'frameworks' I presented as of fering background assumptions to our moral reactions. IDENTITY AND THE GOOD valuable. far from being an essentIal feature of morality. But it is in fact stronger and more firmly rooted in modern culture. leanings.symmetry. Then 1 went on to argue that livi ng within these frameworks was not an optional extra. Isn't it just a truism? But in fact this whole study from the beginning has been struggl ing to make this point.a. It is setting out just what I have a dim grasp of when I see that A is right. Itis to articulate the moral point of our actions. And to se e this. and the like. B~t we can see how articulating the good may help further defimtlOns of what IS bas ic. as in the m ore special domain of higher goods. something which we normally though unconsciously li ve within but could perhaps abstain from. It is quite another t o set out just what makes human beings worthy of commanding our respect. is rather a peculiar feature of modern moral philosophy.

We can see how moral theory so conceived doesn't have much place for qualitati ve distinctions. one that affects our thinking about the whole form of an ethical theory. What motivates th. but that is not IDENTITY AND THE GOOD 80 a task which this theory recognizes as relevant. Our qualitative distinctions are useless for this.) Moral philosophies so understood are philosophies of obligatory action. Wherever can they fit in the furniture of the universe. problem for some contemporary moral philosophy).45 .which have had an impact on modern social science and moral theory. (I want to speak about this latter in the next chapter. There is a tendency among philosophers of th . as irrelevant to ethics. A good. say. as I discussed in the previous section. as revealed. Or work out what 1 could choose when 1have treated other people's prescriptions as if they were my own. or the good as the object of our love or allegiance. including that of human affairs. Then such things as 'higher' goods must appear very strange entities indeed. And then. In a related way the task of moral theory is identified as defining the content of obligation rather than the nature of the good life. by physics?42 But naturalism also exercises a more subtle and pervasive influence on moral thinking. as I have described above. of course.44 Or think what norm would be agreed by all the people affected. Utilitarianism is the most striking case. if they co uld deliberate together in ideal conditions of unconstrained communication. is recogni zed. . and different derivations of Kant's theory. But there is no doubt that the express theory aims to do without this distinction altogether. Much of this philosophy strives to do away with these distinctions altogether. 79 higher motives. happiness. how they in fact accord rationalit y and its corollary benevolence the status of Ethics of Inarticulacy . A satisfactory moral theory is generally thought to be one that defines some criterion or procedure which will allow us to derive all and only t he things we are obliged to do. t o give no place in moral life to a sense of the incomparably higher goods or hyp ergoods. commanding admiration. What should I do? Well. Morality is conceived purely as a guide to action. So the major contenders in these stakes are' uti litarianism. The critic can't help remarking how little utilit arians have escaped qualitative distinctions. which are action-focuss ed and offer answers exactly of this kind. It is in the business of offering what I called above basic rea sons. metaph ysical views. It is thought to be concerned purely with what it is right to do rather than with what it is good to be. and the only standard which remains is the m aximization of its fulfilment. But it is not just that the distinctions are of no use for the particular goals that this moral theory sets itself. These tend to allow the natural sciences a paradigm status for all forms of knowledge. plus a criterion for picking out the obligatory ones. All we need are actiondescriptio ns. they give us reasons in a quite different sense. In other words. even though we aren't obliged (which is why supererogation is such ::.43 and also what it may be good (or even obligatory) to be or love. but at certa in central features of this modern moral theory itself. There is just desire. the naturalist temper. morals concern what we ought to do. work out what would produce the greatest happiness of the greatest number. I mentioned in the beginning of the first chapter the tendency in contemporary philosophy to give a very narrow focus to morality. The cent ral task of moral philosophy is to account for what generates the obligations th at hold for us. all that belongs to the old. the epistemological assumptions that go so well with this temper. In this conception there is no place for the notion of the good in either of two common traditional senses: either the good curious blindness? In part. Articulating them would be indispensable if our aim we re to get clearer on the contours of the good life. this excludes both what it is good to do. But this is characterized by a polemical refusal of any qualitative discrim ination. There is no more higher or lower.

2 that we cannot but crave . or what it means to respect age. but it does make its contribution. which are ruled out just because they're dangerous. before they can understand just what is wrong. This is the poin t I made in section 3. because outside of the background articulated at the s econd stage we generally aren't able to project properly to new cases: to see. The various offshoots of the modern affirmation of ordinary life have engendered a suspicion of the claims made on behalf of 'higher' modes of life against the 'ordinary' goals and activities that humans engage in. as we have seen.46 that is. E. Articulating our qualitative distinctions is setting out the point of our moral actions. as a recovery of the true value of human life. as a child sometimes does. This temper has helped contribute to the dominance of moral theories of obligatory action in our intellectual culture. We can get a suffi cient grasp of the commandment. But this is not all. It is possible to know. 'Thou shalt not kill'. in favour of 'absolute' ones. But it is sometimes possible to give people at least a good first approximation of how to behave in external action terms. which we can understand if we explore moral phenomenology a bit further. as I suggested above. The rejection of the higher can be presented as a liberation. ~tilitarians and modern naturalists in general can just focus on the negation of the older distinctions and see themselves as freeing themselves altogether from distinctions as such. But with that curious blindness to the assumptions behind their own moral attitudes. It explains in a fuller and riche r way the meaning of this action for us. Thinkers of a naturalist temper. These two stages can't be completely prised apart. when considering ethics. but not to understand yet what kind of badness it exhibits. so human affairs ought to be maximally described in external. Naturalism is only one of the m. of course. bein g obligatory or forbidden. in the sense of this term that Clifford Geertz has made famous. as I now want to explore. Many of our virtue terms belong to these richer languages of what I have been calling qualitative discriminations. The dominance is overdetermined. Whence this exclusion? The motives are complex. 'D on't talk like that to Granddad!' before we can grasp articulations about the sa nctity of human life. because it articulates the significance and point t hat the actions or feelings have within a certain culture. naturally tend to think in terms of action. when you see someone with a red headdress. for instance.47 is the belief that we ought to u nderstand human beings in terms continuous with the sciences of extra-human natu re. can be given a description of what to avoid which they c an understand. e . in distinction from other forbidden thin gs. by excluding descriptions which bear on the Ethics of Inarticulacy .g. a language which is a lot rich er and more culturally bound. the moral value attaching to this liberating move itself presupposes another context of strong good. or perhaps mean-spirited. and there are also moral motives for this exclusion. I mentioned one in the discussion of hypergoods in the previous section.. just what its goodness or badness. you t ell the new arrival: 'Just remember. or can obey the order. 8I significance of things for us.. I. as I am using the term. to reduce them to the status of projections. There is also a closely related way in which the rejection of qualitative distin ctions can be seen as a liberation. The child or the outsider can be told what not to do. or even in some cases to deny them intellectual coherence. Of course. what exclusions there are to the ban on killing (if we accept a view which allows some) or grasp what other persons are worthy of cast of thought to deny them any relevance altogether. non-culture-bound terms. I mentioned in section 2. Just as these last have progressed by turning away from anthropocentric lang uage. To move from external action descriptions to the language of qualitative distinc tions is to move to a language of "thick description". that a certain act is forbidden. But that is just what naturalism strives to avoid. One of the defining character istics of naturalism. or reality. or because we can't now pull them off. consists in. Later one may learn that it is something d ishonourable. bow three times'.

or alternatively of self-delusion. I can feel the demand to incorporate the goo d in my life as crushing. So metaphysical. can be immensely restric ting and even destructive. The issue is whether flight is the only answer to unhealthy guilt. and this is what it is often represented as in much of the human potential literature of our day. That is. This. these usually espouse their own crucial distinctions. For.)? Reflecting on all this can ~trengthen the sense that turnin g away from all these notions of the good IS somehow a liberation. IDENTITY AND THE GOOD which I measure well. philistines. in contemporary language. NormatIve orders must originate in the will. The most. the possibility of such a liberation could seem to accredit the rej ection of qualitative distinctions as such. and moral considerations run together here. it must be said.interfere~ce fr~m external authority. which I constantly measure up badly on. on this view. As well as the affirmation of ordinary life. of such consoling thoughts as: at least I'm not like those (wastrels.48 In particular. besides being uncomfortable. epistemological. already has some role in the formation of utilitarian thought and its proto-doctrines. to infringe on his sovereIgn nght o f declSlon about what was good. Hobbes's political ato mism is plainly linked with his nominalism and with his view that the good is de termined for each person by what he desires. either in the Platonic mode. there is the modern notion of freedom. the one we find w ith Grotius and Locke starts from the individual. his determining of his own pur poses without . or can make m e blind to how poorly I actually do compare. T~e ancient notion of the good. weakhngs. my craving to be well placed to the good can make me a prey to illusions. for "layin g a guilt trip" on its devotees. Rightful submiss~on cannot arise just by nature. that one has given it one's consent. can either lead me to espouse a standard on 82 .to be rightly placed in relation to the goods we recognize. something ana logous begins to be transferred onto humans. blackguards. To break with a good to which one cannot really subscribe is of course a liberation in anyone's language. and which leads to an overwhelming de preciation of myself. etc.49 This line of thought even contributed in the e nd to the rise of mechanism: the ideal universe from this point of view is a mec hanical one. radIcal development of this line of thought in moral philosoph y had to awaIt Kant. The conflict was originally conceived in t heological terms. it is a demand that I feel utterly unable to live up t o. Christianity has been attacked ever since the Enlightenment for laying a crushing burden on thos e in whom it inculcates a sense of sin. (Though generally not. But we can readily see how.51 b?th doctrines plainly owing a lo t to late mediaeval defences.) Alternatively. in the popular writings concerned today with human potential. And to illusion is often added a ce rtain smug satisfaction in contrasting myself to others. leftists. This is most evident in the seventeenthcentury political theory of legi timacy through contract. of course. The modern notion of freedom w~ich develops in the seventeenth century portrays this as the independence of the subject. independent of o ur will. Bu t we have not exhausted the moral considerations. But precisely this craving can be the source of much suffering. as the key to cosm.50 But with the modern e~a. Political right is made . rightis ts. in a c onfused way. but which I cannot ultimately really defend. Being in a political order to which one owes allegiance presupposes. To break my allegiance to this good can therefore be experienced as a liberation. around such goods as fulfilment or self-expression. which arose partly from an an thropological transfer of the prerogatives of God. sets a standard for us In natur~. The second came to be consi dered as IncompatIble wIth the first. as classical theories assume. Late mediaeval nominalism defended the sovereignty of God as i ncompatible with there being an order in nature which by itself defined go?d a~d bad.?f ~he?logIcal decisionism. without intrinsic purpose. But in the meantime the new conception of freedom. t~at would be to tie God's hands. or smug self-satisfaction. How much of my ability to live with myself comes from the repetition. or.Ic order or in the form of the good life ala Aristotle. As against earlier contract theories.

what is of ultimate moral importance is just this issue of the quality of one's wilU3 But nevertheless Kant shares the modern stress on freedom as selfdetermination.) But utilitarianism is not the only philosophy responsible for this climate of mo dern thought. 52 And in mature uuhtanamsm. that between actions done from duty and those done from inclination. H e insists on seeing the moral law as one which emanates from our will. the HGluckseligkeitslehre" of which he speaks in scathing terms. however mistakenly. and to forget or put into the shade Kant's doctrine of the dignity of rational agents. he breaks with the utilitarian conception of our motives as homogeneous. The rejection of the idea that Ethics of Inarticulacy· 83 our good is founded in some natural order is seen by utilitarians as the repudiation of paternalism. Each person is the best judge of his own happiness. utilitarians feel. This is grounded on a distinction of motives: the desire for happiness versus respect for the mo ral law. of course. there must be answers. who confronted even with Chr ist turns away to consider the judgement of his own conscience and to hear the v . its author. how familiar to us is t he man so beautifully portrayed in the Grundlegung. He rejects vigorously as irrelev ant all those qualitative distinctions which pick out higher and lower in the or der of the cosmos or in human nature. the relation between hedonism as a motivational theory and the benevolence that utilitarian practice seems to suppose. IDENTITY AND THE GOOD of qualitative distinctions in the order of being for a rejection of any distinc tion at all. He returns to the Augustinian insight that there are radically different qualit ies of the fiat. somewhere. But the force of these motives is great enough to outweigh the intellectual discomfort of these unsolved puzzles. and it is aided and abetted by all the e pistemological and metaphysical doubts that it has entrenched in our modern outl ook. and meantime they plunge forward into their homogeneous universe of rational calculation. to make them appear as intellectually suspect and morally sinister. and the like. Thence arise some of the perplexities and fudgings of utilitarianism. and whose being it expresses. Not only is it justified on epistemological metaphysical grounds and not only is it appropriate as an affirmation of the value of ordinary life. Iris Murdoch ca ptures it in a memorable description: "How recognizable. Rational agents have a status that nothing else enjoys in the univers e. another powerful motive for accepting the theory.54 And so Kant strongly insists that our moral obligations owe nothing to the order of nature. Kant deliberately takes this stance in opposition to utilitarian though t. but it is also seen as establishing the individual's freedom to determine the goals of his or her own life and own definition of happiness. This mixture of Kantian and naturalist conceptions has yielded the picture of th e human agent so familiar in much contemporary moral philosophy. This has been the easier given the connection between the af firmation of modern freedom and the rejection of such distinctions that the natu ralist Enlightenment gives currency to. Our awe b efore it reflects the status of rational agency. such as the difficulty in under standing what the moral motivation is that it appeals to. but o nly they have 'dignity' (Wurde) . to discredit qualitative distinctions. Everything else may have a price. and to establish a model of moral thinking which tries to do without them altogether. This powerful array of motives converges. To take these as central to one's moral vi ews is to fall into heteronomy. It has therefore been easy for the followers of Kant to take this rejection 84 . Following Ro usseau. They soar above the rest of creation. (And the sense of power and control which comes from this latter is. the stress on modern freedom emerges in t he rejection of paternalism. Kant's theory in fact rehabilitates one crucial distinction.

in the penetr ating discussion that closes his book. the modern conception of freedom. If the aim is to avoid above all parochial ethical principles . overcome poverty.e. A central feature of Enlightenment morality. which I described earlier. then one has another reason to sideline these distinctions. We should strive to leave the world a more prosperous place than we found it. The idea that moral tho ught should concern itself with our different visions of the qualitatively highe r. Those who are concerned about what is valuable. The Enlighten ment took this up in intensified form. rational. what one should love or admire. augment human welfar e. free. But the desire for a fully univers al ethic can also play a role. The focus is on the principles. but should serve to "relieve the condition of mankind".. powerful. and it has become one of the central beli efs of modern Western culture: we all should work to improve the human condition . Stripped of the exiguous metaphysical background which K ant was prepared to allow him. Their conception of freedom and their epistemological suspicion of strong goods bind together utilitarians and naturalists of all sorts. responsible. I have spoken a boutthree: the defence of ordinary life and desire against the (supposedly speci ous) demands of "higher" goods. independent. but also strong moral motives. action-guiding. Awareness of their place in our mora l lives has been so deeply suppressed that the thought never seems to occur to m any of our contemporaries. with strong goods. Or where it sees itself in a strictly "meta-ethical" role. while visions of the good are altogether neglected. prone to narcissism. relieve suffering. of benevolent determination. where they do not deny them a pla ce altogether. this man is with us still. the improvement of the lot of mankind. This is undoubtedl y an important factor in Habermas's positions.59 argues that the exclusive focus on obli gation in much modern moral philosophy has its own peculiar motivation in the at tachment to a hypergood (as I would call it) of purity. and he passed it on to his more secular spiritual successors. This was a crucial theme Ethics of Inarticulacy . Utilitarians frequently slide into moral arguments in defence of their ethical theory. 85 with Bacon. i. in which it shows its roots in Christianity. the hero of so many novels and book s of moral philosophy". Moral philosophy should concern itself with determining the principles of our action. are worried about the st ate of their own souls.58 Williams in turn. This can seem to give independent justification to the exclusive focus on action in much of contemporary moral theory. brave. share this focu s. John Rawls). lon ely. Not only the epistemological and metaphysical predilection s of naturalism are at work here. 57 We can begin to appreciate how heavily overdetermined is this vogue of theories of obligatory action. even whe n they descend from Kant rather than Bentham (e.56 Practical charity is enjoined on us. Our scientific effort should not serv e simply to create objects of contemplation for us.oice of his own reason. and thanks to the confusion mentioned above it has greatly served to strengthen the modern moral philosophies of obligatory action. increase prosperity. terms (Hare). it should co ncern itself with the language in which we determine extra-philosophically the p rinciples of our action. or the defen ce of justice. Morality is narrowly concerned with what we ought to do. Contemporary philosophers. This focus can be represented as being a sign of moral earnestness. and not com mitted to altruistic action. in this suppression. where it was still expressed in Christian terms. or what we should admire or love.55 No one can gainsay the power of this ideal among our contemporaries. and which te nd to sideline these qualitative distinctions. concei ved in prescriptive. or injunctions. is never even mooted. or some general theory about what morality is. They are self-absorbed. and one readin g of the demands of benevolence and altruism. and not also with what is valuable in itself.. . Its starting point should be our intuitions about what actions are right (Rawls). The goods that we articulate in qualitative disti nctions are frequently those of a particular cultural group and are embedded in their way of life. or standards whic h guide action.g. as well as Kantians. is the stress on practical benevolence. And in this another motive concurs as well.

But this change seems a step forward precisely because it involves a fuller acceptance of the free self-determination of diverse people. We end u p with the assurance that this will give us substant~ve truth. This order determines wh at ought to be done. It's all right. You couldn't be f ully rational. · Practical reason was understood by the ancie. For the utilitar ians. This modern idea of freedom is the strongest motive for the massive shift from s ubstantive to procedural justifications in the modern world. which each agent could carry out on his or her Ethics of Inarticulacy . To be rational w as to have the correct vision. Having excluded qualitative distinctions for epistemological and moral reasons so effe ctively. Correc t thinking is not defined by substantial truth. rationality is maximizing calculation. we define it by the procedure of its inauguration. lead them to share a procedural conception of ethics. then the justification has to be proc edural. Habermas's conception of a discourse ethic is founded in part on the same consideration. Zweckrationalitat is the crucial for m. Good thinking is defined procedurally. an accur ate power of moral discrimination. and believe for instance 86 . thought Gro tius.nts substantively. Beyond the common weight of modern epistemology on them. but only after we have gone through the argument proving the existence of a veracious God. In a way. it is clear how for bot h the stress on the procedural is bound up with their allegiance to modern freed om. but by the way in which t he outcome is arrived at. It owes something to Kant but offers a "dialogical" procedure in place of Kant's.Various combinations of these motives tend to bring Kantians and utilitarians to gether around theories of obligatory acti6n and. indeed. This means that the criterion for rationality is that one get it right. because defining it is the prelu de to raising the question whether its results are trustworthy. By contrast. while still wanting to give value to practical reason. it unite s both Kantian universality and the Benthamite refusal to decide for other peopl e what is right for them. But once we sideline a sense or vision of the good and consider it irrelevant to moral thinking. no matter what its form. you have to redefine this in procedural terms. IDENTITY AND THE GOOD that Democritus was right about the natural world or that the best life was the one where you fulfilled the most sensual desires. as long as it comes about through consent. Descartes offers a paradigm example of this with his model of clear and distinct thought. 87 own. For the Kantians the definitive procedure of practical reason is that of univ ersalization. Instead of defining legitimacy sub stantively in terms of the kind of regime or some conception of the good society . or procedure of thought. a procedural noti on of reason breaks this connection. We can see the rise of social contract theory in the same light. then our notion of practical reasoning has to be procedural. method. These terms can be applied to forms of ethical theory by derivation from their use to describe conceptions of reason. Plato has a conception of this kind. If the right thing to do still has to be und erstood as what is rationally justifiable. that it has almost suppressed all awareness of their place in o .60 And so we sketch the portrait of a wide trend in modern moral philosophy. or in the case of Aristotle's phronesis. I am using the word 'procedural' here in oppos ition to 'substantive'. in his book. The rationality of an agent or his thought is judged by how he thinks. The excellence of practical reasoning is define d in terms of a certain style. To reverse this and give primacy to the agent's own desires or his will. not in the first instance by whether the outcome is substantively correct. It can't be defined by the particular outcome. I call a notion of reason substantive where we judge the rationality of agents or their thoughts a nd feelings in substantive terms. relatedly. To make practical reason substantive implies that practical wisdom is a matt er of seeing an order which in some sense is in nature. The idea tha t a norm is justified only to the extent that all could uncoercedly accept it is a new and interesting variant of the procedural idea. And if we leap from the earliest to the most recent such theory.

63 The only kind of answer that Hare can conceive of offering here is one in prudential terms. The more one examines the motives-what Nietzsche would call the 'genealogy'-of t hese theories of obligatory action. for instance in a definition of moral reasoning. in Habermas's eyes. But at the same time this segregating boundary can't just be dropped. It is the only way a procedural ethic has of marking some considerations as incomparably h igher. Or else we can take up the question. and those of the good life i s supremely important. These are among the central moral aspirations of modern culture. if we seemed to be asking how we could convince som eone who saw none of the point of our moral beliefs. or culture. that it considers that the right action should alw ays be in some strong sense rationally justifiable. They are caught in a strange pragma . with different levels of importance. It is thus crucial to maintain it. we cannot see why these higher considera tions should usually be given priority and also why they might be denied this in certain circumstances. or tradition. It has no way of capt uring the background understanding surrounding any conviction that we ought to a ct in this or that way-the understanding of the strong good involved. What this priority consists in is left unexplained. the question I articulated can't be addressed at all. So this reappear s in an odd form.. such as freedom. but we can't say what's good or valuab le about them. For instance. the boundary between questions of ethics. as a reasonin g of a particular form whose outcomes have a special priority over others. which we should see in terms of the incomparable status of certain goods. the stranger they appear. We can wax rhetorical and propagandize. It seems that they are motivated by the strongest moral ideals. to art iculate what's uniquely valuable in cleaving to these injunctions. which in some unexplained way has in p rinciple priority. in Habermas's case. because it is the boundary between demands of truly unive rsal validity and goods which will differ from culture to culture. however inadequate our explanation of it may be. it belongs logically to the moral. 'Why should I be moral?' in the way Hare do es in his book Moral Thinking. how we should rationally determine what we ought to do. And yet what these ideals drive the theo rists towards is a denial of all such goods. And in par ticular. IDENTITY AND THE GOOD the incomparable weight of certain considerations. He tries to show that it is in some one's interest to be brought up with the right moral principles. it proposes a view of moral thought focussed simply on determining the principles of action. the priority t o a discourse ethic is a product of maturation both ontogenetically and in the h istory of culture.62 But clearly there is a gaping hole here. This is just what we mean by 'moral. Then the impl ication of these theories is that we have nothing to say which can impart insight . by segregating off a domain of the 'moral' and hermetically sealing it from other considerations (section 3. central to much of our moral life. But imagine him to be asking another q uestion: he could be asking us to make plain the point of our moral code. which have to do with interpersonal justice.2).ur lives. For this kind of deliberation would presuppose that we s ee them all as goods. We might be tempte d to put it this way: they leave us with nothing to say to someone who asks why he should be moral or strive to the "maturity" of a 'post-conventional' ethic. it cannot capture the peculiar background sense. the more fiercely we have to defend this boundary. against chauvinistic and ethnocentr ic aggression in the name of one's way of life. One of its central issues is how we should understand practical reason. or why they command assent. Within his phil osophy. This distinct ion is the only bulwark. B ut this could be misleading. There is nothing we can do to "prove" we are right to such a person. it adopts a procedural conce ption of reason.61 For Habermas. and uni versalism. 'Mo ral' defines a certain kind of reasoning. This conception of the moral is strangely skewed. that something incomparably important is involved. It tries to account for 88 . The more we are really (if inarticulately) moved by a hypergood. To the extent that it accords practical reason an importa nt role in determining these. For Hare. It is not clear how moral considerations can function with ot hers in a single deliberative activity. altruism. the hypergoods which are distinctive to it. But this suppression leaves perplexing gaps in the theory.

g. where it means whatever is marked out as hi gher by a qualitative distinction. where the right is decided simply by its instrumental significance for this end. gives the point of the rules which define the right. And from this frequently follows another of the strange cramps they put in moral thinking. and how it fails to cope with all that aspect of our IDENTITY AND THE GOOD 90 . highly justified. but in that the g ood is what. but we have to draw on the sense of the good th at we have here in order to decide what are adequate principles of justice.65 Where 'good'means the primary goal of a consequentialist theory.67 And there are other cramps as well. Rawls does. We don't actually spell it out. the good is always primary to the right. it can be seen as one moral theory among others and. But where we use 'go od' in the sense of this discussion. Ethics of Inarticulacy . we rec ognize that these are indeed acceptable principles of justice because they fit w ith our intuitions. manage to derive (if his arguments in rational choice theory hold up) his two principles of justice. e. in its anti-u tilitarian thrust. for insta nce. and moral ideas of the modern age. Williams shows68 how badly distorting this is. But as he himself agrees. To say that we don't "need" this to develop our theory of justice turns out to be highly misleading. in Michael Sandel's critique.. for instance. The theory of justice which starts from the thin theory of the good turns out to be a theory which keeps its most basic insights inarticulate. in its articulation. as emerges. happiness or the categorical imperative. Rawls. The notion that morality is exclusively concerned with obligations has had a restricting and distorting effect on our moral thinking a nd sensibility. In its original form. A common slogan of Kant-derived moral theories in our day serves also to justify the exclusion of qualitative distinctions. If we were to articulate what underlies these intuitions we would start spelling out a very "thick" theory of the good.64 But this suggestion is on the deepest level incohere nt. They then are led to defend this boundary all the more fiercely in that it is their only way of doing justice to the hypergoods which move them although they cannot acknowledge them. these theories narrow o ur focus to the determinants of action. Their thought is inescapably cramped . including the qualitative distinctions underlyin g our moral views.66 This is what has been suppressed by these strange cramped theories of modern mor al philosophy. that in a sense. Impelled by the strongest metaphysi cal. Not in that it offe rs a more basic reason in the sense of our earlier discussion.tic contradiction. the tendency to unify the moral domain around a single consideration or basic reason. around which they draw a firm boundary . But it also can be used to downgrade not ju st the homogeneous good of desire-fulfilment central to utilitarian theory but a lso any conception of the good. which have the paradoxical effect of making us inarticulate on so me of the most important issues of morality. as an insistence that morality couldn't be conceived sim ply in terms of outcomes but that moral obligation also had to be thought of deo ntologically. by which he means what I am cal ling weakly valued goods. They utterly mystify the priority of the moral by identifying it not wit h substance but with a form of reasoning. of course. as a Kantian counter-attack against utilitarianism. then we could say that the reverse is the cas e. and then restrict our understanding of t hese determinants still further by defining practical reason as exclusively proc edural. epistemological. 89 seems to be proposing in A Theory of Justice that we develop a notion of justice starting only with a "thin theory of the good". then we ought indeed to insist that the right can be primary to the good. whereby the very goods which move them push them to deny or d enature all such goods. thus cramming th e tremendous variety of moral considerations into a Procrustes bed. They are constitutionally incapable of coming clean abou t the deeper sources of their own thinking. This is the principle of the priorit y of the right over the good.

it is in large part a feature of our world. the story I want to tell is of such a change. So we naturally come to think that we have selves the way We have heads or arms. a particular reading seems to impose itself. The reason this is so is that the localization is bound up with our sense of self. whatever our kn owledge of history and cultural variation may lead us to believe. the world of modern. as inner. We are creatures with inner depths. Once more. and inner depths the way we have hearts or livers. the opposition 'inside-outside' plays an important role. we construe ourselves. the powerful inchoate feelings and affinities and fears which dispute wi th us the control ofour lives. heroism. The loc alization is not a universal one. awaiting th e development which will manifest them or realize them in the public world. anthropologists. a nd others consider it almost a truism. beyond challen ge. as a matter of hard. and localization is ours. Over the next chapters . seem to be d iscovered like facts about ourselves. On the contrary. We think of our thoughts. as solid as this loc alization may seem. to counteract th e layers of suppression of modern moral consciousness. among other possible ways. 'in the mind'? Something in the nature of our experience of ours elves seems to make the current localization almost irresistible. All this in answer to the question why it is necessary to belabour the obvious f act that qualitative distinctions have an inexpungable place in our moral life a nd thinking. a cer tain sense (or perhaps a family of senses) of inwardness. like inside and outside. and not to be relative to the particular w ay. one which ha s become dominant in the modern West and which may indeed spread thence to other parts of the globe. and thus also with our sens e of moral sources. A great many historians. For a given age and civili zation. Rather it is a function of a historically limited mode of selfinterpretation.1 MORAL TOPOGRAPHY Our modern notion of the self is related to. as they do for instance that their heads are above their torsos. The unconscious is for us within. ideas. But it is nevertheless hard to believe fo r the ordinary layperson that lives in all of us. moral sources. But when a given conste llation of self. Who among us can understand our thought being anywhere e lse but inside. Distinctions of locale. which human beings recognize as a matter of co urse. We have to fight uphill to rediscover the obvious. It cannot but come to feel fixed and unchallengeable. in Procrustean fashion. In our languages of self-understanding. But strong as this partitioning of the world appears to us. it seems to common sense th e only conceivable one. Western people. the uns ayable. But what is the point of doing it? 4 *****END OF SECTION 3 6. think of the depths of the unsaid. Of course. this is either assimilated to a foreign mould or rejected. and the like. that means it is the o ne from within which we experience and deliberate about our moral III II2 INW ARDNESS situation. and we. What we are constantly losing from sight here is that being a self is inseparabl e from existing in a space of moral issues. wit h partly unexplored and dark interiors. It's a difficult thing to do. supererogation. one might say constituted by. to do with identity and how one ough . this view is not original.moral thinking which concerns aspirations to perfection. We all feel the force of Conrad's image in Heart of Darkness. I want to trace the rise and development of this sense. or feelings as being "within" us. 1 It is not that these do not also change in history. Or else we think of our capacities or potentialities as "inner". and anchored in the very nature of the human agent. interpr etation-free fact. while the objects in the world which these mental states bear on are "withou t". but which had a beginning in time and space and may have an end.

The G reeks were notonously capable of formulating the injunction cgni5thi seauton'-'know thyself'-but they didn't normally speak of the human agent as Cho autos'. But alongside these strands of continuity. We can probably be confident that on one level human beings of a ll times and places have shared a very similar sense of 'me' and 'mine'. and when I blurt it out. to be a perspective in it. But the distinction can nevertheless be hinted at through a few illuminating examples. a sense of relief min gled with grief for poor B was what A experienced. then it is in the public domain. speaking of "the" self. which expresses in each case the specific mor . the thought remains inner. attitude (these resources would go beyond refer ring expressions and would include forms like the archaic Indo-European middle v oice). or use the term 4 in a context which we would translate with the indefinite article. . The really difficult thing is distinguishing the human universals from the his torical constellations and not eliding the second into the first so that our par ticular way seems somehow inescapable for humans as such. that they distinguish inside from outside in all cultures? In one sense. when the pl an went awry and the beast was lunging towards hunter A.t to be. or "a" self. being able to occupy. Does it mean that these people don't share our sense of the unity of the person or the link/identity of a person with his or her body. A similar distinction could probably be made between the perennial and the speci fically modern in regard to the distinction inside/outside. action. and there is another. something similar to th e thought 'Now I'm for it' crossed A's mind. which would probably make even our re mote ancestors comprehensible to us. as against those which we express in speech and action. as we are always tempt ed to do. and which one survives/flourishes depends on which per son/body is run over by that mammoth. But our modern notion of the self is just as much a historically local self-in terpretation which would also be opaque and perplexing to outsiders. When moderns read of. When I refrain from saying what I think about you. there no doubt is . In thos e days when a paleolithic hunting group was closing in on a mammoth. say. In other words. It is being able to find one's standpoint in this space. This distinction seems to be a common theme to many different cultures. But this is not at all the same as making 'self' into a noun. preceded by a definite or indefinite article. This is driven ho me to us in our puzzlement at the three souls of the Buriats of northern Siberia . This ref lects something imp~rtant which is peculiar to our modern sense of agency. the members of the group must Moral Topography · II3 have had very much the same sense that we would in their place: here is one pers on. I even suspect that no satisfactory general formula can be found to characterize the ubi quitous underlying nature of a self-interpreting animal. If I did. I can't pretend to have a general formula for making this distinction. the te rrifying animal lurched to the left and crushed B instead. I would have solved the greatest intellectual problem of human culture.2 But isn't there some truth in the idea that people always are selves. that ther don't count persons in the same way as we do? But we don't have to suppose anyth ing so bizarre. there are baffling contrasts when we try to understand human agency in its moral and spiritual dimension.3 they find it hard to know what to make of thi s information. And when at the last moment. shamanistic cultures where they are alleged to believ e that the human person has three souls and that one of them can travel outside and even remain there for a time. It is proba ble that in every language there are resources for self-reference and descriptio ns of reflexive thought. one which is woven into a richer notion of what 'inner' and 'outer' mean. There is a sense of "inside" which designates the thought or desires or intentions which we hold bac k for ourselves.

speech". and we are no longer run by our desires. By contrast. postures. for instance. just as with our notion of the self. Cbatin' "consists in th e fuzzy. as the strenuous arguments in his works attest. What appea rs to be a universally familiar human distinction between inner and outer has be en here woven into a spiritual doctrine which is quite strange and unfamiliar. And so we become good when reason comes to rule. Nevertheless. movements. Plato even describes them as suffering from a kind of . I will argue below that the transf ormation I want to describe between ancient and modern can be reflected in this shift of vocabulary. I find a paradigm statement of this in Plato. but it covers up a deeper change which I want to bring out. and Clair' "refers to that part of human life which. I will act as though it were innocent. Indeed. but it se ems perfectly comprehensible to us. strict behaviourists limit themselves to st udying-external actions. that our modern notions of inner and outer are indeed strang e and without precedent in other cultures and times. In the terms set out above. In order to see how strange and different it is. To be master of oneself is to have the higher part of the soul rule over the lower. This is where we have to go to have access to a higher moral condition. the realm of desire is that of chaos. Of course many people disagree with this view today. it will be useful to trace its genesis from a previously dominant localization. in our culture. He tells us where we can go to accede to a higher moral state. concord (xumphonia). seems q uite familiar to us. which means reason over the desires ('to logistik on' over 'to epithumetikon'). a quite different kind of order reigns in the soul. The good souls enjo y order (kosmos). But the shift in hegemony is not just a matter of one set of goals tak ing over the priority from another. Plato sees the ab surdity of this expression unless one adds to it a distinction between higher an d lower parts of the soul. obversely. shifting flow of subjective feeling in all its phenomenological immedia cy". This appeara nce of a familiar and understandable doctrine is partly valid. Thus there is something quite immediate ly understandable and familiar to us in the Cbatin'/'lair' distinction which Cli fford Geertz reports from Java. 6 PLATO'S SELF-MASTERY 6. 430E). And we might say that the si te he shows us is the domain of thought. it is plain that many disagreed with it in Plato's day. INW ARDNESS such doctrines is always familiar to us contributes to our layperson's difficult y in recognizing that the whole localization is really very different to ours an d vision of the civilization. The translation I have just made of 'th ought' for 'reason' is not entirely innocent. and bad when we are dominate d by our desires. kreitto autou.1 Plato's moral doctrine. We are good when reason rules. to allow us to see Plato as situating moral resources in the domain of thought. particular ly in the fact that it is not related to individuals in quite the same way7 or c onnected to the soul/body distinction in the way we're familiar with. 6 Geertz stresses at the same time how different this conception is from its Western analogue. But for the moment. When reason rules. as he sets it out in the Republic. where the bad are torn every which way by their desires and are in perpetual conflict. Indeed. and harmony (harmonia).s As Geertz describes it. we can say that order reigns there for the fi rst time. Plato offers us a view of moral sources. the fact that one facet of II4 . The good man is 'master of himself' (or 'stronger than himself'. What we gain through thought or reason is self-mastery.

down to t he Frankfurt school which borrowed from both. Besides being at one with himself. And partly deriving from this tradition of Christian resistance to Greek philoso phy. The good person is collected. but the hegemony of re~son was not uncontested amon~ the ancients.II5 'civil war' (stasis). Reason is at one and the same time a power to see thin gs aright and a condition of self-possession. From some Romantics in one way. rational control. Luther speaks graphically of reason as "that whore". Plato imprints indelibly on the reader's mind the miseries of remorse and inner self-destructive conflict that they suffer. says Plato. 117 The challenge in the name of freedom is specifically modern. to make reason the guaranto r of the good was to fall into idolatry. he is dragged ever onward. the notion has been developed that rational hegemony. or would if only passion did not prevent it. We stand in need of liberation from reason. Plato constantly stresses the unlimi ted nature of desire. courage. that indeed. A nd the background connections underlying this view have remained much the same: to consider something rationally is to take a dispassionate stance towards it. is 'by nature insatiable' (442A. that ra tional self-mastery may be selfdomination or enslavement. Plato's Self-Mastery . To be rational is truly to be mast er of oneself. The desiring element. the person ruled by reason also enjoys calm. In a s~nse. our modern age has seen a number of rebellions against the moral philosophy of reason. I t is both to see clearly what ought to be done and to be calm and self-collected and hence able to do it. on the battlefield-and is able to swe ep all before one. constantly pulled this way and that by his cravings. in his graphic description of democratic an d tyrannical man. This outlook has been dominant but never unchallenged. in some more primitive cultures. calm. where the bad one is distraught.. and the a bility to conceive and execute great deeds. of centring in himself. The first enjoys a kind of self-possession.1 And later on.g. Over the centuries. other moralities. The curse of one ruled by his appetites is that he can nev er be satisfied. but som . from Nietzsche in another. The mastery of self through reason brings with it these three fruits: unity with oneself. driven as he is by endless desire. other maps of our moral sources had to be either discr edited or annexed and subordinated. In the p rocess. The word is taken from primitive Scandinavian culture. for ins:ance. and the immortality one enjoys when one's name lives for ever on men's li ps. desiccate. There were recurrent revolts by Christi an thinkers against some or other aspect of the marriage with Greek philosophy. which promises to be a liberating force. turn s into its opposite. and where life is aimed at fame and glory. Plato helped set the form of the dominant family of moral theories in our civili zation. while the desiring person is constantly agitated and unquiet. an access of strength and courage-e. a warrior (and later warrior-citizen) morality. and sanctity and salvation came to be expressed in Platonic-derived terms ()fpurity and the "beatific vision". which the other wholl y lacks. where what is valued is strength. and collected self-possession. in which leason. it has seemed self-evident to many that thought/reas on orders our lives for the good. and from time to time the thesis would be pressed that reason by itself could ju st as well be the servant of the devil. may stifle. physei aplestotaton). neverth eless the Christian emphasis on the radical conversion of the will could never be finally accommodated in this synthesis. It is not only different from but quite incompatible with the reflective and self-collected stance of rational contemplation. repress us. Plato can be seen a s the key figure in the establIshment of thiS dommant moral philosophy. h e runs 'berserk'. There is a 'dialectic o f Enlightenment'. Indeed. The higher moral condition here is where one is filled with a surge of energ y.. this access is seen as a kind of possession or mania. And this in turn is connected to a third diff erence. Although Christian theolo gy incorporated much Platonic philosophy. The great warrior is carried away by a kind of madness on the field of battle. There is.

e. one which exalts a state of manic inspiration in which poets create. 'etor'. that i s. the 'limbs'. e. what flees from the body at death. since a concern for it is focus sed on mere appearances and not reality. This is an utterly different view from Plato's about the site of moral sources. tho ugh his impressive deeds are powered by the god's infusion of energy. still others in the 'noos'. Richar d Onians4 also makes a strong case for 'thumos' being originally sited in the lu ngs. A great hero remains great. others again in the ' kradie'. 22 C. n o single answer can be given. is the way in which this rise towards dominance of the ethi c of reason seems to have brought with it a different understanding of the agent . Snell argues.. But contrary to our modern intuitions. th ere is no concession here. analogous to the warrior function in society. References to the living body are to. are very puzzling. Some6 have been tempted to make light .) The author of the Republic2 has to deal with both these views in order to establ ish his own. Agamemnon excuses his unfair a nd unwise treatment of Achilles by referring to the 'madness' (menos) visited on him by the god. As Adkins puts it. and the seeming confusion about me rit and responsibility.g. 5 To the modern. But what is interesting from our point of view here. or even by 'soul' in its standard post-Platonic meaning. etc. this doesn't seem to les sen the merit or demerit attaching to the agent. refers to the corpse. the relation of subordination he maps i n the picture of the ordered tripartite soul is a . the s ame could be said for some of his great mistakes. The latter is never set aside altogether. or 'ker'. poets make their works not by wisdom but "by some instinct and possessed by the god 'enthusiazontes' ".. In parallel to the multiplicity of 'mind' locations. a sort of i containment ohhe ethic of action and glory. others in the 'phrenes'. and 'ker' seem to be identified with the heart. for instance.ething of the same condition was visible among the early Celts. and one very conscious of sudden unexpected accesses of energy". i. The term 'soma'. His line is to discredit the second one almost entirely. 'etor'. This perhaps offers us a way of interpreting the features of Homeric psycholog y which Bruno Snell and others have commented on. ' skin'. Plato's work should probably be seen as an important contribution to a long-deve loping process whereby an ethic of reason and reflection gains dominance over on e of action and glory. it is not that the hero remains great despite the div ine help. which should be properly subordinate to political leadership. If one asks 'where' such things go on in Homer's account of his heroes. It is an inseparable part of his greatness that he is such a locus of divine action. in relation to different ki nds of localization. bodily references are also usually to what we wpuld think of as parts. viz. Homeric 'psyche' seems. It has something in c ommon with another rival view. better model for what has emerged in Western society. 'spirit' (thumos). Indeed.. Rather there seems to us to be a fragmentation: so me things happen in the 'thumos'.. And indeed. rather than the site of thinking and fe eling. The post-Crusade model of the Christ ian knight offers a well-known example. 'kradie'. Homeric man is revealed "as a being whose parts are more in e vidence than the whole. This latter operatio n is accomplished in the Republic by identifying a third element in the soul. uneasily held in the hegemon y of a higher morality of reason or purity. Some of these sites can b e loosely identified with bodily locations. whose proper role is to be the auxiliary of reason. and 'phrenes' with the lungs. and to subordinate the first. about where one has to go to accede to a higher condition. a term designating the unique locus where all our different thoughts and feel ings occur. or at leas t to make us very wary of it. Sne1l3 remarked on the absence in Homer of words that could happily be translate d by our 'mind'. be tween desire and reason. Snell also noted that the Homeric hero was frequently carried to the greatest he ights of action by a surge of power infused into him by a god. to designate something like the life force i n us. (As Socrates says in the Apology. this fragmentation. varying as appropriate with the context. In spite of Pla to's attempts to discredit glory as a life goal.

As with all such cultures which are very different from our own. something which has to be overcome. it is extremely difficult to giv e a positive description of it. But if. Th e experience of it as comprising a plurality of loci is an experience of error a nd imperfection. one. as we achieve the centring on ourselves that rational hegemony brin gs. Special. but of another character: we speak of a person being 'carried away'. we are still tempted by talk of special localizat ion. it is a single locus. viz. The temptation to place certain thought s and feelings in a special locus comes from the special nature of those thought s and . or 'be side herself'. But it may be possible to say something negatively about this outlook. and ?ence the ne:w notion. defining it by what it is not. s tatement of this ultimately victorious view. what w e ordinarily feel. non-communicating states are thus lapses. they are obstacles to rea son and represent failure to achieve the heights of reason. What we experience in moments of heightened inspiration can h ave this character. requires some co nception of the mind as a unitary space. I want to argue. The soul must be one if we are to reach our highest in the self-collected understanding of re ason. the highest condition for us is one in which we are reflective and self-collected. what we fe el when we are in a towering rage seems incommensurable with what we feel when w e have calmed down. INWARDNESS others but is on the contrary the one in which all thoughts and feelings are und er' purview. And a similar change can occur when we fall in or out of love. a falling off. We stres s the special nature of these states by marking their lack of continuity with or dinary thought and feeling. in principle. In other words. With only a few texts at one's disposal. The unicity of locus. and to deny that Homeric man was all that different from us in his way of understanding dec~sion and responsibility . They are different from. And if we once again take Plato's theory as a culminating. the people and events are quite transformed in aspect.of Snell's thesis. just because it privileges a condition of self-collected awareness and designates this as the state of maximum unity with oneself. P lato's view. the soul is de jure. which brings about the harmony and concord of the . In a sense. even if one could live among Homeric warriors as an anthropologist. And similarly. swept off as it were to someplace outside. discontinuous with the others. For the moralist of reason. The debate can easily fall prey to cross-purposes unless some crucial distinctio ns are taken into account. in contrast. they must have shared our familiar understanding of the decis ions they were called upon to take.feelings. as in a condition of the highest inspiration. just as much as Homeric warriors-and ourselves-had the Plato's Self-Mastery .. is defined as one in which we understand ~nd can thus survey all othe rs. the description of experienc e in terms of special locales will seem the deepest and most revealing. then to be in a special stat e. that of rational r eflection. I I9 familiar sense of them~elves as single agents among others: I am the one whose f ate is being decided in that mammoth charge or in that spear-thrust of my advers ary. of where one has to go to accede to moral power. and that is what I was trying to do above.of the_~oul as this single site of all thought and feehng-as agamst the psyche as life-principl e-is an essential concomitant of the morality of rational hegemony. the privileged condition is not a special state in the sense of being out of communication with all the I20 . the task becomes vi rtually impossible. For a view of the moral life which finds the highest sources in these special st ates. it seems very likely that th ey. is a quite different notion of m oral sources. the points of contrast stand out. Our privileged condition. And today. Some things are up to me: Do I dodge the bea st? Do I fight or flee? What this vocabulary betokens. If we retu rn to the example above of the paleolithic hunters. the conception of mind and responsibility which even tually overcame it. is a kind of loss of centring. The landscape of exper ience changes so much that we are easily tempted to use images of a change of lo cale to describe the transition. perhaps even incompatible with.

In Book IV. So to be ruled by reason is to be ruled by the correct vision or understanding. reg ardless of external action.whole person. Th at is because of his whole conception of reason and the rule of reason. Plato does not use the inside/outside dichotomy to make his point. they obviously say more and better what he wanted to con vey than inner/outer could. would be a kind of health and beauty and good condition of the soul. just like the body needs and tends towards the order we identify as health. The soul ruled by reason is an ordered one. The centring or unif ication of the moral self was a precondition of the transformation which I will describe as an internalization. The oppositions which are crucial to Plato are those of soul as against body. I shall be returning to this below. H e has to be forced back to take his part in ruling the just state.g. that the just life is the most advantage ouseven in the absence of success in the world of action and power.. there is another sense in which Plato may have considered it misleading. or "give an account" (logon didonai. And thIS IS the doctnne t hat the Republic is meant to establish. accommodates quite well to ~ moral outlook in which the infusion of higher power is the source of the hIghe r. In fact. . where the goods o f the soul are stressed over those of worldly action.t han one IS inflicting injustice..2 But this is all the prehistory of the story I want to tell. one where reason is paramo unt. 534B). just-and thus happy-person is disinterested in the world of power. Plato m some dialogues (e. In Plato's view the virtuous man acts in a characteristically different pattern from the vicious one. Reason is the capacity to see and understand. so that any pattern of action could consist with the absence of true goodness-i. but I don't think it was an accident that fragmentation and divine infusion of power belonged together. The correct vision or understanding of ourselves is one which grasps the natural order. like everyone. the analog ue of health. of course. And given th e nature of his theory. not external success. 6. of a good will. Indeed. (Of course. enjoying concord and harmony. the truly wise. or that both were set aside in the Platoni c formulation of the view which comes to dominate.7 We have to wait until Augustine before a theory of this kind. and vice would be d isease. on the other hand. of the immaterial as against the bodily. ugliness and weakness" (444D-E).e. It is these which carry the main weight in Plato's formulations. and sickness is where this order is inverted.. the Gorgias) argues forcefully that one i s better o~f being a just man. for instance. I2I point Kant will bring us to. The noti on of reason is closely connected to that of order. Thus if we th ink of the external as the realm of action in the polis. One could. then we could express the doctrine of the hegemony of reason in contrast to that of glorious action as an exaltation of the interna l over the external. where the right is a matter of inner intention. to give a convincing picture of the outlook of Homeric man. use the language of 'inside/outsid e' to formulate the opposition of the Platonic to the warrior ethic. we aren't yet at the Plato's Self-Mastery . The soul by its n ature needs or tends towards a certain kind of order.. But extern al success may escape him. Plurality of locus. One feature of this natural order is the requirement itself that r . but the centring is not this internalization its elf. the mo dern notion of interiority could never have developed. For what th e former conside~s crucial is the disposition of the soul. To grasp by reason is to be able t o "give reasons". and of the eternal as against the changin g. So "virtue . however successfully. The health analogy plays an important role for him. h e argues that bodily health too is a matter of the proper elements ruling and be ing ruled. even if one suffers terribly fo~ o~e's virtue. Without the unified self which we see articulated in Plato's theory. is formulated in terms of inner and outer. as we have seen. But this latter is not just less informative than the standard Platonic oppositi ons. I find it hard. and the internal as tha t of the soul's disposition. But it took a further step to bring it about.) But in fact.

of strong evaluation.o call 'internal' that between the diffe rent goals. The love of the eternal. For the right order in us is to be ruled by reason.eason should rule. as far as may be. This is related to the right order of the soul as whole is to part. but fixes his gaze u pon the things of the eternal and unchanging order. and so en gaging in strife with them to be filled with envy and hate. and at the same time. ph ilosophers look for beauty ItSelf. and "wander between generation and destructi on" ("planomenes hupo geneseos kai phthoras". But the correct order also establishes priorities among our different appetites and activities. since the Good is what commands our categorical love and allegiance. not just desirable given our existing goals and appetIte s. the man whose mind is truly fixed on eternal realities h as no leisure to turn his eyes downward upon the petty affairs of men. But people who thus love th e eternal. as englobing to englobed. The good of the whole. something that remains always the same. The correct vision is criteriaI. something which stands on its own as worthy of b ~mg desired and sought. we can see that our good.r of things or the morally good-who might believe. Philosophers love the eternal trut h. The real point is that it is only on the level of th e whole order that one can see that everything is ordered for the good. It makes no sense for Plato to imagine a perfectly rational person who would nevertheless have quite erroneous views a~out the orde. which one cannot see without loving. has this categoric worth. So reason can be understood as the perception of the natural or right order. Or do you think it possible not to imitate the things to which anyone attaches himself with admiration? (sooB-C) Reason reaches its fulness in the vision of the larger order. Thus the good life for us is to be ruled by reason not just as the v~s~o n of correct order in our souls but also and more fundamentally as the VISIon of the good order of the whole. Plato's Self-Mastery· I23 Plato argues. Plato offers what we can call a substantive conception of reason. M. he argues: For surely. the perception of the G~od is what makes us truly v irtuous. which is also the . but all abide in harmony as reason bids. and elements m the without the other. cannot help but be morally good. It provides the standard of the desirable beyond the variation of de facto de sire. m a Democntan universe of acciden tally concatenating atoms. Adeimantus. is the final good. whIch cannot come ab out unless reason reaches its full realization which is in the perception of the Good. 48SB). But it is not more impo rtant just for this reason.stead of looking for beautiful sights and sounds. while beautiful objects vary and change. But the order with which reason is thus criterially connected is not just the one we might be tempted t. which it enjoys as a proper part of the whole order. The surest basis for virtue is the perception of this order. they will necessarily have all th e virtues (486-487). as against ordinary men who are lovers of spectacles and the arts or are just men of action (476B-C). Again later. There is no way one could be ruled by reason and be mistaken or wrong abou.t the order of reality. and to be ruled by reason is to be ruled by a vision of this or der. because the love of order will itself bring order (d. It is the ultimat e source. to fashion himself in t heir likeness and assimilate himself to them. And we cannot see one of these fundamental is the connecti on with the order of things in the cosmos. and so to realize our capacity for reason is t o see the order as it is. In the light of the Good. distinguishes between necessary and unnecessary desires (55 8-5 59). 442E) . Rationality is tied to the perception of order. It not only includes them but confers a higher dignity on them. the one which englobes all parti al goods. In. whose order man ifests the Idea of the Good. he will endeavour to imitate them and. and the like. for instance. appetites. " The vision of the good is at the very cent re of Plato s doctnne of moral resources. good order IS the ultimate source and the true form of our love of good action and the good life. the proper order in ou r souls. and so there is a self-affirming aspect of reason's hegemony. and seeing that they neither wrong nor are wronged by one another. That is wh y philosophy is the best safeguard of virtue. or might hold that the end of life was accumulating p ower or wealth.

We instinctively feel we understand what this moral theory is abo ut. the image of the soul's eye helps to clarify Plato's notion of reason. That is why he wants to formulate his position in terms of the op positions bodily/immaterial. It is not a matter of internalizing a capacity but rather of a conversion (periagoge. then our becoming rational ought not most perspi cuously to be described as something that takes place in us. as it were. S18E). more readily ac . Some people. but rather better a s our connecting up to the larger order in which we are placed. The question of which element in us rules translates immediately into a question of what the soul as a whole attends to and loves: the eternal o rder of being. illuminated reality. Plato's moral theory see ms in some ways very familiar and understandable to us. Not what happens within it but where it is facing in the metaphysical landscape is what matters. since for Plato th e logos was in reality as well as in us. so the whole soul must be turne d to attain wisdom. The soul as immateria l and eternal ought to turn to what is immaterial and eternal. 518E) doesn't come to be in this way. Some people think. so reason cannot realize its function until we are turne d towards real being. or perhaps our acceding to a higher condition ought to be seen as something which takes place in the "space" between us and this order of the good. 6. in the Good. are focussed entirely on the bodily and the c hanging. or else the changing play of sights and sounds and the bodily per ishable. But the specific virtue of thought (he d e tau phronesai. the lovers of sights an d sounds and beautiful spectacles. The model here would be th e virtues and capacities of the body. but it actually tends to obscure the fact that the cruci al issue is what objects the soul attends to and feeds on. At the same time. We see it as one of our contemporary option s. which consists in reason ruling ov er desires. Reason is our capacity to see being. They can be seen as out side us. This is so when we descr ibe it as calling for a kind of self-mastery. once a correct vision of the ord er is criterial to rationality. the moral sources we accede to by reason are not within us. And this is why the language of inside/outside can in a sens e be misleading as a formulation of Plato's position. he says. and the move from illusion to wisdom is to be likened to our turning the soul's eye around to face in the right direction. we should speak of rule by a vision of rational order. In an important sense. Once reason is substantively defined. and p ut them where they didn't exist before. But it begins to seem strange when we understand that the rule of reason is to b e understood as rule by a rational vision of order-or better. for these define the possible dir ections of our awareness and desire. But just as the physical eye can only be turned by swivelling the whole body. For Plato the key issue is what the soul is dir ected towards. changing/eternal. The transformation which I want to call 'internalization' consists in a replacem ent of this understanding of the dominance of reason by another. To be ruled by reason means to have one's life shaped by a pre-existent rational order which one knows and loves. and why the vision of the true order is criteria I for rat ionality. whether we agree with it or not. Just as the e ye cannot exercise its function of seeing unless there is reality there and it i s properly illuminated. a self-control which contrasts to being dominated by one's appetites and passions.3 To return to my point at the beginning of this chapter. illuminated by the Good. And Plato does turn to an image of this kind at the culmination of his great all egory of the Cave. That is why reason has to be unde rstood substantively. We incorporate them in us. Making those people wise is a matter of turning the soul's gaze from th e darkness to the brightness of true being (SI8C). Not only is the inner/outer dichotomy not u seful for this purpose. that education is a matter of put ting true knowledge into a soul that doesn't have of the Good. which Plato agrees should be seen as thing s we acquire by habit and practice. Rather we should see ours elves as having something like a capacity of vision which is forever unimpaired.

cessible to our minds. One can say that. A s agents. Theoria. Each kind of thing. this practical wisdom is a kind of awareness of order. It seems as though the secon d is an essential condition of the first. humans thus participate in the same r ational order which they can also contemplate and admire in science. both in that as rational life reason is the most i mportant determinant of my ends. It is an understanding of the ever-changing. because the Stoic sage comes to love th e goodness of the whole. Aristotle finds this unacceptable. at least. The complete goo d of human life as rational doesn't simply consist in ethical excellence. Our grasp of the right order and priority of ends in life cannot be of this ki nd. Throughout the revisions of P lato which the other schools descending from Socrates wrought. The good life for human beings is as it is because of humans' nature as rational life. and because this vision is the fulfilment of his nature as a rational being. moved by the love of God. Aristotle. And yet for Aristotle. The representative figure of this modern view. Aristotle takes over the medical analogy from Plato and sees the good life as like health. where each el ement must be held between the limits of too much and too little for the balance and well-being of the whole. Man is to be understood as a rational animal. It is this positive love which liberates him from caring for the par ticular advantageous or unfavourable outcomes which hold most men in hope and fe ar. rather than with satisfaction or dismay at success or setback in . Humanity is part of the order of beings. The vicious person is moved by passions. And the fulfilment of these requires a gr asp of the cosmic order. strives to reach its perfection and hence fulfils its nature. It is not only that wis dom involves seeing through the falseness of the goods which ordinary men's pass ions relate to. or. But for the Stoics too rationality is a vision of order. This model remained dominant in the ancient world. each with its own nature. who has disposed everything fo r the best. pain and pleasure. Our grasp of the cosmic order is a kind of science in the strong sense of a knowledge of the unchanging and eternal . in which the order involved in the paramountcy of reason is made. th e correct order of ends in my life. The practical ly wise man (phronimos) has a knowledge of hqw to behave in each particular circ umstance which can never be equated with or reduced to a knowledge of general tr uths. Practical wisdom (phronesis) is a not fully articulable sense rather than a kind of science. phronesis. This negative ·understanding was the flip side of a positive insig ht. H e had a powerful vision of the providence of God. The Stoics broke with both Plato and Aristotle by rejecting altogether the value of contemplation. he responds to each new event with equal joy as an element of this whole. he is who I want to talk about in this connection. But before we turn to him. a few words about the historic impact of the Platonic model. at least as he sets things out in the Republic. Moreover. AI)d the good order of my life is essentially conn ected with my being rational. striving for ethical excellence. which integrates all my goals and desires in to a unified whole in which each has its proper weight. or contemplation of the unchanging order. for ins tance. Reason shows us what the good li fe is. in which particular cases and p redicaments are never exhaustively characterized in general rules. rebels against the tight connection Plato made between awareness of right order in our lives and of the order of the cosmos. But the link between the two orders is also ontological. and also in that it is through one of the excel lences of reason. it als o includes the excellences of science. to be contras ted to Plato. Attending to both orders is thus constitutive of the hu man good. and passions can be understood a s false opinions about the good. is Descartes. not found. that I can determine my life by this order. The Stoic sage saw the goodness of the whole order of things and loved it. Plato's Self-Mastery· I25 the same basic understanding of the rule by reason continues. The wise person is fully free of these. although Aristotle distinguishes the knowledge of the eternal order fr om our awareness of the right order of life. is one of the highe st activities of man. they both remain essential to the g ood life. but the reason he is called on to realize is purely practical. one which brings him close to the divine.

The word has a bewildering number of definitions. There is a lot of truth in this description. This notion of an inner voice or impulse. then its relation to the philosophies of nature as source can be clearly stated. however. only in this limit case. But seeing th ese pleasures aright involves seeing the correct order of valuation among them. My claim is rather that the picture of nature as a source was a cruc ial part of the conceptual armoury in which Romanticism arose and conquered Euro pean culture and sensibility. as against s imply a conceptual muddle hidden in a single term. In France the ho ld of neo-Classicism was always strong. and o f feeling. so much so that it is temptin g to identify them. the Romantics affirmed the rights of the individual. Rousseau is natural ly its point of departure. the idea that we find the truth within us.1 Kant offers one form of modern internalization.. what reason sees in the cosmos f or the Epicurean is the lack of order. the drift of atoms in the void. viz. I would like to argue that even the limit case. that is. the very notion of a rational order in the cosmos on which humans can model themselves. 1 There is. indeed. will come out much more clearly after I hav e looked at Descartes. by Hegel and becomes one of the constituent strea ms of modern culture. a way of finding the go od in our inner motivation. one popular picture of what Romanticism is. Another comes with that family of views in the late eighteenth century that represents nature as an inner source. remain within th e bounds of the Platonic model in an important sense. and in particular in our The Expressivist Turn' 369 . That is why the Stoic teachers insisted that their physics was the gr ound of their ethics. the path of wisdom is to see through all such false illusions of order or di vine purpose and to focus on the pleasures that human life offers. The philosophy of nature as source was central to the great upheaval in thought and sensibility that we refer to as 'Romanticism'. This may sound at the present stage of the argument like mere sophistry. thereafter it is taken up not only by Romantic writers but by Goethe and. Epicurus is the limit case because he denies what is most essential for Plato. in that a visi on of the cosmic order becomes an essential condition of true virtue and practic al wisdom. no value in mere contemplation. and some have even doubted that there is such a unified phenomenon. which seems rather disconnected from any doctrine about nature. On the contra ry. Against the classical stress on rationalism. particularly applied to the wave of French Romanticism in the early nineteenth century. Only unlike Plato. But as the mention of Goethe and Hegel shows. Th e analogy I am pointing to. I have no desire to overlook the immense difference between Epicurus' disenchanted view of the cosmos and the Platonic notions of order. this would be too simple. tradition. and it took a revolutionary movement to displace it. I am speaking abou t views which arise with the German Sturm und Drang and continue developing ther eafter through the Romantic period. If we define Romanticism in this way. there is no value in this knowledge of the cosmos for its own sake. And both here and in the cosmos. and its first important articulation comes perhaps in the work of Herder. This sees the movement as a rebell ion against the construction of neo-Classical norms in art and especially litera ture. the whole point of science is to make men better. *****END OF SECTION 6 THE EXPRESSIVIST TURN 21. or one resulting purely from chance. and formal harmony . of the imagination. And so in a sense the Stoics take Plato's part against Aristotle. reason is understood as the capacity to see the order which is there.his particular life-plan. both English and German. in another way. the Epicureans.

The medium is here integral to the message: those who haven't grasped the significance of things inwardly. accordmg to the measure of their relation to him. on the Lockean variant). haven't really got the pomt at all. Schelling. held views about the natural order as harmonious and providentially create d which were not greatly at odds with those of. Shaftesb ury was often an important source.otion that our access to this order is primarily inward.ning through all valued as endorsed by the Divine plan.4 This philosophy of nature as source seems essential to Romanticism but the conve rse is not the case. Man is the .s for instance. We come to appreciate this by seemg the order of things and inferring its divine origin.. This in turn makes sense of and justifi es our moral sentiments. it is the voice of one's self. ("See the whole of nature.the shift is towards a less intellectual view. that . as well as Rousseau. with which they should be in harm~ny. Sometimes the voice or impulse is seen as partICular t o the person himself. In their external tenets the doctrines may seem to be the same.t ze Leben". Everythmg feels itself and its like. so that both attaining these fulfilments for oneself and securing them for others took on a higher importance and were strong. Alles fiihlt sich u nd seines Gleichen Leben walle. And indeed. Som~times It IS also seen as the impulse in us of nature.feelings-these were the crucial justifying concepts of the Romantic rebellion in its various forms. We can think of the change in these terms: any theology includes some notion of how we can come in contact with God or his . run. for inst ance. which no longer places such reliance on proofs of div ine creation from design but which can ground all this instead in inner convicti on. This is the voice of nature within us. To have a proper moral stance towards the natural order IS to have access to one's inner voice. We can't think of it as an identical message. Hold erlm. THE VOICE OF NA TURE importance of our own natural fulfilment and of solidarity with our fellow creat ures in theirs. let us r emember.). This was the case with Goethe. It may appear th at only the mode. say. "Siehe d ie ganze Natur. external understanding of the world as providential . behold th e great analogy of creatIOn.. On the views I now want to consider the sense of this significance comes from wi thin. this was perhaps more commo n among the French writers like Lamartine or Musset who ~o~ght in their poetry t o give authentic expression to their feelings.3 This I S :he pI~ture wh~ch was taken up by the German writers of the 1790'S.7 But of course this change in the mode of access already implies some change in t he idea of what it is to acknowledge the providential si~nificance of things. nach dem Masse es ihm verwa ndt 1St: werde" ("~hat he bec?me the organ of sense of his God in all the living ~hmgs ~f creatlO~. ~atI want to get at in s peaking of nature as an inner source is the subtle but Important difference with the earlier views which resides in the Rousseauian l).creatu:. His callmg as an epitome and steward of creation" is "dass er Sens orium seines ~ottes in allem Lebenden der Schopfung. 2 But this idea was m~ch further elaborated in Germany. those who have only a cold.e wh~ can become aware of this and bring it t o expression. That is why Rousseau is so ~f ten their starting point. as the larger order in which we are set. betrachte die grosse Analogle der Schopfung.nce ived as a providential order. Herder offered a picture of nature as a great current of sympathy. Herder. The Deist providential order showed human life and its ordinary fulfilments to be marked as significant. They were indispensable to it.6 All these writers see human beings as set in a larger natural order often cO.g. for German wnters. available either by external argument from design or by inner intuition. This was the c ase with some English writers like Blake and in a different way also Wordsworth. if these figure in our theory (as they do not. It is an inner impulse or conviction which tells us of the 370 . Hutcheson. In thl~ resp ect. life reverbera tes to life"). of access to the truth has changed. they are at one with earlier Deism. It can continue to inform the vision of writers even when t hey have put Romanticism-defined as the rejection of classi~ order-behind them. and Novalis. e. and with Hegel.

we cannot recover contact with it. schoner Gotterfunken. according to other variants. It is through our feelings that we get to the deep est moral and. This is the more evident. . a nd this we see in the Romantic generation with the early Schelling. a subtle but important change was already introduced. as we can see in Rousseau. that all desire alike is for hap?i?ess. our will needs to be transformed. cosmic truths. quite in line with standard Deism. God. w e are out of phase with it. following the lead of Deism in which God's relation to us passes mainly thro ugh his order. B ut at the time which I'm now discussing. 37I Joy". it can be stifled in us. but we can lose contact with it. Nature stands as a reservoir of good. for instan ce. revivifying us and r estoring us to fraternity. What is primary is the voice within or. a radical change in this latter doctrine means an alteration in our u nderstanding of God and creation as well. In this stance we may believe. that it is only properly understood inwardly. for instance . e ven if this was not entirely appreciated at its inception. A slide to a kind of pantheism is all too easy. doctrines about the world as a providenti al creation. We can go further again. while it goes beyond the Deism of Shaftesb ury and Hutcheson. Some theorists subscribed to th e basic orthodox.purposes. There is more than an analogy here. in that the opposition between the cold. is to be interpreted in terms of what we see striving in nature and f inding voice within ourselves. and later in the German Romantics. and later in another form with Hegel. But m fact. until we get a view like Goethe's. any convergence of materialism and the view of nature as a source is still well in the future. as we had to open ourselves to God's grace on the orthodox t heory. as a merely observed order. Thu s in Schiller's "Ode to The Expressivist Turn . as we saw. But once one admits that access to the significance of things is inward. cut off from It. the elan running through natu re which emerges inter alia in the voice within. one can quietly slip one's moorings in orthodox formulations. We must open ourselves up to the ela n of nature within. external unde rstanding and the inner grasp of things was a polemical one for these theories. But plainly a slide was now possible. then. indeed. that all people ar e similarly motivated. And indeed . of innoce nt desire or benevolence and love of the good: In the stance of disengagement. "Das Herz ist der Schliissel der Welt und . Orthodoxy is believable. a theory of nature as a source can be combined with some form of Christian fai th. And what can stifle it is precisely the disengaged stance of calculating reason the view of nature from the outside. This is in any case the ultimate logic of a theory of nature as inner source. The slide from an orthodox view to a secularized variant of this religion of nature could be made through a series of intermediate stages almost without noticing the break. I have already tried to show how even in these cases. Tochter aus Elysium". there is also a filiation. The filiatio~ with earli er theories of grace is evident. and the only thing that can do it is the recovery of co ntact with the impulse of nature within us. and will require. or even theism. But later the whole order is seen to presuppose the loving father: "Uber fernem Sternenzelt / Muss ein lieber Vate r wohnen". and ultimately come close to joining with the explorati ons of naturalism that I adumbrated in the previous chapter: the significance of things is one that emerges out of physical nature and our own material being. is first addressed in a rather "pagan" image: "Freude . with Enlightenment naturalism. It stands with them in giving a central and positive place to sentiment in the moral life. ultimately as the best interpretation of this voice or elan. or at least Deistic. The philosophy of nature as a source. This slide can go further and take us ou tside of properly Christian forms. for th ose who believe it. obviously stands with them in their critique of Locke and the extrinsic theory. some loosening of the close connection between materialism and the disengag ed stance. or the views which were reflected in the widespread invocations of Spinoza i n the Romantic period. a~d that what mat ters is how enlightened or misguided our search for It IS. They follow Rousseau in propounding a two-loves view: the inner voice is our mod e of access. even easy. the great current of life which flows through nature.

that in relation to the Aristotelian model. The difference with Aristotle is this: the "sentiments" valued on the Aristoteli an perspective are defined in terms of the mode of life or actions they move us to. The difference in relation to the Platonic model is that here the "sentiments" ar e defined by the transcendent object of love. But we come to define what nature is as a source in the course of articulating what it inclines us to.. underived definition of the good. But unlike this. while for nature as source we might j~st as ~ell say that the way of life or action is defined by the sentiments. analogous to the one away from orthodox theology. respo~d to the current of life in nature. f or Christian theology. as it were. The first difference above. And this articulation must be partly in terms of sentiment. the appro . if not more. For He rder. if these impulses are an indispensable part of our access to this force. To be in tune wIth nature IS to experience these desires as rich. this is not new. such as our sense of onene ss with humanity or a response of joy and reverence to the spectacle of untamed nature. as signifi~ant-to . for this grew out of them all 372 .. not ind~vidual and local but general and operative. We can believe that we c an attain a description of this object independent of our The Expressivist Turn' 373 feelings. all passions and sensations "can and must be operative. fundamental in ~efining the good life as any a ctions. then it can also slip its moorings and depart from -the traditional ethical codes. virtue consisted in having dispositions to do the good willingly. an~ the larger natural order in which we are set.g moral obligatlon reside so exclusively in action s and cutting out motlvatlOn altogether.. For Aristotle . The reqUirement m thIS new philosophy that I be in tune with the impulse of nature could be s. Wordsworth concurs with Aristotle that: "Poetry is t he most philosophic of all writing: . If the go od life is defined partly in terms of certain sentiments. This makes the analogy wi th Plato's love of the Good.een just as another demand of love: now the nature which speaks through me IS the good which must be cherished. truth which is its own testimony" . But there is something dis analogous to all these precedents in the philosophy o f nature as source. Certam feelmgs.des Lebens". By itsel f. For Plato. ou r ordinary desires and fulfi!ments. this philosophy takes the centrality of sentiment to unhea~d-?f lengths. This places a value on our sentiments f?r themselves. the Good. IS ~he Enlightenment theories w hich are exceptional in m~kin. being attuned to it a~d not ~ut off from it. 8 Indeed . as full. Unlike the Aristotelian ethic it doesn't define certam motivations as virt uous in terms of the actions they move us to. as we have seen. But this is i nseparable from how I feel. the . gives ri se to another slide.tly m of t~e G?od or of God is at the very centre of the good life. We might even argue that it. The good life is originally defined par. although the object properly understood must command our love and awe. From this perspective. It is more directly concerned with how we feel about the world and our lives in general. At first. THE VOICE OF NA TURE and can only live in them". So once again. wh~t is required is not the love o f some transcendent object but rather a certam way of experiencing our lives. This is why late-eighteenth-century sentImentalism. If we think of nature as a force. then we can only know what it is by articulating what these impulses impel us to. which emerges in our own inner impulses. It really is a ma tter of havmg certam sentzments as well as of aiming at or doing certain things. when it moved beyond the early influential formulations of Rousseau. not standing upon external testtmony. found its natural home in the philo sophies of nature as a source. as I discussed ih Part I. from my havmg sentlme~t~ of a certain sort. our sentiments are integral to our most original.rms of certain sentimen ts. but carri :d alive into the heart by passion. an elan running throu gh the world. are just as. its object is truth. a central part of the good life must consIst m being open to t he impulse of nature. precisely in the h ighest knowledge. says Novalis ("The heart is the key to the world and life").

We have perhaps come to the end of this road only in our own time. Rousseau or Herder. sensuality can itself be made significant. This is the view that I have called elsewhere 'expressivism' . along with a new understanding of ' natural and artistic beauty. taking something. as were the traditional limits on sensual fulfilment by. I express my thoughts in the words I speak or write.2 If our access to nature is through an inner voice or impulse. Sometimes that canbe the case. as when I finall y reveal my feelings that I had already put in words for myself long ago. Is there any more point in drawing them? If we disregard Nietzsche's polemic against the 'moral' and just try to c lassify his superman ideal for ourselves. and more on the quality of the experience evoked. The good life comes to consist in a perfect fusion of the sensual and the spiritual. developed by. This connects to another crucial feature of this new philosophy of nature. But even had he intended it to. This can be interpreted in a way which abandons the usual res traints on sensual fulfilment. Nietzsche. then we can only f ully know this nature through articulating what we find within us. we have the notion of making something manifest. THE VOICE OF NA TURE cence. and in each case in a medium with certain specific properties. not in the way that 'ne pas fumer' adequately renders the instruction 'no smoking' into French. where our sensu al fulfilments are experienced as having higher significance. But this. Baumgarten. with the "flower generation" of th e 1960's. It is eventua lly articulated most memorably by that great anti-Romantic. we sense t hat we cannot fully render this in another form.lO Now that ethics came to be defined partly in terms of sentiments. and giving it a specific shape. the idea that its realization in each of us is also a form of expression. and benefi 374 . along either of these paths. we have difficulty in distinguishing sharply between medium and 'mess age'. I. and when. tends to dissolve the distinction betwe en the ethical and the aesthetic. To express something is to make it manifest in a given medium. The category of the aesthetic itself develops in the eighteenth century. But the way is open for a redefinition.9 The journey along this path takes us beyond the period now being discussed. this couldn't be an' adequate rendition of Nietzsche's work into another medium. mo reover. . Even when it is clear that they are saying something. But when it is a matter of sentiments. The very term 'aesthetic' poin ts us to a mode of experience. inter alia. more vibran t quality to life. following moral sense theory. the expression will also involve a formulation o f what I have to say. For works of art. happens later. In partial attunement to the outlook of Enlightenm ent materialism. I express my vision of things in some work of art. say. a sense of things. the lines become easier to fudge.11 I am focussing on particular features o f expression in using this' term. Renewed contact wit h the deep sources in nature can be seen as conferring a heightened. Benevolence and sympathy ar e seen as natural.priate sentiments are defined very much in congruence with the ethic of ordinary life and benevolence. would we call it ethical or aesthetic? Doesn't this opposition turn out to be false here? 21. 'the source which gives heightened vibrancy to our lives can be detac hed from benevolence and solidarity. We usually think it is easy to distinguish ethical and aesthetic objects or issues. the 'ethical' ones are redefined in a way which abandons the traditional virtues of temperance. This slide. and Kan t. we readily sense that being in the medium they are is in tegral to them. a vision. In all these cases. justice. too. which focussed less on the nature of the object. And this tended to be the focus of various theori es of the century. then the lines seem difficult to draw. Richard Strauss may write a tOn e poem Also Sprach Zarathustra. which was inchoate and only partly formed. I express my feelings in my face. the Abbe du Bos. But to talk of 'making manifest' doesn't imply that what is so revealed was alre ady fully formulated beforehand. In this kin d of case. perha ps a novel or a play. But in the case of the novel or play.

Leibniz was an important sour ce for expressivism. I use it only because it is more generally recognizable to us in th is field of artistic works. the voice or impulse. The monad was a proto-self. and that this originality determines how he or she ought to live. In realizing my nature. a bringing of something to be.And so for this kind of expressive object. Nature is now within. Following you may be betraying my own calling. Herder formulated this idea in a telling image: "Jeder Mensch hat ein eignes Mas s. as it were an accord peculiar to him of all his feelings to each other"}. of course. but a being capable of self-articulation. they lay the obligation on each of us to live up to o ur originality. But there is an importantly different twist. Fulfilling my nature means espousing the inner elan. Paul. Expressivism was the basis for a new and fuller individuation. And this makes what was hidden manifest for both myself and others. each of us has our own calling. and thus giving my life a definitive shape. This conception reflects the return in force of biological models of growth. What is new is the idea that this really makes a differenc e to how we're called on to live. His notion of a monad already effected the connection betwe en the Aristotelian idea of nature and a subject-like particular. and then taken up again by the Puritans. and we 376' THE VOICE OF NATURE shouldn't exchange them. 375 is to be realized. Herder sees g rowth as the manifestation of an inner power (he speaks of 'Kra(te'). This is the idea which grows in the late eighteenth century that each individual is different and original. which we see expressed in St. gleichsam eine eigne Stimmung aller seiner sinn lichen Gefiihle zu einander" ("Each human being has his own measure. or else moral differences between good and bad individuals. Here we have the notion that the good life for you is not the same as the good life for mr. striving t o realize itself externally. It is no longer some impersonal 'Form' or 'nature' which comes to ac tuality. even tho . the Aristotelian con cepts have been interwoven with the modern notion of expression as an articulati on which both manifests and defines. we think of its "creation" as not only a making manifest but also a making. This is closely tied to the idea of a self. A human life is seen as manifesting a potential which is also being shaped by th is manifestation. The direction of this elan wasn't and couldn't be clear prior to this manifestation. a subject. This notion of expression is itself modern. I have to define it in the sense of giving it some formulation. models which Herder articulated so well and so effectively in this peri od. The differences are not just umimportant varia tions within the same basic human nature. Rather they entail that each ope of us has an original pat h which we ought to tread. My claim is that the idea of nature as an intrinsic source goes along with an expressive view of human life. We can see ideas in the tradition which prepared the way for this-for instance. one which is properly his or her own. as against the mechanistic ones of association. But this manifestation also helps to define what The Expressivist Turn . or more banal. Indeed. Where Aristotle speaks of the nature of a thing tending towards its complete form. Nothing is more ev ident. the Christian notion of a variety of gifts which is correlative to the variety o f vocations. It grows at the same time as the understanding of human life that I am trying to formulate. but this is also a definition in a stronger sens e: I am realizing this formulation. it is not just a matter of copying an external model or carryi ng out an already determinate formulation.12 Each person is to be measured by a different yardstick. Jus t the notion of individual difference is. In fact. it is one facet of it. This obviously owes a great deal to Aristotle's idea of nature which actuali zes its potential. not new. in the account of human mental deve lopment.

It fed on a host of things: i n part. the question of what kind and level of reality was to be i mitated. If to define myself is to bring what is as yet imperfectly determined to full definition. In our civilization.) This is one of the originating ideas of modern nationalism. rugged. 377 mimesis. and we find it hard to accept that it is such a recent idea in human history and would have been incomprehensible in earlier times. This is the shift which M. Abrams described so well in The Mirror and the Lam p. What the voice of nature calls us to cannot be fully known outside of and prior to our articulation/definition of ~t. that early people spoke in tropes because they spoke from the heart and the n atural expression of feeling is poetry.. both formulates and shape s. Art imitates reality. We can only kno w what realizing our deep nature is when we have done It. But in thus being made central. (In particular. In addition. unspoilt. the new valuation of sentiment gave a higher significance to its express ion. Sulzer. Ger mans shouldn't ape Frenchmen. i n some respects replacing religion. Herder also use d it to formulate a notion of national culture. This of course left a number of crucial questions open: in particular. influent ial writers on aesthetics. and turned people towards folk poetry (Herd er played a particularly important role here) as well as towards Homer. This could easily combine with the primi tivist sentiment that the earliest. why should it not also be true for each human being i n particular? Just as the manifestations of the great current of life in the res t of nature can't be the same as its realization in human life so its realizatio n in you may be different from its realization in me. and shouldn't betray it by aping others. in part also. This radical individuation was obviously facilitated by expressivism and the not ion of nature as a source. What the late eighteenth century adds is th e notion of originality. If expression defines in a double sense. The awe we feel before artlstic originality and creativity places art on the border of the numinous. H. Was it the empirical reality surrounding us? Or the higher reality of t he Forms? And what was the relation between them? But on the new understanding. So much so that we barely notice i t. G. The traditional understanding of art was as The Expressivist Turn .ugh you are being faithful to yours. completing it. and this may be without pr ecedent. strongly expressive poetry grew in the se cond half of the eighteenth century. then art can no longer be def ined in traditional terms. if the par adigm vehicle for doing this is artistic creation. and reflects the crucia l place that creation/expression has in our understanding of human life. Expressive individuation has beco me one of the cornerstones of modern culture.14 But som . then the most important human activity will partake of this nature. and early. If nat~re is an intrinsic source. We are all cal led to live up to our originality. anticolonialist. art is not imitation. A dmiration for early. but expression in the sense discussed here. could declar e Aristotle's mimesis theory erroneous as far as poetry was concerned. It makes somet hing manifest while at the same time realizing it. In the 1770'S.13 The move from mimesis to expression was under way well before the Romantic period. then each of us has to follow what is within. and even the entirely invented writer 'Ossian'. art was also reinterpreted. We should not hope to find our models without. i. Different Volker have their own way of being human. The activ ity by which human beings realize their nature will also define in this double s ense. moulded by expres sivist conceptions. It is art which comes to fill this niche. like Sir William Jones and J. this notion of originality as a vocation holds not only between individuals. But if this is true fo r human beings in general.e. the Hebre w Bible. This has been a tremendously influential idea. throughout the eighteenth century in fact. most primitive poetry was also the purest. . It goes beyond a fixed set of callings to the notion th at each human being has some original and unrepeatable "measure". it has come to take a central place in our spiri~u~l life. But Herder was also a passionate. the new conceptions of the origins of language and culture in the expressive cry lent colour to the view that the earliest speech was poetica l. The expressive view of human life went along naturally wlth a new understanding of art.

the work of art now doesn't so much manifest 378 . as most of the great writers did in the Romantic epoch. which simply brings back to mind what we have The Expressivist Turn . what r escues us from the deadening grip of disengaged reason. on one hand. manifestation required articulation. what is hidden and unrevea led in nature becomes manifest.ething further was needed to produce the conception of art of the Romantic age a nd that was what I have been calling the idea of nature as a source. as Schleiermacher sees it.. It is now what realizes and completes us as human beings. 379 already experienced. The theme which had been developing si nce the Renaissance of the artist as creator is taken up with a new intensity. THE VOICE OF NA TURE something visible beyond itself as constitute itself as the locus of manifestatio n. It creates anew the universe after it has been annihilated in our minds b y the recurrence of impressions blunted by reiteration". It is in th e eighteenth century that the distinction arises between the merely reproductive imagination. or a transfiguration. That is why the writers of this period give such a central role to the creative imagination. perhaps combined in novel ways.). he presents them with the heavenly and eternal as an object of pleasure and unity. 15" The creation here i s also a manifestation. It takes t his up in a revolution of moral ideas which confers tremendous significance on t his expressjon. and lays bare the naked and sleeping be auty which is the spirit of its forms". The expressive theory of art is given a crucia lly human and even cosmic significance. Through art. the poet "strips the veil of familiarity from the world. A cosmic dimension intrudes to the extent that we see the source not just as nat ure in us but as linked with the larger current of life or being. This distinction becomes of vital importance in the Romantic period. on the other.. and the creati ve imagination which can produce something new and unprecedented. ein wahrer Priester des Hochsten. d ie nur das Endliche und Geringe zu fassen gewohnt sind. And something similar is irtdicate d by Wordsworth when he speaks of How exquisitely the individual Mind . Herder puts it too bluntly: "The artist is become a creator God". a true priest of the Highest in that he brings Him [God] doser to those who are used to grasping only the finite and the trifling. the artist can be likened to a priest.1? Perhaps an i mage for the Romantic artist which captures better the blend of making and revea ling was that of the soothsayer or seer. It makes us inhabitants of a world to which the familiar world is a cha os .. This revolution not only extends the expressive interpretation beyond poetry (and of course also music.20 But as I argued above. And the creation (by no lower name Can it be called) which they with blended mig ht Accomplish16 . Th e artist creates not in imitation of anything phenomenally pre-existing.. to the external World is fitted:-and how exquisitely too The external World is fitted to the Mind. By anal ogy. "Jeder Kiinstler ist Mittler fiir alle iibrigen" ("Every artist is a mediator for all others. this revelation involved not just a copying of what was a lready formulated. Shelley draws on the language of Renaissance neo-Platonists in saying that po etry is "the creation of actions according to the unchangeable forms of human na ture . This goes b eyond the doctrine that poetry is primarily an expression of feeling.19 As a mediator of spiritual reality to humans. in being taken up into the expressivist conception of mankind and nature. er stellet ihnen das Him mlische und Ewige dar als ein Gegenstand des Genusses und der Vereinigung. Coleridge f ormulated it in his celebrated opposition between 'fancy' (which merely reproduc .. indem er ihn [Gott] denjenigen naher bringt.18 For Shelley... where it had always had a footing) to art in general but also gives art its new and exalted status in human life. T he artist doesn't imitate nature so much as he imitates the author of nature.

23 It can't be separated from what it reveals. Even the more recent. can become visible. and while it enunciates the whole. Schlegel put it: "Wie kann nun das Unendliche auf die Oberflache zur Erscheinung gebracht werden? Nur symbolisch. what is manifested ought to be available o nly in the symbol.25 This concept of the symbol is what underlies the ideal of a complete interpenetr ation of matter and form in the work of art. This is why the Romanti c period developed its particular concept of the symbol. the Romantic idea developed out of the Deist order of harmonized natur es. eighteent h-century order of interlocking purposes became harder to credit. in pictures and signs. the rise of materialist views. and not merely pointed to as an independent object whose natu re could be defined in some other medium. One of the sources for this conception of the perfect symbol was Kant's third 380. The all act and the imagination proper. But there were also reasons particular to the Romantic and expressivist outlooks . the new scientific discoveries t hat placed the universe in a time scale of cataclysmic changes which dwarfed the earlier. cosier pictures of harmony. provides the form of language in which something.. Coleridge's image of translucence m akes this connection understandable. We saw in Chapter r6 how with Pope this concordance and harmony of ends coul d be poetically expressed as love. Manifesting reali ty involves the creation of new forms which give articulation to an inchoate vis ion. Where the allegorical term points to a reality which we can also refer to directly. unlike alle gory. the roots a .. as an external sign can be sepa rated from i'ts referent. of which it is the representative". once we see art as expression and no longer simply as mimesis. and as a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal of creation in the infinite I AM. the symbol allows what is expressed in it to enter o ur world. there is the gradual fading of a believable notion of cos mic order. and is transparent like the light itself". whose nature could be specified and understood independently of the r ealization/manifestation of the current of nature in our lives. It "always partakes of the Reality which it renders in telligible. . He define s the symbol as "characterized by a translucence of the special in the individua l. otherwise beyond our rea ch. 27 And in this Pope shows the roots of this o utlook. In a way. . In particular. as the crystal lives withi n the light it transmits. and through him the aesthetics of an entire generation. and reciprocally. not simply the reproduction of forms already there. It is the locus of a manifestation of what otherwise would remain invi sible.24 Or again. This was an idea which deeply influenced S chiller. and th is was less and less acceptable to those who felt the inadequacy of this kind of humanism.26 It is tempting to see the new understanding of art as arising in order to fill i ts niche in the new expressivist conception of human life. above all by the translucence of the eternal through and in the temporal ". In a perfect work of art. the perfect symbol "lives within that which it symbolizes and resembles. through Shaftesbury back to Ficino and Florentine Platonism. What replaced the interlocking order was the Romantic notion of a pur pose or life coursing through nature. The interlocking universe was bound up with the notion of a harmony of premora l purposes which was part of an Enlightenment humanist picture of things. primary IMAGINATION I hold to be the living Po~er and prime Agent of human Perception.22 And Coleridge takes up the same idea. abides itself as a living part of that Unity.). The symbol. As A. This was partl y due to factors mentioned in the previous chapter: the force of the anti-Panglo ssian objection. in Bildern und Zeichen" ("How then can the infinite be brought to manifestation on the surface? Only symbolica lly. THE VOICE OF NATURE critique and his notion of the aesthetic object as manifesting an order for whic h no adequate concept could be found. the "matter"-the language of a poem or the material of a sculpture-should be entirely taken up in the manifestation.21 This creative imagination is the power which we have to attribute to ourselves. The old order ba sed on the ontic logos was no longer acceptable. But other changes con curred.

Somethi~g sir. a s Pope still could in Windsor Forest. 3D ' The Romantic poet has to articulate an original vision of the cosmos. Pope. In this "subtl er language"-the term is borrowed from Shelley-something is defined and created a s well as manifested. "Nah ist / Und schwer zu fassen der Gott" ("Near is / And difficult to grasp.n accepted .). the God. The old idea of a rationall y evident harmony of natures gives way to a new one of a current of love or life . for instance. These were cosmic syntaxes in the public domain..). for instance. .The ppems themselves are finding the words for us. theIr power released by their ordering within the work of art". The love is such that one has to be initiated into it to see it. whIch was once prIor to the poem and available for imitation now shares with the poem a common origin in the poet's creativity. which can bring something at first esoteric and not fully seen to manifestatio n. and one could only understand it fully by participating in it. ..29 But if the order of things is not exoterically there to be imitated by art...lso of the Romantic vision of nature. Rather it was itself an eni gma.. b . Earl Wasserman has shown how the decline of the old order with its establ1shed b ackground of meanings made necessary the development of new The Expressivist Turn . cou~d draw on the age-?ld. they no longer play on' an establIshed gamut of refer~nces.. B~ the nineteenth century these world-pictures had passed from consclO. conventions. Caspar DaVId FrIedrIch. then it must be explored and made manifest through the development of a new language . .28 The Romantic order... the conception of man as microcosm . When Words worth and Holderlin describe the natural world around us in The ~relude..I~ not merely a critical or philosophic phenomenon. in his Windsor Forest. It is the circle of nature where each thing serves as grist to the mill of some other ("see dying vegetables life sustain. this resource is no longer avaIlable..usness . the Christian interpretation of history. views of the order of nature as a commonly ava~lable source of poetic Images. he is trying to say something fo r whICh no adequat~ terms exist and whose meaning has to be sought in his works rather than m a pre-existing lexicon of references. distances himself from the traditional iconography. which is both close to us and baffles understanding. The ambition is to let "the forms of nature speak dIrectly. the Great Chain of Being.nila~ happens in painting in the early nine teenth century. They make us aware of somethmg through nat ure for which there are as yet no 31 adequate words. love ties together an order whose principle of coherence is already evident enough to dispassionate reason...c reality that the cosmic syntax permits: "nature". an addItIonal formulative act was required of the poet ... 381 poetic language by the Romantics. Now. the poet must articulate his own world of references and make them believable. the analogy of the various planes of creation.. In varying degrees. Within itself the modern poem must both formulate its own cosmic syntax and shape the aut?nomous poeti. For Shelley. or Homecoming. The Rhi ne. 32 Fri~drich too is seeking a subtler language. It s principle of order was not exoterically available.. The change from a mimetic to a creative conception of poetry . ' Until the end of the eighteenth century there was sufficient intellectual homogeneity for men to share certain assumptions .33 He builds on the late-eigh teen~h-century sense of the affinity between our feelings and natural ~. A watershed has been passed in the history of literature.. was not organized on principles which could be grasped by disengaged reason.. and the poet could afford to think of his art as imitativeof "nature" since these patterns were what he meant by "nature". He is searching for a symbolism in nature which is not based on t~e accepted. the sacra mentalIsm of nature.cene~. But for Pope. in contrast. ma.

One can see signs of t his in Kant himself. but there are great resistances to the op en articulation of this significance. These political differences build on metaphysical ones. but the very basis for strong evaluation. Both views are reactions to the felt inadequacies of standard Enlightenment Deism and naturalism. And the amb ition becomes general in the 1790'S: autonomy must be reconciled with unity with nature. Feelmg can never be contrary to nature. His third critique was both a response to the growing aesth etic of expression and an important seminal work in its development.ut m an attempt to articulate more than a subjective reaction. And yet the whole Enlig . There was a reactionary wing among the Romant ics. incompatible ways. a p rojection of our feelings onto reality. Human life seems a matter merely of desire-fulfilment. and a need was felt to combine them. It seems a propos to ask if the very notion that certain human fulfilments have a special significance is not a comfortable fiction. and the diffuse movement of thought whic h comes to see nature as a source. I want to look briefly at b oth the opposition and the aspiration to unity. As I argued in the previous chapter. but it also enta ils a radical break with nature. from which we have cut ourselves off. We see in Humboldt a spirited defence of indiv idual freedom from an expressivist viewpoint. What seemed common to them was that they lacked a proper moral dimension. as I said above. it relies strongly on its own implicit recognit ion of the significance of human life. The understanding of nature as sourc e takes a different path. To see the standard Enlightenment view as one-dimensional is to see no The Expressivist Turn . in the eyes of a Kantian. THE VOICE OF NA TURE 21. Naturali sm is especially vulnerable. The two are on incompatible courses: Kant's division of nature fr om reason seems as much a denial of nature as source as the standard Enlightenme nt view. and so did a great many of those who espous ed the view of nature as a source. In the wake of this modern naturalism. but they aren't entailed in them. which he sees in an entirely d ifferent quality of motivation. Both react to what seems like the lack of a p roper moral dimension in standard Deism and naturalism. Kantians as well as utilitarians tend to liberal views and believe i n humanitarian and liberal policies. these were the watchwords. Kant and Spinoza must be united. saw his task in these terms. for there being de sires or goals which are intrinsically worth fulfilling.35 But this doesn't necess arily mean that there were differences on substantive moral questions or politic al options. a disengagement in a sense more radical than th e naturalistic Enlightenment had envisaged. because it explicitly attempts to subvert the tradi tional distinctions which have grounded earlier forms of strong evaluation. seems missing. It is also meant to rescue the moral dimension. The young S chelling. and its supposed debunking of the traditi onal bases of strong evaluation. And yet. This could be described in a way which has become po pular today. but th is is now to be discovered in the elan of nature itself. there is also a profound affin ity between the two. it has become common to wonder whether there is any such basis at all. for instance.34 382 . is always consistent with nature". a~d the exaltation of nature as a source must seem as heteronomous as u tilitarianism. 383 place in it for what makes life significant. whether this arises as a detached philos ophical conjecture or as an anguished existential issue. But they react in differ ent. Kant wants to recover the integrity of the moral. and major questions about the nature of freedom-whether it should be seen a s 'positive' or 'negative'-divide the followers of Rousseau from those of Hobbes and Locke and Bentham.3 I have been looking at two responses to the felt inadequacies of Enlightenment n aturalism: the autonomy theory of Kant. To be moved by this is freedom.36 And Comtean positivism was a gre at source of reactionary thought in the nineteenth century. by saying that they were 'onedimensional'.

so the idea of nature as a source no longer refers t o a God or cosmic spirit in the world. our moral independence. which starts in the eighteenth cent ury. have just about totally dis appeared. The instrumental stance involves'our objectifying nature. in combination with some value premiss drawn from elsewhere. the joy which co mes from being connected to the elan of nature. We ought to recognize that we are part of a larger order of living beings . overcoming the divisions b etween people. It is a kind of separation. as I desc ribed earlier. we declare our separation from it. the vibrancy. in the sense that our life springs from there and is sustained from there. In objectifying or neutralizing s omething. a st atement a priori of our moral independence. This la st seems to follow both because of the atomist affinities of naturalism and beca use the purely instrumental stance to things allows for no deeper unity in socie ty than that of sharing certain common instruments. within humans them selves. healing the divisions within between reason and sensibility. If there are problems with pollution or ecological limits. THE VOICE OF NA TURE And so among the great aspirations which come down to us from the Romantic era a re those towards reunification: bringing us back in contact with nature. the idea of our being open t o nature within us and without is still a very powerful one. Or to take the argument in the reverse direction. This critique has been the point of origin of a family of theorie s which have defined human dignity in terms of freedom. both within and without. no facts ab out how things stand in this order amount to a consideration by itself in favour of one or other definition of the good life. The battle between instrumental reason and this understanding of nature still rages today in the co ntroversies over ecological politics. which means. The life o f instrumental reason lacks the force. taking up an instrumental stan ce is a denial of the need for this attunement. but the demand remains very much alive th at we be open to or in tune with nature in ourselves and outside. but the understanding of nature as a source still survives although wha . The life of mere desire-fulfilment is not only flat but also heteronomous. if at all. Just as Enlightenment humanism is no longer extant in its Deist form. the depth. they will themselves be solved by technical means. The other sees in this very stance to nature a purblind denial of our place in t hings. 384 . both without us. The instrumental stance towards nature constitutes a bar to our e ver attaining it.3? and perhaps even more grievously. It doesn't j ust lack this. Naturalism n eutralizes nature. The loss of be lief in a spirit in nature has itself. Expressivist views find their second dimension in nature as a source. The fully significant li fe is the one which is self-chosen. Behind the particular issues about the dan gers of pollution or resource depletion. and creating community. Rec ognizing this involves acknowledging a certain allegiance to this larger order. by better and more far-reaching uses of instrumental reason. But there is worse. . been the occasion of crisis an d doubt. but only. The Kantian view finds its second dimension in the notion of a radical autonomy of rational agents. To be in tune with life is to acknowledge this solidarity. that we see it as a neutral order of things. This in spite of the fact that the Romantic doctri nes about the current of life. and in ourselves. between human and human. or the All of nature. But this is incompatible with taking a purely instrumental stance towards this ecological context. of course.htenment ethic demands some such notion of significance. these two spiritual outlooks are in con frontation. but survives in naturalism. of our self-sufficiency. One of the great objections a gainst Enlightenment disengagement was that it created barriers and divisions: b etween humans and nature. The notion is that sharing a mutually sustaining life system with other creature s creates bonds: a kind of solidarity which is there in the process of life. That is. This stance of separation is what blocks us. as a further consequence. is still going on today. The battle between these spiritual outlooks. and then also. These aspirations are still alive: althou gh the Romantic religions of nature have~died away. It prevents us from opening ourselv es to the elan of nature. One sees the dignity of man in his assuming control of an objectifie d universe through instrumental reason.

the Kantian moral philosophy finds It hard to ignore the criticism that the rational agent is not the whole person. Holderlin. Kant speaks of a future in which "vollkommene Kunst wieder Nature wird: als welches das letzte Ziel der sittlich en Bestimmung der Menschengattung ist" ("Perfected art becomes nature again. bo th render themselves vulnerable to the critique of the other. these two charges seem t o apply with even greater force to the Kantian view which marks such a sharp sep aration and opposition between freedom and nature. by the summum bonum of the second critique.t underlies it is very uncertain and problematic.43 . where virtue and happiness com e to be coordinated. Versohnung ist mitte n im Streit und alles Getrennte findet sich wieder. Instrumental reason plays such a large role in their institutions and practices that whatever shakes our confide nce in it as a spiritual stance also causes deep malaise in contemporary advance d societies. Holderlin evokes this return of unity in this passage from Hyperion: Wie der Zwist der Liebenden. Schiller makes this point in his Letters on the Aestheti c Education ofMan.41 as does Holderlin in his Hyperion Fragment. eternal glowing Life. Such a condition is defined. but he did see that the condition of polar opposition between reason and nature was somehow non-optimal. having made a synthesis of reason and desire. This too could be accused of dividing us from nature without. also because it is a theory of freedom. 385 and difficulties of capitalism and this spiritual malaise. The original single unity makes its way throug h divided paths. . and from our own nature within. whi ch is the final goal of the moral destiny of the human race. Both are internalizations.!11orality and freedom point towards a fulfilment in which nature a nd reason would once more be in alignment.onjectural Beginning of the Human Race" where.veloping at some length the expressivist criticism of Enlightenment naturahsm. ewiges. after speaking of t he stnfe we now see between culture and nature. Kant is severely taken to task for this in the Romantic period. that man had to make it in order to develop his powers of 386 .39 And a reunion of another kind is pointed to in these line s from the "C..42 The belief wa s that the human destiny was to return to nature at a higher level.). THE VOICE OF NATURE reason and abstraction. Reconciliation is in the midst of strife and all things separated come together again. And in fact. the shallowne ss ()f the standard Enlightenment. capitalist societies. . Es scheiden und kehren im He rzen die Adem und einiges. This didn't lead Kan t to want to alter his definition of autonomy. The notion developed that the breach of reason with nature was a necessary one. . But we can see from this account that expressivism will also be in co nflict with the Kantian critique. that the demands of . Just because it is a theory of freedom. There is a circular causal relation between the other crises The Expressivist Turn . This dispute between spiritual outlooks is deeply embedded in the inner conflict s of advanced industrial. And because they do. And there are good reasons for this which go just as deep into the roots of both. gliihendes Leben ist Alles. It is not only that they both start off from the same point. sind die Dissonanzen der Welt. Like lovers' quarrels are the dissonances of the world. But what is just as noticeable is the attempt somehow to combine the two critiqu es. That is why the great thinkers who emerged out of the exp ressivist stream in this period all strove to unite radical aut~nomy and express ive unity.40 And yet. as we see with Schiller. Both therefore show the ir Rousseauian heritage and make freedom a central good. The veins separat e and return in the heart and everything is one unified. for mstance. for inst ance. and Hegel. Indeed. in reason and in nature. which I have tried to trace e1sewhere. the view of nature as a source can't ignore the point that mere sinking into unity with nature would be a negat ion of human autonomy. and then comes to fruition in a reconc iliation. Both try to place the sources within. They also have important affinities.38 I've been de.

human and human . our tribulations sharply increase a s an inescapable result of the crisis and conflict.44 I'm thinking of the spirit which was in evidence. The sources of this scenario. of course. to a conflictual division between reason and sensibility. The picture of polarization r equired a strong notion of good and evil. as it is better called. and in the messianic expectations which have always be en harboured there. from a primitive undifferentiated unity. In the short term. Once again. Some of the secular content for these expectations was provided by Enlightenment humanism. They came again to the fore among some of the participants in the English Civil War. succeeding the first two: that of the Father (the time of the Old Testament) and that of th e son. to ultimate Redemption. 387 battle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. has a long history in Western civilization. And so we find Roussea uian language coming to the fore at the height of the Revolution. thr ough a Fall. a certain set of notions of what the last things would look l ike. A certain body of millenarist expe ctations. brought about by an unprecedented polarization between the forces of good and evil. reflected in the adoption of a new calendar. It is a moment in which the suffering and tribulation of th e good dramatically increases.45 The millenarist scenario describes a moment of crisis. after which there would be a reign of the just for a thousand yea rs. What we see in the French Revolution is something like the same framework of exp ectations. to a third and higher reconciliation. who foretold that a third age would dawn. in which the gains of the second period. but for the first time ~ecularized. lie deep in the religious tradition of Judaism and Christianity. But at the same time. before the final consummation. building up to a decisive conflict. That is what has been called modern political messi anism. were fully retained. Nor does this end with the Middle Ages. The battle is . the age of the Holy Ghost. of a higher form of human life. for inst ance. and an expectation of radical new beg innings. But it is connected more immediately to mil lenarist developments out of JudaeoChristian thought. It would be an age of spirituality. For in the late eighteenth century there is a third development which also owed something to Rousseau and which introduced a polarization between good and evil into Enlightenment thinking. between Christ an d anti-Christ. which were just then acquir ing new political relevance. and hence a new age of sanctity and happiness unparalleled in history. the picture is of a c risis. however. The Fifth Monarchy men were defining themselves according to another biblical prophecy. from the Book of Daniel: the reign of God succeeds that of th e world empires.The expressivist philosophies of nature as a source tended to develop a theory o f history which saw it as resembling a spiral.evil. it promises an unprecedente d victory over . built up in the Middle Ages. of equality and justice and self-rule. The scenario usually included a The Expressivist Turn . Its beginnings go back to the Middle Ages and the writings of Joachim of Fiore. which will usher in an era of unp recedented good. This structure has its roots very obvi ously in the Christian picture of salvation history. for instance. in pr eparation for the consummation of all things. at the height of the fervour of the French Revolutionthe sense that a new epoch was dawn ing. Millenarist expectations also p layed a role in the Reformation-in the revolt at Munster in the 1530'S. reason and freedom. that is. Millenarism. not one that turned only on the differ ence between enlightened and unenlightened self-interest. one in which acute confli ct is about to break out. from original Paradise. of freedom and hu manitarianism. one in which the world is polarized as never before be tween good and evil. But they required somethin g richer than Enlightenment naturalism as a basis. and from time to time these were activated by sects. They take shape in mediaeval Europe from time to time and de fine a consciousness of crisis and revolt. The new age would be one of reason and benevolence.

saw in it the fulfilment of biblical pr ophecies. described how he had felt at the moment of the Revolution: "Old things seeme d passing away. but in a transposed. not because i t proposes to engineer society at last in a rational form. or the future peaceable and happy state of the world" . At first this led to very immediate expectations of dramatic change. I have tried to show elsewhere 47 how Marx's theory of alienation and his perspective on liberation The Expressivist Turn' 389 are based not only on Enlightenment humanism but also on Romantic expressivism. There are the three ages of world history. including Schelling. What emerges is the spiral view of history I described above. . treason. more articulately voiced in England and Germany. perhaps irreversibly. 21. in which we break out of our original integration into the great current of life . patriotism. which had stronger. and tyr anny. There is a Rousseauian tr ust in the goodness of uncorrupted nature in the revolutionary time. and this is the form in which political millenarism has become a major force in modern civilization and history. th e crisis of heightened conflict at the entry of the new age (fortunately now beh ind us. where actual revolution takes place simply as an import. and freedom. to enter a phase of division and opposition. This philosophy combined with a sense of crisi s arid new possibility engendered by the French Revolution. once the corrupt servants of tyranny have been swept aside. the radical and Unitarian. and foresaw the advent of "the millennium. and vice.46 And it is in Germany. is the final b attle between good and evil. that the millenarist expectations are philo sophically elaborated. rather the hope is th at it can at last call forth the great benevolence latent in virtuous men. and the new highe r resolution. which are more a mood than a doctrine. resulting in the total victory of the former. It defined the perspective of a new politics and a new culture. philosophical form. Priestley.between virtue. a long with the invading French armies. In later Hegel. indeed. And not only in France: they we re. of which Germany would be the initiator. But what remains is the notion of a new and higher age. both in how an individual life unfolds towards self-discovery and in how this life fits into the whole hum an story. and it issues in synthesis. thou gh the transformation is seen in quite apolitical terms. and nothing was dreamt of but the regeneration of the human race ". the sen se of imminent radical transformation is gone. but between two requirements of th e good. THE VOICE OF NA TURE arise in the heat of the revolutionary struggle. and hence ultimately on the idea of nature as a source. which has already dawned. The H egelian battle is never between good and bad. more recent millenarist traditions. not total victory. reflecting not so muc h the hopes of the radical Enlightenment as those of the expressivist theory of nature as source.4 The expresslvlst theories of nature as source thus develop their own conceptions of history and of the narrative forms of human life. We can see some expectation of this ki nd glowing through the lines of Hegel's Phiinomenologie des Geistes of 1807. without Rou sseau's acute. In the process they are transposed. sense of how impossible it was to recover contact with this nature in large modern states. which indeed had par tly inspired it. even despairing. and which is now seeing the unf olding of a new and higher political form. 388 . Hegel incorporates the whole traditional scenario of Western millenarism. But Marx reinstates this element of polarization and total victory in his versio n of the spiral. Southey. The Revolution offers the hope of a new epoch. We find this view elaborated in Schiller and then taken up by a number of others . But the critiqu e of modern Enlightenment civilization as fragmented and dessica ted could also generate a pessimistic sense that the world had declined. and the religious and philosophical c ulture which goes with it. in the form of the Revolution and its resulting wars). and Hegel. in his more conservative later yea rs. H6lderlin. on one side. One such form is the spiral I've just been describing. These millenarist expectations. Lost in the philosophical transposition. on the other. of course. followed by a return to unity at a higher level.

But at the base of this is God. it is only now that we can fully see what u nderlies it. technol ogical know-how. the public order of things. unlike Augustine's God. but very different in its polarization. And this is where we achieve our ultimate integrity as persons. That examining the soul should involve the exploration of a vast domain is not. Insofar as one of the main themes of Part IV has been the attempt to expla in our modern sense of inner depths. better future. a domain which reaches farther than we can ever articulate. To the extent that digging to the roots of our being takes us beyond ourselves. richer time. 390' THE VOICE OF NATURE Of course. in its self-exploratory br anch. Even the 'optimistic' spiral vie w. A modern who recogni . in some ways similar to the belief in progress. This nature. But only with the expressivist idea of articulating our inner nature do we see the grounds for construing this inner d omain as having depth. The sense of depth in inner space is bound up wit h the sense that we can move into it and bring things to the fore. That is what it means to define the voice or impulse as 'inner'. Someth ing fundamental changes in the late eighteenth century. This notion of inner depths is therefore intrinsically linked to our understanding of ourselves as expressive. of course. the inexhaustible domain is properly within. The modern subject is no longer defined just by the power of disengaged rational control but by this new power of expressive self-articulation as well-the power which has been ascribed since the Romantic period to the creative imagination. We certainly saw the bases for a strong orientation to inwardness i n the transpositions wrought on Augustine by Descartes and Montaigne. we are led to contemplate the order i n which it is set. To understand the soul. The expressivist revolution constituted a prodigio us development of modern post-Augustinian inwardness. and in the practices of disengaged self-remaking. The modern. from the outside. This works in some ways i n the same direction as the earlier power: it intensifies the sense of inwardnes s and leads to an even more radical subjectivism and an internalization of moral sources. in the drama of separation and r eunion. But in other respects these powers are in tension. cannot offer us·a hig her view on ourselves from beyond our own self-exploration. as articulating an inner source. was in other ways diametrical ly opposed. The Platonic tradition would concur. It could inspire a nostalgia for a past age of int egrity-often identified with the Middle Ages. post-exp ressivist subject really has. in the eye of God. The inescapable feeling of depth comes from the realization th at whatever we bring up. which arise in the early modern period. This concept of an inexhaustible inner domain is the correlative of the power of expressive self-articulation. inescapably. In the philosophy of nature as source. that is. Both forms broke with Enlightenment narrations. to p enetrate to the depths of our memory would be to be taken outside ourselves. it is only open to a mode of expl oration which involves the first-person stance. What is new in the post-expressiv ist era is that the domain is within. something beyond our articulative power. it is to the larger nature from which we emerge. Augustine's inwardness leads to the higher. "inner depths".from an earlier. which still stretches beyond our furthest point of clear expression. as we said. But this we only gain access to t hrough its voice in us. and religious and moral self-exploration . And the picture of the growth of a life is utterly different in the central plac e it gives to self-discovery. riches-are far from being accepted as unadulterated goods. To follow the first all the way is to adopt a stance of disengagement from one's own nature and fee lings. there is always more down there. Augustine had a notion of something 'inner' which similarly stretched beyond our powers of vision: our 'memory'. It is similar to the extent that it points towards a higher. unlike the denizens of any earlier culture. Depth lies in there be ing always. that is. The subject with depth is therefore a subject with this expressive power. Those things that can progress in a linear fashion-scientific knowledge. This we do wh en we articulate. But this domain is n ot an 'inner' one. which renders impossible the exercise of the second. a new idea. The linear picture of progress that Condorcet offers is utterly denied.

Universal equality is more radica lly understood. Nature is now conceived also as a source. the very picture of history as mo ral progress. we would have to mention a great many other things like the indust rial revolution and the rise of modern nationalism. our moral outlooks still operate in the wake of these great events. We still instinctively reach for the old vocabularies. is very much a Victorian idea. Even more strikingly. beyond them. In some ways we naturally think o urselves to have evolved away from them. This both greatly complicates and enriches the mode rn moral predicament. We are still visibly working out their implications or exploring possibilities which they opened up for us. We still await another s uch large-scale cultural upheaval which might carry us out of their orbit. let alone such seventeenth-century notions as the divine right of ki ngs.zes both these powers is constitutionally in tension. the Enlightenment and Rom anticism with its accompanying expressive conception of man. and our powers have been added to. have made us what w e are.1 These · two big and many-sided cultural transformations. Moreover. democracy is more integrally applied. though I have my doubts. it is hard to recapture in imagination what they could ever have had going for them. and femin ism all attest. as a 'going beyond' our forebears. It is not just that we no longer believe these doctrines: we are not all un animous about the defining doctrines of the Enlightenment or about expressivism. I said in Chapter 19 that modern culture has diversified our moral sources and a dded two frontiers of exploration to the original theistic one: nature and our o wn powers. B ut even if this is what is occurring. Some wate rshed has been passed. own sense of superiority. and then note with satisfaction that we have taken these f urther than our forebears of the last century. anti-colonialism. expressivism relates these two frontiers d ifferently than does Enlightenment humanism. Perhaps we are now going over another such watershed. as twentieth-century social reforms. the ones we owe to Enlightenment and Romanticism. All this is true. But what is remarkable is that the basic moral 393 394 . If we were lookin g for causes. As I have often said . in that the exploration of self and nature can be run together. PART V Subtler Languages 22 OUR VICTORIAN CONTEMPORARIES 22. SUB T L E R LAN G U AGE S and political standards by which we congratulate ourselves were themselves power ful in the last century. there were resistances. This is particularly true when we consider whatever we believe to be the most characteristic beliefs or pr actices of modernity. as we sense ourselves to have already departed from the orbit of Deism. Plainly both of these have been transformed by the entry of expressiv ist theories into our culture. Lockean or Hu tchesonian. of course. our self-conceptions. which underlies our. I don't mean this as a causal hypothesis. b . Of course. What I mean is rather that o ur cultural life. And what I have been saying is tendentious. Rather it is that these earlier views have become strange to us. we are still too much involved in it to se e it clearly. the order of causation is difficult to trace in this domain. That is why the Victorians are so close to us.

in our time. we feel called on to r elieve suffering. Hence the tremendous impact of campaigns for famine relief. and "negative" theories being generally highly critical of all such notions. has generated another de eply entrenched moral imperative. This. are grounded on different stances towards. before turning to see the wa ys in which the ideas of the Enlightenment and the Romantic era have been modifi ed and developed. what is universal in the modern world is the cent rality of freedom as a good. one might argue. What is more. The language of subjective rights offers a way of formulating certain important immunities an d benefits which also builds in some idea of the dignity of a free subject. We routinely grumble about our lac k of concern and note disapprovingly that it requires often spectacular televisi on coverage of some disaster to awaken the world's conscience. for it expresses these immunities and benefits as a kind of property of the subject. where these in tur n were less significant in their societies. and definitions of. to universal justice. partly unde r the influence of Beccaria and Bentham. to regard th is march as inevitable. drawn from the educated classes of Europe and America. in the last two centuries. these power s. for instance. B ut beyond these disagreements. But beyond this. those which confer the diffe rent kinds of inwardness on him or her. through whatever battles that m ight have turned out differently. which can be invoked by the subject in his or her own cause. and were an even s maller proportion of these classes as one proceeded eastward. This is not just a sensitivity to suffering.3.2 We see here the joint force of two moral ideas whose development we have been tr acing through the modern period: the significance of ordinary life Our Victorian Contemporaries . It would be a mistake. those w ho were affected by the Enlightenment andby Romanticism were at the outset a min ority. as we can see it a host of ways. to put an end to it. From within nineteenth-century societies. The first has made the issues of life itself and the avoidance of suffering of supreme importance. a greater squeamishness about inflicting it or witnessing it. of course. selfdetermining s ubject. which has found expressi on in our century in the various universal declarations of rights. it wasn't always evident that. And of course these ideas of freedom and dignity. there is a remarkable continuity between ourse lves and those nations and classes affected by the new ways from the end of the eighteenth century on. and the creative imagination. together with the ideal of universal benevolence. This is a freedom defined negatively by the decline or erosion of all th ose pictures of cosmic order which could claim to define substantively our parad igm purposes as rational beings. the powers of disengaged reason. the second imposes the obligation to secure them universally. Our history since r800 has been the slow spreading outward and downward of the new modes of thought and sensibility to new nations and classes. the remaining expressions of hierarchy were doomed relics of the past and tha t the concessions to equality were the wave of the future.ecause it involves reading these as holdovers from an earlier time. But it is also defined positively by the reflex ive powers which are central to the modern subject.1 I want to look first at some of these continuities. But this very cri tique supposes certain standards of universal concern. It is these which are dee ply anchored in our moral culture. built on and fought against. Another major idea we have seen developing is that of the free. a typical example of retrospective illusion. It is true that th is undoubtedly has occurred. "positive" theories being generally based on some notion of an inner source. especially in the softening of penal codes which the Enlightenment helped bring about. sa y. Certain moral ideas emerge from this crucial period which still form the horizon of our moral outlook. But whatever the causes. especially applies to the Anglo-Saxon co untries. "negative" and "posit ive". This. The various conceptions of freedom. One thing the Enlightenment has bequeathed to us is a mor al imperative to reduce suffering. in association with the promot . with the transfer in each case involving some kind o f adapting transformation of the ideas themselves. 395 and the ideal of universal benevolence.

and later for the abolition of slavery itself. But taking all this into account. to the point where it has become in the late tw. ethnic and cultur al groups. however. Most notably. One has to recognize t hat the timing of these measures also depended on economic developments.ion of ordinary life. with Jeffer son's final judgement on his Declaration of Independence. abolitio nist crusade. This sense of historica l innovation was also there at the beginning of the" last century.S. countless temperance movements. to others later. The statement of the Liverpool Society I quoted from above considered "the present age . The firs t objective was achieved in 1807. to the point of revelling in their display. the imperatives of universal benevolence and justice an d the sense that a recognition of these is integral to our civilization. defined. no other aspiration ultimately incompatible with this is now avowable. with the int ent of effecting political change. even its most flagrant enemies. from Enver Hoxha to Agusto Pinochet. that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs. The imper ative of benevolence carries with it the sense that this age has brought about s omething unprecedented in history. because it appears that the new moral c onsciousness has been inseparable from a certain sense of our place in history.4 396' SUBTLER LANGUAGES However unsuccessful mankind has been in attammg "the blessings and security of self-government".5 This is a formula which has been repeated continually. from the begi nning of the last century. and all previous ages seem to us somewhat shocking. in their apparently unruffle d acceptance of inflicted or easily avoidable suffering and death. They were clearly at work in the Anglo-Saxon societies. and have helped to propagate and intensify. to the great American civil rights movement of the 1960'S and beyond. through the U. for the purpose of attaining some certain. whatever their real feelings. and the sexes. We are perhaps shier and more hesitant about stating it than the Liverpudlians of 1823.. even of cruel ty. re markable beyond any that has preceded it. and the second in 1833. qualitative leap. in par . precisely in its recognition of this imperati ve. We feel that our civilization has made a.entieth century the inescapable source of legitimacy: everyone. torture. but final ly to all) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ig norance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves. the recently founded Liverpool S ociety for the Abolition of Slavery attributed its unprecedented success in achi eving moral "improvement" to "the practice of combining society itself in intell ectual masses. between social classes. In a statement of 1823. This recognition is of great importance. ready to ride them legitimately. have steadily eroded hierarchy and promoted equality-and t hat in all sorts of dimensions. we still should remark the arrival of a qui et new phenomenon which has become almost banal in our contemporary world: the m obilizing of a large-scale citizens' movement around a moral issue. it has helped to bring about the steady rise in democracy as a legitimate form of political rule. Once again notions of the good are interwoven with modes of narrative. even barbarous. by the grace o f God". and to assume th e blessings and security of self-government". Consider the great crusade in England for the suppres sion of the slave trade. which is generally allowed to be essential to the well-being of the whol e". that Br itain benefited from its self-appointed position as guardian of international mo rality in giving a free hand to its navy to intervene in Africa and Latin Americ a. that it "will be (to some parts sooner. and acknowledge d good. 397 We still share today that sense of moral exceptionalism relative to the long hum an past and over the whole range of moral ideas I sketched above. It is based on "the palpable truth . for the rapid and surprising improveme nt which has taken place in the moral character and disposition of mankind". h as been forced to claim some kind of democratic endorsement in "elections" or "pl ebiscites" . delivered near the end of his life.. 6 Our Victorian Contemporaries . All these ideas seem to have come into their full force in the twentieth century . nor a favour~d few booted and spurred. Everyone would now agree. races. People were well aware at the time that somet hing new was happening. These movements reflect.

while the se nse of being a qualitative exception remains constant. may apply these standards very selectively. It is too easy just to make the intellectual gesture of wiping this aside as a b it of prideful illusion. Assad. taking the demand in this more m odest form. capital punishment is a practice which ought to be relegated to th e unenlightened past. concentrating on some popular or fashiona ble "causes" and neglecting other equally crying needs and injustices. as though the existence of other blackguards somehow excuses them. And . The se have generally been insufferably ethnocentric in two respects: fir. the beneficiaries of the historically exceptionalist view w e hold about our civilization. South African apologists sound the alarm over communism. And of course we also differ from our Liverpudlian predecessors in having steadi ly raised the demands that flow from these moral imperatives. We have somehow saddled ourselves with very high demands of universal ju stice and benevolence. The requirements of modernity have escalated. even when we attack what is obviously a flagrant injustice. Nor does the recognition of this commitment have to involve the 398. and still recognize that the civilization th at grew out of western Europe has defined goods which others have not. One can corr ect for both these errors. But this hasn 't shattered the idea that higher standards in the relevant regards are built in to the moral culture of our civilization. and the We stern world barely-turns a hair. look on them as a bit of hypocrisy which is built into our way of life.t because we have been shaken by our own savagery in this century. massacres several thousan d people in Hama while suppressing a revolt of the Muslim Brotherhood. we may feel some security in the fact that the practices of benefice nce are built into the modern bureaucratic administration of society: in the for m of universal provision of various benefits. an idea of re ason never to be integrally realized in this world. recovery of rights.. But it is still true that the civilization which grew out of western Eu rope in modern times (certain aspects of which now extend well beyond Europe) ha s given an exceptional value to equality. Israelis often complain about this double s tandard. a posture of self-congratulati on about which we're not really serious. And and recog nize as well that these if taken seriously make rather extreme demands. We can take a jaundiced or cynical view of these demands. rights. but in fact motivated by envy and self-hatred. without appreciating that they are the object of an ethnocentric compli ment or. they breathed a serene self-satisfaction about how de mocratic or free or equal or universally benevolent we are. SUBTLER LANGUAGES chauvinism that we frequently see in doctrines of historical exceptionalism. Or we can look on them in a Nietzschean way. more deeply. Or we can while approving them neutralize them as a distant ideal. much of the effort of wha . and defenders of Communist regimes ask their critics why they don't attack military dictatorship s. which significantly enough almost omits from its scope the Lebanese Fo rces which actually did the killing. however. because they attributed to us a very high score on the standards which our. Those defending the unconscionable always try to point this out. Public opinion. and the like. and the relief of suf fering. Hence the unsettling ploy of accusing us of un just selection. For most educated people today. freedom. There is no doubt lots of pride and illusion in our sel f-image. because they couldn't recognize that there could be other goods which other civilization s had more fully recognized and more intensely sought than we have. as seriously enough meant. Indeed. while much greater crimes elsewhere are almost shrugged off as all that one can expect. The publics of North Atlanti c societies still apply an implicit double standard to the atrocity stories that their media bombarded them with: the even minor lapses of some societies provok e shock and outrage. Israel's indirect involvement in the massacres at Sabra and Chatila refugee camps during the war in Lebanon arouses moral conde mnation . Some degree of this latter i s probably necessary to keep our balance. Syria's president. for example. as well as mechanisms for appeal. civi lization has made central.? rather it has impressed us with the e ase with which this civilization can be shaken off. The premiss of all this special pleading is that our commitment really is to universal justice and well-being.

must contain at least implicitly some answer to this Our Victorian Contemporaries· 399 question. because of the reluctance of the unbelieving Enlightenment to face the issue of moral sources. more an d more borne in on us in recent years. In some cases. and most notably there was a radical divergence betwee n the Anglo-Saxon and French societies. at least in A nglo-Saxon cultures. Ifwe are to take it seriously.t we often loosely call social democracy has gone into building universal concer n. We have already seen how the demands of Christian faith wer e redefined to incorporate a heavy dose of social reform. that bureaucracy creates its own injustic es and exclusions and that a great deal of suffering is not so much relieved as rendered invisible by it. But Christianity could only be revived from its heart. This development assumed different forms. But the inspiration and driving force still cam e largely from Christian faith. and the common human tendency to define one's identity in oppo sition to some adversary or out group. in fact several answers. the anti-slavery crusade originated in part in a revival movement. 1n the latter the sense of progress was militantly 'lay'. religion discredited". starting with the anti-slavery movement. The Victorian era was in general more pious and more concerned about the state of re ligion than was the eighteenth century. as it were. There are. into the very fabric and procedures of our societies. above all. as a call t o keep ever on the move towards meeting it. Wilberforce thought he discerned in contemporary France where this kind of degeneration could lead: "manners corrupted. dissipation predo minant. our understandable se lf-preoccupation. But this sense of security is unlikely to have survived the recognition. any bel ief that we can and ought to lay stronger demands on ourselves than prevailed in the past. These moral crusades. often conceived in ter ms of utilitarian calculation. and was largely opposed by those who sided with the church. exceptionalism was a blend of Christian and Enlightenme nt ideas. morals depraved. regeneration. Bu t in England and America. This had always incorporate d a strong element of practical charity. and the sense of exceptionalism attached to Chri stian (or often to Protestant) civilization. They include our restricted sympathies. I think this is one of the important questions we have to ask ourselves today. But the faith which emerged from this re newal was significantly differentamong other ways. But we must at least assume that there is some answer if we are to take the dema nds seriously.8 Indeed. The notion of progress and the emphasis on rationally planned improvem ent came from the Enlightenment. "practical benevolence". cast some light o n the complex relation between theistic and secular moral sources. This change built on an already existing traditio n in English Protestantism which went back to the strong Calvinist link between godliness. But what is important for my purpos e here is the recognition that any doctrine of historical exceptionalism. the answer will be quite unarticulated. which needed only to be extended in kee ping with the allegedly new findings and capacities of the Enlightened age. and they reflect the different views about m oral sources which have partly shaped each other and partly been opposed to each other over the last two centuries. that was an attempt to revivif y evangelical Christianity in face of the growing infidelity of the educated cla sses. The suc cess of abolition in the United States found a lot of the same people later work . we have to return to the nineteenth century. There is no established procedure which can meet the d emand for universal concern. In order to get a clearer view on them and t heir relationship. in its intense practical conce rn-from what had existed before the Enlightenment. and moral rigourism which was typical of English-speaking movements. The roots in Puritanism account for that peculiar amalgam of radicalism.9 In fact. social refo rm. a nd I want to return to it in the conclusion. that is. this revival succeeded. and an ordered social life. initi ated by William Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect. there is a question which can't be a voided: What can sustain this continuing drive? What can enable us to transcend in this way the limits we normally observe to human moral action? These limits a re obvious enough.

Something like this polarization is evident in the.12 . He wrote a trac t entitled: "The Bible. "Christ is the Prince of moral Our Victorian Contemporaries· 40I reformers . From the perspective of a committed abolit ionist. drunkenness. and any compromise was betrayal. and seemed only motivated as an anti -Christian demonstration. And the slide towards it has been visible among SOCIally committed C hristians since-witness. Something of these pressures can be seen in the career of the American abolition ist minister Henry Clarke Wright. for example. It had for . the driving force of both the British anti-slavery movement and American abolitioni sm was religious. the mselves often in positions of power. It was later in the nineteenth and early twentieth cent uries that this scientism would produce some real monsters. And it was Christians who were the driving force in the abolitionist cause on both sides of the Atlantic. unidirecti . continuing. From one Calvinist perspective.. if Opposed to Self-Evident Truth. that it comes to be generally accepte d that wholesale dedication to secular reform sits uneasily with this faith.10 But beyond this the movements show us something of the complex and bi-directiona l relationship between Christian and secularized moral sources. a nti-slavery was essential to Christianity. But it would be a mistake to think of this as part of a smooth. anything less than full commitment was backsliding. could be the occasions of heterodoxy. the moment no important practical consequences. But he was outraged by the establishment's complicity in slavery and its persecution of William Lloy d Garrison. "In spirit and in practice. as well as the Prince of Peace". French Enl ightenment. the Same indomitable purpose. Although the philosophes were generally against slavery. Something very important happened in the nineteenth century when these reformers and others stepped outside the boundaries of belief. and general physical disorder as features that the new times must transcend. too great an identification with the cause could lead to the Papist error of seeking salvation in works. to that degree those committed to the cause may feel forced outside orthodox Christ ianity by the very force of that commitment. The paradox is that a religious imp ulse and vision may sometimes drive people out of religious belief. and he began to evolve towards more heterodox views. if not s ecularization. the China missionaries in our own day who e nded up Communists. On one hand. i n whIch hyper-Augustinian Christianity strengthens the moral credentials of un~e lief. The sense of exceptionalism of the new Christian age linke d together such things as in 400' SUBTLER LANGUAGES temperance movements.' is Self-Evident False hood". The r eticence or condemnation of the establishment would thus often drive the committ ed abolitionist to rebellion. Allowing for such racial differences seemed just another w ay of dethroning the Bible to make room for empirical science. In fact. 11 But back in the eighteenth century it was believers who felt called upon to defe nd passionately the unity of the human race. and this in turn deepens the suspicions of hyper-Augustinian behevers abou t secular reform. The two views could barely coexist. The movements themselves. something of the same dialectic was at work within the churches as had originally helped to generate the unbelieving Enlightenment. And he declared. which have been sinc e invoked with horrifying effect. But to the extent that the hyperAugustinian view comes to be acce pted as the definition of Christian faith. or the same willin gness to sacrifice in the English-speaking societies of that time outside of thi s religious mode. It is difficult indeed to imagine these movements attaining th e same intensity of commitment. coarseness. was of the opinion that blacks were inferior. This was partly because those who engaged in them frequently beca me embroiled with their own more cautious and conservative co-religionaries. for instance. torture. Hume. For those deeply involved in the crusade. many of them toyed with racist theories.. however. he affirmed. VoltaIre was nearer the king dom of heaven than the slaveholding clergy of America".We can see here a slide towards a mutually supportive opposition.

something important and irreversible did happen in the latter part of the nmeteenth century with the rise of unbelief in the Anglo-Saxon countries. This comes clear when one probes them further. our understanding of the moral nature of these reactions is cl ouded by the widespread notion that the loss of religious belief flowed somehow as an inevitable consequence from the rise of 'science' or the development of th e modern economy.14 In fact these two accounts. Explanations of these two kinds are of ten given today.. but it doesn't really illuminate it.llia~ Jennings Bryan late in the century and even more strikingly in t he CIvIl nghts movement of the I960's. We can see here re-enacted something of the same reactio ns that underlay the unbelieving Enlightenment. as we shall see. technologi cal society. are easy to combine. urbanization. When the tide . not the whole change of outlook which we're trying to explain. Even in a much more secula rized Britian. Atheism. in France. but the shift which has taken so many facets of social life . 22. Belief either gave way before scientific rationality. Or the two explanations may be combined. as I described in Chapter 19. Latm SOCIetIe s had perhaps already made the break. or else i t fell victim to industrialization and the development of our mobile. An d as I said then. the Enlighten~ent and Revolution saw the crucial change. Something like this story is what many unbelievers think. in which ministers took such a leadership role. is now an option. it should follow that the beliefs of the race gravita te towards that form in which the mind becomes an accurate reflection of the external universe". because they share certain premisses. But in England and the Um~ed States. Religion must ultimately wither. the leader of the Campaign for Nuclear D.isarmament was until rec ently a monsignor.n ~mong others. Examining this change as it occurs in England and America will help to clarify o ur present predicament.. this came in the s econd half of the nineteenth century. "If the race gradually accommodates itself to its environment. in which moral sources are ontologically diverse.e. the ti de there moved back strongly towards SUB TLER LANG UA GES 402 orthodoxy-the evangelicals of the Clapham Sect were indeed part of that move-and Deism became less fashionable for a while. it goes further than Deism. It wa s then that they moved from a horizon in which belief in God in some form was vi rtually unchallengeable to our present predicament in which theism is one. and something of this remains. one of the great pioneers of Victorian unbelief. and this certainly reflects their outlook. He thought that a kind of scientific rationality must eventually win out.13 The initial impulse underlying reform was a deeply religious one. held something like this view. But what shou ld also be remarked is the recurrence of religious leadership in these causes th at call for deep moral commitment. Leslie Stephen. In the earlIer part of the century.of orthodoxy ebbs aga in in the latter part of the century. optio . what one could call 'secular" ization' in a narrow sense-i. or 'a gnosticism'. Yet he also recognized that other factors were at play: "But great forces may work slowly. It is not just that this can in a sense sacralize the secular cause. the rise of technological society. Of course the same secularizing s~I~e ~ccurred among some of the originally believing young people in the CIvIl nghts movement. let us call them the scientistic and the institutional. and it is only after many disturbances and long continued oscillations that the world is moved from one position of equilibrium to the other" . concentration.2 S~ill. It should be obvious that the institutional account is inadequate. and whose major figure was Martin Luther King. This is not to say that the big changes in society haven't had important consequences for what we believe.onal move towards 'secularization. It is also that the religious impetu s may be very much in evidence again in later waves of reform which are in some sense the inheritors of the early anti-slavery crusades. How could they not? Industrialization. as we see with a leader like 'Yi.

This then is the assumption which often underpins the institutional account. as perhaps certain . But this is just about exactly what is assumed in the scientistic acco unt. against their deepest longings. Darwin had devastating consequences for belief because of the intellectual struc tures in which faith had come to be cast. and even more significantly. These a nd other factors too made certain findings of nineteenth-century science ". Tremendous strides were made in the las t century in our understanding of geology.out of the purview of church institutions over the last centuries: all these hav e transformed our lives. We might put it this way. but it came to affect virtually all tendencies in the church. Whether they have this result has to depend on what else is happening in the culture: the meaning of religious belief. even a mechanistic one. a battl e between Theology and Science. which Locke and others had stressed. in our understanding of biology. indeed. But what is questionable is the thesis that they are sufficient conditions of the lo ss of religious belief. If this is incredible. This continues into our century with the somewhat similar impact of Freud's theories a half century later. even the C reator and Governor of all Matter.eern . We saw h ow central this was for Deism. particular beliefs about magical conne ctions have. to abandon the faith. which the former lost. is every where so conspicuous" that "Atheism is now for ever chased and 404 . And many Victorians felt themselves forced. There was. The battle over science was real enough. A new sense grows of the nature we inhabit as immense in several dimensions: not only in space but also in time. and that is why they go well together. . and then fur ther in the dimension of its micro-constitution. ' Adding to the vulnerability had been the drift towards b1blical literahsm in Pro testant churches and the crucial apologetic significance given to Christ's· miracl es as the proof of his credentials. the scientistic thesis gets some colour of credibility from the actual drama which unfolded in the Victorian era.f r~aso~ing. the possibility of an explanation in depth. Even a hyper-orthodox figure like Cotton Mather could say early in the eighteenth century that "a BEING that must be superior to Matter. They could not but change the way we see things. then it would collapse with the passing of these and their sup ersession by others. particularly of the immense age of th e earth. the nature of the possible alternatives to it. by showing how there could be design without a Designer. Our out look on the relation between belief and unbelief in English-speaking countries i s still marked by this founding battle and is in many ways obscured by our misun derstanding of it. The simple scientistic premiss that religion wit hers in face of scientific rationality is what does duty for background to the i nstitutional account. In the la tter case. whose erroneous nature was only masked by a certain set of practices. mainly but not only in Protestant coun tries. What would make the simple correlation true? If religious faith were like some p articulate illusory belief. The new time perspective as wel l as the new direction in biology were combined in the explosive impact of the p ublication of Darwin's theory in 1859. SUB T L E R LAN G U AGE S hissed out of the World"Y Darwin. o pens up for the phenomena of life. In the previous two centuries there had been an immense investment in the argument from design as a certain proof of the existence of the Deity. The simple correlation behind the institutional account is perhaps already being refuted Our Victorian Contemporaries· 403 as these societal changes are spreading beyond the West and producing different consequences elsewhere. But crude as it is. the strains to which it is subject. Any instit utional explanation of a change in outlook needs to be supplemented by some acco unt of the cultural background. blew a gaping hole in this whole way o. we need something to put in its pla ce.

minds on . The first is that of selfcresponsible rational freedom. And what made them beheve th1S. This utterly clear sense of the b oundary between permissible and impermissible is another powerful mark of their evangelical legacy. then honesty required that one speak out. And Victorians 1s frequently spoke of the "manliness" required to face the bare truth. a tradition which goes back to Bacon. Thus the turn from religion to sc ience not only betokened a greater purity of spirit and greater manliness but al .to an undistorted picture of the great Victorian drama of nd of b~nevolence. as they were then being codified. like those of scientific method. which I have frequently discussed in these pages. was ready to look at "the infinite abyss" in which humani~ will ultimately vanis h without a single "gleam of hope". so long as t hey hold by the plain rule of not pretending to believe what they have no . Scientism itself requires a leap of faith. one needs clear principles. a sharp boundary betwe en what one has good reason to give credence to and what goes beyond this limit. Not conclusive reasons. The second 1S a kl Od of herOlsm of unbelief. that very moment the grande ur of h1s belOg anses.the evidence without bowing to any authority. however bleak and unconsoling. The ethics of belief is linked through science to a third major force. ~Clence was hnked for the Victorians with progress in technology and hence 10 human bet terment. not to believe what one has insufficient evidence for. he can perish without ter ror". These were aggravating circumstances.19 Charles Eliot Norton accused believers of committing "the g reat sin'" of "insincere profession". This theme r ecurs constantly in the writings of the penod. Not the slmple replacement of non-science by scienc e.2o An ethic of this kind calls for something like scientism. Central to it is an "ethics of belief" (the title of an influential book of the late Victorian period). This outlook is one of the major constituen ts of contemporary culture.reaso n to believe because it may be to their advantage so to pretend. Ideally. but a new militant ~oral outl~ok growing out of the old and taking its place beside it as a fightlOg alternatlve. . For he can love. the de. What made them so sure? Intellectually. but they don't provide the whole explanation for that certainty of collision between science and religion that was after all even stronger among the unbelievers. What powers this faith is it s own moral vision. A ~niverse in which the most important questions were truly surrounded with mys tery would undercut this clear moral call. We have an obligation to make up ou~ own. from which many Our Victorian Contemporaries· 405 of them descended. Two ideals flow together to give force t o this principle. which can divide the sheep from the goats among the beliefs which try to nestle in our minds.t~ establish all the truths we need to believe. because there aren't such. Samuel Putnam a former minister.utterly contrary to Christian faith in a manner that hardly seems so evident today.16 One ought. And Thomas Huxley based his confidence for the future on this thought: "However bad our posterity may become. Here w~ come closer . he can endure. this "coward's sentimentality" Y "The very m?me~t ma? recognizes the evil of his lot. Here the agnostics showe d their filiation to evangelical Christianity. the deep spiritual satisfaction of knowing that one h as confronted the truth of things. Nothing assures us that all the issues on which we have to formulate some creed are arbitrable in this fashion. the falsehood of religion in view of th1S terrific destiny!" He would have no truck with this "cry of the child against the night". Religio? revolted him: "0 the weakness. If one coul dn't believe. Just as in the case of the unbelieving Enlightenment. Epistemology and moral fervour are mutually supporting. ~uffice. they w1ll not h ave reached the lowest depths of immorality". it was some thesis of the kind I indicated with the word 'scientism' which one could formulate perhaps as the belief that the methods and procedures of natural science.

In the words of anot her American. where Wilson. in a very deep sense untenable. no one could actually live by it. But for many of their twentieth-century followers. In his On Human Nature. Secondly.22 406 ' SUBTLER LANGUAGES This is the powerful alternative morality that knocked such a breach in Victoria n religion. ce rtain "gut feelings". The illusion of scientism was strong no t just because of the particular field on which this drama of unbelief was playe d out in the last century. Or again..21 Some of these themes come together in a moving statement in a letter by Thomas H uxley. science and her methods gave me a resting place independe nt of authority and tradition. most probably wi thin the limbic system . It is also generated by the ethics of belief itself. A striking example is the sociobiologist Edward O. but his having risen to this success by extending his knowledge an d -broadening his vision. we are offered a crassly reductive acco unt of this latter. with sublime indifference to inconsistency. gives us his moral vision. Carlyle'S Sartor Resartus led me to know that a deep sense of religion was compatible with the entire absence of theology. It was not some supposedly logical incompatibility ~ between science and faith but this imperious moral demand not to believe which led many Victori ans to feel that they had to abandon. the faith of their fathers. This pushes us towards some or other variant of scienti sm and hence tends to obscure its own deeper motivations. He speaks about his immoral youth and later reform. and the more solicit ous to aid where only human aid is possible". Thirdly. however sorrowfully. "The true Promethean . This surfaces towards the end of the book. love opened me up to a view of the sanct ity of human nature and impressed me with a deep sense of responsibility.24 A reductive position of this sort is. as we saw with Ben tham and the unbelieving Enlightenment. that is. the scientism has quite swallowed up the morality. which are "largely unconscious and irrational". and particularly by the extraordinary story of man's rise through ingenuity and clear-sighted instrumental reason. Human behavior-like the deepest capacIties for emotional response which drive an d guide it-is the circuitous technique by which human genetic material has been and will be kept intact. Indeed. Human emotional responses and the more general ethica l practices based on them have been programmed to a 23 substantial degree by nature selection over thousands of generations. one becomes "more self-reliant. indeed. and asks what brought this about: "The hope of immortality or of future reward?" This played no role: No. their "grand philosophy" taught them "to lose sight of ourselves and ou r burdens in the onward march of the human race". as I have tried to show. "the moment that one loses confidence in God or immortality in the universe". What inspires respect for man is not just his success. Like everyone else. and hence the best available account of what we actually live by cannot but be different. Wilson. I can tell you exactly what has been at work. and that is why it repays us to return to them. the cour age to face the unhallowed universe could be thought of as a sacrifice which agn ostics were willing to make for human betterment. Natural selection wires in certain propensities to react. philosophers measure their personal emotional responses to va rious alternatives as though consulting a hidden oracle.. And indeed. more co~rageous. any recog nition of the moral dimension has been utterly suppressed. of course. He confesses himself deeply moved by the "evolutionary epi c".so aligned them with the demands of human progress and welfare. many cherished the notion that facing th e Godless universe liberated reserves of benevolence in us. In the words of an American un believer. Morality has no other demonstrable ultimate function. These are still more o r less on the surface in the works of the founders. That oracle resides in the deep emotional centers of the brain.

not philosophy. finite.. constructs the mythology of scientific materialism. It i nvolves our having the courage to detach ourselves from the limited pers~ective. What the Victorians called the 'manliness' which enables us to face the truth also has another side. the flattering or consoling myth. we have to break free from our particular. we have to be able to see ourselves as part of the bi g picture. conflict.. It is a kind of self-responsible freedom. parochial al legiances and attachments. addressed with precise and deliberately affect~ve appeal to the deepest needs of human nature. In "The Essence of Religion". moments of peace are brief and des troy themselves. merely the course of nature. In thought. justice in action. it i s impartial. The scientific age. self-centred. Wilson's 'nobility' also brings to the fore something else. In feeling. In desire and will. which underlies our efficacy and which we should cultivate. The infinite part "shines impartially": 408 . Human nature bends us to the imperatives of selfishness and tribalism. The moral vis ion burns at the heart of the epistemology. We not only transcend our craven desire for comfort and assurance. To d? this successfully. SUB T L E R LAN G U AG E S Distant ages and remote regions of space are as real to it as what is present an d near. They might have been US. one "particular. he distingu ishes two natures in human beings. A word already in use intuitively d~fines this vie~: nobility. a transcedence of particul arity. wit hout regarding the good as mine or yours. Had the dinosa urs grasped the concept they might have survived. and universal love in feelingP On a more personal level. to see the age-long struggle for surVIval as a whole. But a mor e detached view of the long-range course of evolution should allow us to see bey ond the blind decision-making process of natural selection and to envision the h istory and future of our genes against the background of the entire human specie s.26 Bertrand Ru ssell articulated this in our century. and then to be moved to go beyond narrow egoism to carry it on to great er heights.Our Victorian Contemporaries· 407 spirit of science means to liberate man by giving him knowledge and some measure of dominion over the physical environment". He cons tructs an overall view linking his past trajectory to the future he aspires to. not only to those who further the purposes of the self. We become so filled wi th awe of it that we can step outside our own limited concerns. This greater knowledge and vision in turn can transform his aspirations. guided by the corrective dev ices of the scientific method.28 What came about for the Anglo-Saxon cultures in the Victorian crisis . and kept strong by the blmd hopes that the journey on which we are now embarked will be farther and better than th e one just completed. Unlike the finite self. its impartiality leads to truth in thought. rage. A God must be calm like Spinoza's. There is somethi ng in the modern ethic of scientific reason which is continuous with earlier Sto icism and which resonates with themes already evoked by Descartes.of faith w . we also rise beyond our narrow perspective and can take in the whole. it aims simply at the good. it rises above thdife of the senses. having cast off mankind's traditional myths. the ot her universal infinite and -' Impartial". 25 Wilson's 'nobility' incorporates some of the ideals I was describing above. Life see ms to me essentially passion. it gives love to all. he says in a letter: The endless battle within me makes me like what acts without inward battling: th at is why I like necessity & the laws of motion & the doings of dead matter gene rally. seeking always what is general and open to all men. All this is autobiography. So I prefer no God. I can't imagine God not full of conflict .

and the depths of nature within and without. but those who tra velled them were very critical of scientism. as Lionel Trilling formul ates his doctrines. The movement out of theism was more gradual here. and must do so if th e decline of belief is not to have impoverishing consequences. down the vast edges drear And naked shingles of the world. The former impels us to moral perfection. It was the sense that the ideal of Our Victorian Contemporaries . more serviceable re ligion for a democratic age. withdrawing roar. But when people did move out along these paths. but n ow also including the creative imagination). Retreating. In other words. as in the cases of Emerson and Arnold. It is an aspiration towards wholeness. to the breath Of the night w ind. notoriously. There was also the gamut of positions which descended from Romanticism. These are the alternatives which are usually in t ension. Leslie Stephen was a paradigm case of one who took the scient istic road to unbelief. The identification of the Gr eeks with harmonious unity was a major theme of the German Romantics. both narrowly moral and for a wider perfection. that modernit y makes on us. He still speaks of God a s "the power not ourselves that makes for righteousness". though that also played a role in this period. He went not without regret. Ralph Waldo Emerson hovered on the borders where the ism. long. 29 We need both to be full beings. Henceforth. it leaves only Its melancholy. t his has been one reason for the immense drawing power of Marxism over the last c entury. belief and unbelief exist in contrast and tension with each other. But the scientific ethic of (un)belief is only one way in which these alternativ e sources can be drawn on. One wa y of drawing the map of possible moral sources in our day is to see it as divide d between these three domains. to wards a fulness of joy where desire is fused with our sense of the deepest signi ficance. however. and both are made problematic by the fact that they exist in this field o f alternatives.30 And there is some question whether he went all the way. This could offer its own roads to unbelief. neither faith in God of a normally recogn ized kind nor scientistic agnosticism. passing through a number of intermediate that for the first time an alternative moral horizon was available to belief in God. for Arnold. in culture. And Arnold took up something of the same idea in opposing 'Hebraism' and 'Hellenism'. but the hitter has given us the idea of pe rfection as the "harmonious expansion of all the powers which make the beauty an d worth of human nature". and in some c ases not quite consummated. Its source is the Romantic ideal of self-completion through art. and non-theism all meet. influencing each other and making each other problematic. impelled not by the "ethics o f belief" so much as by the felt necessity to find a better. and prayer as an "ener gy of aspiration". what actuated them was not so mu ch the difficulties with science. through the influence of Coleridge). Culture. he too was looking for moral source s for the demands. And he found these sources. It is "reason involving the whole personality". Arnold is exploring here a third path. Goethe gave the most influential articulation to t his. Moral sou rces can be sought not only in God but in the two new "frontiers": the dignity w hich attaches to our own powers (at first those of disengaged reason only. unites reason with the "moral and social passion for doing good". In one interpretation at least.31 But he went as far as he did. Matthe~ Arnold.32 Culture is what can replace religion. Neither can benefit from the unc hallenged security which religious faith enjoyed in the earlier epoch. travelled at least part of the way along a Goethean path. as I said earlier (Chapter 18). . pantheism. As "the Sea of Faith" ebb s. but more something inherent to the notion of nature as a source which Romantici sm had bequeathed to them (often. But great powe r accrues to a philosophy which can claim plausibly to unite two of the three. 409 expressive integrity fitted better with the 'pagan' outlook of the ancients than with the transcendent aspirations of Christianity. it seems to combine scientistic material .

indicating what they th1~k 10 fact 1S mak10g it possible for us to be more 'civilized' (equal. And the result will be such a degree of mutual tenderness and care that the world will be transformed into a paradise .36 Something stronger seemed to co~e to the surface among the p ioneer agnostics of the nineteenth century: the 1dea th. or 'charity'. the poss1ble answers to th is question can be at least loosely fitted onto the tripartite "map" of moral so urces which we have inherited from the nineteenth century. The original root of the demand that we seek umversal Justice and well-being is of course our Judaeo-Christian religious tradition. far from being a harsh voice of duty opposed t . an implicit a nswer to this question.ism with the 410 SUBTLER LANGUAGES aspiration to expressive wholeness. But 1t 1S . concerned. where the hero.33 This mixture exercises a tremendous attrac tion. democratic. and this. This may not be linked to any ~x~eptio?alist view of a societ y. . both pity and self-love are tran smuted into conscience.. What have these answers been? I have already discussed one in connect ion with the Enlightenment.35 And we see a pervasive belief in our scientific culture that sC1enti.38 But to the extent that human beings be come social and rational in an undistorted way. Versilov presents the vision of a day when humans will awake and find that they are utterly alone in the universe. C hristianity has always had . those which descend from Rousseau.) than others have been. that of sympathy. this can all too easily be stifled. etc. this is obvious. Dr.often implic itly addressed. 22. because of the general reluctance of the u~b~lieving Enli ghtenment to raise the entire issue about moral sources. Freud in his own way seems to have been quite confident too of his own good intentions. since nothing guarantees that whole SOC1etieS ~11l be transformed by grace.3? But here we are already entering the terrain of another family of answers. . The orthodox Christian understand~ng of this universal concern is agape. in a remarkable passage in A Raw Youth. occluded. Dostoyevsky.3 I want to return now to the question which sent me off into the long excursus on the nineteenth century and the crisis of faith: What underlies our sense of his torical exceptionalism. The 'natural' human being has sympathy of a n animal kind. Rieux. In br?ad terms . Perhaps one can come closest to a sense of w hat is involved here by looking at a twentieth-century work of literature like A lbert Camus's La Peste.fic hon.34 . is troubled at the sight of suffering and moved to help. the belief that as we achieve the fulness of disenga ged reason and detach ourselves from superstitions and parochial attachments. we should as a matter of course be moved to benefit mankind. and the very concept of Christendom is fraught with theolo gical tension. that there is no Godor im mortality. and the answer to the question of what makes it possible is grace. itself frees us from our petty egOlsm to devote Our Victorian Contemporaries . also gives us a sense of so me such connection. a very amb1valent relationship to the societies in which it has ty a?d detachment itself inclines one to fairness and beneficence 10 dealing w1t h people. and I have been tracing some of the more de~a1led connections in the preceding pages. This question i s frequentl. But when the commitment to universal concern takes on non-t he1StiC definition something else has to play the role of grace. that we recognize and can meet very strin~ent demands of universal justice and benevolence? Not surprisingly. This seems to be take n for granted by Bentham in his own case in the cri de coeur I q~ot~d the step beyond the c omfortable world of illusion. Exceptionalist self-portraits all ~av~ to c~ntam . Rousseau built on another great theme of eighteent h-century thought. the manly confr~nt1Og of the universe in its vast indifference. . In socie ty. that they have only themselves. embodies the link between the utter dissolution of all the illusions of religious belief and a dogged unshake able commitment to relieve human suffering. 41 I ourselves to the universal welfare.

even sensual desires have become infused with benevol ence. but it is there like a deep source waiting to be tapp ed. of benevolent will. But they have also be . Belief and unbelief have been compl exly related to each other. mutual influen ce. Modern notions of agape have been affected by the ideal of austere and impartia l beneficence which emerges from disengaged reason. Nineteenth-century exceptionalist views in the Engli shspeaking world sometimes combined virtually all of them: there was . and eve n in some cases. and rivalry among the different sources. But Kant also found a basis for the idea of a good will within us. but there was frequently a CO~b1O~tion of Christia n faith with a sense of the progress of modern socIety 10 enlightened and ration al control. which descends in the tradition from Saint-Simon through Comte to Durkheim and beyond. Rather different. with a heavier reliance on the Kantian and Sarastrian.o feeling. This idea was taken up in a host of different forms. a peculiarly French scientistic transposition of Romantic holis m. The substitute for grace is the inner impulse of nature. we have a family of views in the late eighteenth century which see a great source of be nevolence within us. occurring in different proportions at different times. This was already evident in Hutcheson and becomes salient in Christian utilitariansim. Sarastrian goodness-have helped to ground a confiden ce that we can meet the demands of universal benevolence. ' SUBTLER LANGUAGES And thus as an alternative to the naturalist faith in scientific reason. one that turn ed altogether away from natural desires to our status as rational agents and the awe we cannot but experience before the demands that this lays on us. The music convinces us where the words never could. This in turn could consist with a Kantian or Sarastrian sense that i nner sources of benevolence have been released by enlightened education. Here is a source of goodness. discord and hatred give way to forgiveness and love. but rather the demands of universality. ideally speaks to their hearts and moves them to benevolence. We have only to think of the Temple of Sarastro 10 Mozart's Magic Flute. they in turn have influenced it. like those "drunk with fire" who enter the sanctuary of Joy in Schiller's early poem or the Empedocles figure of H6lderlin's early drafts. Just as in the case of our conceptions of the good. In the actual life of modern culture. in the picture of a restored being w hose spontaneous feelings.less perhap s of the Rousseauian-Romantic. It is not just that the secular replacements issue h istorically from the Christian notion of grace. our ide as about our moral motivation show a confusing mixture of fusion. whose sources were as natural and spontaneous in us as any of our nor mal desires. undistorted transmutation by reason o f something which is instinctive in our animal nature. they have not been treated as alternatives to or seen as incompa tible with religious faith. This can be stifled by th e depraved kind of reason. It is continued in one way by Romantic theories of nature as a source. the Kantian good will. its latest. radiating out fro m undistorted human nature. it is now no longer instrumental rationality which transfo rms us. gives one something of the mood which has surrounded the great endeavours of human improve ment in English-speaking societies in the last two centuries: from temperance ca mpaigns through educational reforms. in the 1960'S "flower generation" as a whole. Here we r eturn to the Enlightenment view that it is the development of reason which makes this will effective. to the great efforts at world reconstructio n which followed the two world wars. most spectacular manifestati on being in the student revolts of 1968 and in a more diffuse way.39 Rousseau suggested a picture of human nature characterized by a great fund of be nevolence. "In diesen heiligen Hallen". All of these possible substitutes for grace-the cle ar vision of scientific reason. the Rousseauian or RomantiC inner impulse of nat ure. however. It is nothing but the normal. The res ulting amalgam. 'lay' mixtures were in ev idence in France. either in our natural desires or in our noumenal being-oper haps also in a fashion which cannot be distributed betwe~n r these alternatives.4o And the idea continues right up to the present time.

he d Ifferent influences. a condltlon in which everyone defines his or her purposes 10 lOdlvldu al terms and only cleaves to society on instrumental grounds 4I4· SUBTLER LANGUAGES undermines the very basis of cohesion which a free.strumental reason and the forms of moral and social life that flow. But this is not an adequ ate view of our situation. . W~can take our stand in one in order to reject the others . Schiller made the char ge in the sixth of his Aesth~ttc Letters. line of criticism. B~t there ~as a thIr~. But there is another major Issu. which demands that we orient ourselves to public life instead of being absorbed by a preoccupation with individual welfare.en transformed by Romantic conceptions of spontaneous feeling.. f . 22. dlVld1O~ us from each other. who connected it to the whole tradition of thought on republican regimes.the b~ginning. seule elle substitue de tem ps a autre a l'amour du bien-etre des passions plus energiques et plus hautes. expressive t heories emerge partly in criticism of the on~-dimenslOnality of instrumental rea son. The two strands have been at odds from .41 It is also accused of reduclOg or occluding meaning: life is seen one-dimension ally as the pursuit of homogeneous pleasu~e. At the same time. participatory society needs to maintain itself. A love of liberty is essential to citizens. . he writes: Seule elle est capable de les arracher au culte de I'argent et aux petits tracas journaliers de leurs affaires particulieres pour leur faire apercevoir et senti r a tout moment la patrie au-dessus et a cote d'eux. Tocqueville pursues the old notion that a too great interest in self-enrichment is a danger for public liberty. Romanti~expressivism arises in protest against the Enlightenment ideal of dIse ngaged.of unre deeme~ nature and of unreserved commitment to ' activist reform. and that is the battle between the En. clash within Chnstian churches as well as everywhere else in the culture. whIch lOtruded towards the end. The protest contmues throughou t the nmeteenth century in different forms. Romantic and Enlightenment. whic h we pursue by merely instrumental reason. And the~ t. f rom thiS: a one-dime~sional hedonism and atomism.hghtenment and Romanticis m as it continues to develop. because each can be brought to cnsIs . In or der to understand this better we should l~ok closer at the impact and then at th e successive transformation~ of RomantIC expressivism. Again. t~em IS vulnera~le. dividing us from nature.4 I have been mapping our moral landscape as it emerges from the nineteenth centur y and have been taking as my thread the typically modern moral ~emands ~nd. as the struggle between the technologically and the ecologically oriented to day attests. This battle is still golOg on throughout our cultu re. lO. more explicitly political. On top of that. But it was taken up on a more sophisticated level by Tocquev ille. of a goodness whi ch flows from inner nature. The hyper-Augustinian cast of thought retains its suspicion . The belief in a unilinear pr~cess called 's ecularization' is the belief that the crisis only affects religious behefs. a complex 10terplay arises in which each can be at some moment strengthened by the weakness exposed in the others. no goal stands out as being of high er significance.e. this point was given influential formulation in Schil ler's sixth Letter. that ~t~mI~ ~-that IS. and that the invariable beneficiaries are the secular ones. we find it taken up again by Arnold. Proponents of different streams in Christian spirituality have bitterly c ombated what they see as foreign Our Victorian Contemporaries· 413 intrusions. The charge a~alOst thIS way of being is that it fragme nts human life: dividing it into d~s~o?nected departments. more and more atomist an d instrumental direction.the m oral sources which feed them. like reason and feeli ng. these different pictures of grace and its substitutes are nval s. as we shall see later. Because each of. and it b~co~es ever more relevant as society is transformed by capitalist industriahs~ 10 a. But they have also come in cunous ways to coexist within our culture. this influence has not been uncont ested.

One line of these. of the special character of each people. It alone replaces at certain critical moments their natural love of material welfare by a loftier. That is why it can serve to bring cohesion to modern societies. something more than a mere "aggregation". and n eeded to find a new basis of cohesion among supposedly free and equal individual s. the dominant principle became language. France. to which it ought to be true. through Tocqueville. Perhaps it i s necessary to reiterate here that to say this is not to offer a causal explanat ion. But another fruit of Romanticism in modern politics is nationalism. we ha ve to see it in expressivist terms. and from Marx in his own wa y. But to understand just how it is meant to bring this cohesion.45 It is a concept which roots t he plurality of states in the nature of things. in European societies at any rate. but not in a natural order conce ived in the old hierarchical mode. we would have to take account of the f unctional requirements of new societies which had cut loose from the old notions of hierarchical order. which broke even the bounds of the thinkable . was grafted onto the civic humanist tradition and has helped keep it in contention right in to the twentieth century. Its practice was a ruthless a pplication of instrumental reason. The uglier side of modern na tionalism frequently combines a chauvinistic appeal to the national personality or will with a drive to power which justifies recourse to the most effective ind ustrial and military means. in terms of an 'expressive' theory. especially in a Herderian perspective. Freedom alone is capable of lifting men's minds above mere mammon worship and th e petty personal worries which crop up in the course of everyday life. and feeling. from Humboldt also. and it glorified sturdy peasants. an entity constituted by a common purpose or identity. But they don't explain the peculiar features of nationalism as a moral and polit ical outlook. had seen the traditional local communities eroded. something essential to being human. that each has a right and a duty to realize its own way and not to have an alien one imposed on it. more virile ideal. Here was a regime brought to power partly by appeals to expressive i ntegrity against instrumental reason.42 From Schiller. that is. language conceived in Herderian fashi on. critical . not arbitrarily determined. Language is the obvious basis for a theory of nationalism founded on the expressivist notion . Factors of this kind can help explain why nationalism spread and became a powerful force in European civilization in the nineteenth century. and of ma king them aware at every moment that they belong each and all to a vaster entity . t hinking. reactive nation-building. Or we would have to look at the same factors from another angle. It to some degree emerged out of Wandervog el youth groups. all built prior to Herderian nationalism. It claims to find the principle of a people's identity-what makes it more than an aggregation-as something already given.44 In the first wave of modern nations like the United States. This brings us to one of the ways in which the Enlightenment and expressivist st rands in modern culture can be brought to co-exist. offers other objectives than that of getting rich. essence-defining role.ournit al'ambition des objets plus grands que l'acquisition des richesses. the basis of cohesion was the political nation and a certain ideal of citizenship. But in the next wave of catch-up. but rooted in its being and past. bureaucratic. Romanticism was part source of an important range of alternative political vi sions. Language is obvio usly a prime candidate for this constitutive. that is. These have Our Victorian Contemporaries· 41 5 their roots first in Rousseau's notion that the locus of sovereignty must be a p eople. while at the same tim e this principle is no external allegiance but something constitutive of the peo ple's autonomous humanity. The extreme case of this repulsive phenomenon was Na zi Germany.43 This root idea is developed further in Herder 's conception of a Volk.of the instrumentalist. and in its o wn peculiar way Britain. that of the aspirations of bourgeois elites or intellectuals to build a new anti-hierarchial political entity. from Tocqueville. If we sought to explain nationalism. and industrial society wh ich was growing in the West. above and around them-their native land. the notion that each people has its own way of being.

Schelling acknowledges his affinity with Giordano Brun o. nationalism also inseparably invol ves certain narrations. this picture owed a great deal to the traditional notion of a providential order. completing and defining itself in the process of selfmanifestation. The Romantics developed an expressive view of hitherto defined. whe re the physical reality around us is also the embodiment of the Ideas. indifferent to us and strangely other. Thus in Schelling's Naturphilosophie. Like other offshoots of Romantic expressivism. These st ories envelop us and form our pictures of ourselves and our past. On the other side is the nature whose impulse we feel within. genesis. it is rather understood on the model of the selfrealization of a subject.4 7 This certainly resembles the old neo-Platonic theories of the Renaissance. which presented a universe much vaster and more bewildering in spa ce. The result for us has been a split-screen vision of nature. This is one respe ct in which our cultural predicament is utterly different from what existed befo re the eighteenth century. It is no longer the manifestation in t he flux of an impersonal Form. the tWo have drifted apart. whether in politics . often wildly fictitious and anachronistic. or ' reason' in the peculiar sense Hegel gives this term. and evolution than the earlier orders had envisaged and rationalized. stretching far beyond our imaginative powers in both the gigantic and the minuscule. It fol lows that our access to it essentially turns on our own powers of expressive sel f-definition. this vision of cosmic order began to erode just a s its predecessors had. And to this we must add the developments in biology in the latter half of the ce ntury. or theories of culture. sometimes seen as a great current of life running through every thing. as we see both with Plato and with the Deist conceptions of order.46 But the Romantic-expressive cast of thought and sensibility. We can best trace this by following two related changes. This combination unfortunately works. undergoes an important transformation in the nineteenth century. on Ficino. How these two are to be related is deeply problematical. This is one extremely important way in which expressivism has shaped our world. Nationalism in its ch auvinist mode can destroy its original justification in Herderian expressivism. As we see it apostrophi zed by Schiller as Joy or theorized by Schelling as Spirit. I. Indeed. time. But in the nineteenth century. to the development of nat ural science. But this picture was transposed by expressivism and the new idea of the creat ive imagination. The order of nature has gone through a subjectivist twist. The first was in the picture of nature. it managed to reintegrate something of the older notion of a meaningful order. and it is no . Nature is "visible Spirit". though full of unexpected beauty and inspiring awe. Partly this was due. What has changed is the very notion of embodiment. huge and in some ways baffling. with which we Our Victorian Contemporaries· 417 can feel ourselves out of alignment and with which we can aspire to be in attune ment. which introduced natural science into the very depths of inner nature tha t the Romantics had originally made part of the European self-consciousness. sometimes app roaching mystification when rather arbitrary acts of political construction are shrouded in a bogus antiquity. Schelling a nd his contemporaries drew on neo-Platonic sources. development-its 'sufferings and its achievements. no doubt. On one side is the vast universe which scientific discovery continually reveals. on Renaissance th eories of correspondence. the artistic imagination as the early Schelling conceives it. For us. or just as raw protest against instrumental socie ty. a nation in order to h ave an identity requires and develops a certain picture of 416 . different natural phenomena correspond to d ifferent levels of realization of spirit in nature. and emerging also in the impulses we feel within. where the scientific explanation of the natural order was closely aligned with its moral meaning. But in one way or another. art. more than we a re usually aware. SUBTLER LANG UAGES its history.

Romantic expressivism wa s seen as closely interwoven with the moral as~irations I discussed above: as th eir major source of support or as theIr normal complement. we can recognize an area of puzzlement and uncertainty in modern cul ture. There are strong continuities from the Romantic period. rage-who can tell?-but tr uth-truth stripped of its cloak of time. we have to trace the epiphanies of the creative imagination over this period.. as it sprang up in the Romantic era. There were other factors as well. to use one of Joyce's words in a somewhat wider sense tha n his. alien. Well. and made horrid f aces. in Arnold's theory of culture. And partly to o. and especially of poetry-as a creation which rev eals. Ugly. it was the continuing force of what I called above the anti-Panglossian objec tion to all notions of providential order. What was there after all? Joy. as he sees the natives dancing on the shores of the river: The earth seemed unearthly . and the men were-No. they were not inhuman. But for those who retained a sense of the inner impulse of nature. Yes . But if we don't take this quick w ay with it. One way to deal with the problem is simply to suppress one of these terms as irr elevant or illusory. This is the response of disengaged naturalism. but what thrilled you was just the thought of their humanity-like yours-th e thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar. and benign and comes more and more to be seen as vast unfathomable. its meaning b egan to change. devotion. right up to the present day. They howled and leaped. What I want to capture with this term is just this notion of a work of ar t as the locus of a manifestation which brings us into the presence of something . familiar. and amoral. valour. that was the worst of it. But the very notion o f fulfilment through art contained..48 4I8 · SUBTLER LANGUAGES 2. In order to see this.1 The idea of the creative imagination..t clear how we can hope to relate them. a dim suspicion of there being a meaning in it which you-you s o remote from the night of first ages-could comprehend. but if you were man enough you would admit to yourself tha t there was in you just the faintest trace of a response to the terrible frankne ss of that noise. In its reflections in civic humanist thought and nationalism. the great current ofnature to which we belong is no longer seen as something comprehensible.. or as a revelation which at the same time defines and completes what it ma kes manifest. For th ose who went through this change. as we have seen the seeds of a possible brea ch. The different ways of meeting this puzzlement have had a lot to do with ou r changing understanding of the creative imagination and its role in our moral l ife. is st ill central to modern culture. It would come slowly on one. The second change is obviously related. This came partly from the scientific developments. you know. The conception is still alive among us of art-of literature. which I will discuss in the next chapter.-this suspicion of their not being inhuman. This breach came about for influential'strands of our culture in the ninetee nth century. which recogn izes only the order of scientific explanation. 23 VISIONS OF THE POST-ROMANTIC AGE 23. that they made the structure of all t hings a bit too tidy and harmonious for our experience. fear. in the first place. and we are still living with the consquences. and spun. until we get reflections like those of Conrad's narrator Marlowe in Heart of Darkness. What remains central is the notion of the work of art as issuing from or re alizing an 'epiphany'. through the Symbolists a nd many strands of what was loosely called 'modernism'. it was ugly enough. sorrow. And why not? . The shift finds one of its expressions in the philosophy of Schopenhauer. closely related to the self.

which also defines or completes someth ing. it may no longer be clear what the work portrays or whether it portrays an ything at all. In the first. and hence moral sources. The original unity 495 496' CONCLUSION of the theistic horizon has been shattered. moreover. A work of this kind is not to be understood simply as mimesis. which is dominant in the twentieth cen tury. there are profound rifts when it comes to the constitutive goods. a second one that centres on a naturalism of disengaged rea son. and put a very high priority on the avoidance of death and suffering. but in these pages I have been sk etching a schematic map which may reduce some of the confusion. the work does portray somethingunspoilt nature. which in our day takes scientistic forms. benevolence. w hose development I traced at some length from the early modern period through th eir Deist and Enlightenment forms. richness. and the sources can now be found on diverse frontiers. But in the process. which dominated wit h the Romantics. including our own powers and nature. The lines of battle are multiple and bewildering. a manifestation. We as inheritors of this development feel par ticularly strongly the demand for universal justice and beneficence. I have examined modernism in the c ontext of the conflict in our culture over the disengaged and instrumental modes of thought and action which have steadily increased their hold on modern life. feel the demands to freedom and self-ru le as axiomatically justified. which I will call epiphanies of being. . even as it reveals. in describing how our pres ent moral outlook develops from the Victorian age. and meaning to life. In fact there are two different ways in which a work can bring about what I'm calling an epiphany. the epiphany can only be 25 CONCLUSION: THE CONFLICTS OF MODERNITY 25. and which is of the highest moral or spiritual significance. and the balance over the l ast century has shifted from one to the other. and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism or in one of the modernist successor visions. to render the obje ct "translucent". The poetry of Wordsworth or the paintings of Constable and Friedri ch exemplify this pattern. These emerge out of the long-standi ng moral notions of freedom. I want to return to the picture I was beginning to draw in Chapter 22. which underpin these standards.which is otherwise inaccessible. Much modernist poetry and non-representational visual art is of this kind. But even with the first pattern. even though it ma y involve a descriptive component. the locus of epiphany has shifted to within the work itself.1 It is time to tie the preceding discussion of modernism into the portrait of the modern identity that I have been assembling. and the affirmation of ordinary life. Because the aim is not j ust to portray but to transfigure through the representation. In the second. human emotion-bu t in such a way as to show some greater spiritual reality or significance shinin g through it. the place of this conflict relative to the other tensions in co ntemporary culture has been altered. There I started with an attempt to encapsulate the moral imperatives which are f elt with particular force in modern culture. But under this general agreement. In order to explain this. a purely mimetic understanding of the work is no longer enough. And so here too. Modernism succeeds Romantic expressivism both in protest against these and in th e search for sources which can restore depth. are peculia rly sensitive to the claims of equality. The map distribu tes the moral sources into three large domains: the original theistic grounding for these standards.

f lfil ' Schopenhauerian". The fact that there is so much agreement about the standards. Consider this pers:~:~I. but frequently (as central to Freud Th ' . For one thing. the breaking d f b ' e.urrea Ism.3. which has an inner dimension. f e tragIc sense of conflict which was . ese Europeans often remark) without -t~ eu lan. they are continually borrowing from and influenced by each other. avant-garde cinema and the l'k 1 C oser 1 to SchIller than to an tw t' h .t~ns'hTh. person an etween peopl I eclolsonnement'. of the agnos tic's austere commitment to much more single-mindedly to universal beneficence. is one of the motivations for the kind of moral theory. psychology. The picture of a 'd ' . PdaWrtIhY' through the ' ' merson an Itman Th movements 0 ften Incorporate post F d' .3. Many people live by pre-modernis t forms of Romantic expressivism.:ed~: me . It is in fact often possible to start from ag reed intuitions about what is right. of the struggle of Camus's Dr. the courageous ethics of belief. In some respects. even across the gaps that separate the thre e families.The different families of modern views draw on these frontiers in different ways . wid espread today. Not everyone is living by views which have evolved recently. and they combine what they take from our powers and from nature in characteris tic fashion. the three domains don't stay the same. as we saw with E. uman potentIal movements in the indigenous America ~ line cof ~~s:::~~~~?Uadll'nexgPEreSSivism. . work all this fits well within the ori ~~~~~~~e of t~IS ha~m~ny as a fuller freedom: could have been drawn from the six t:~~t~c:. of enthusiasm at man's "evolutionary epic". United States also 0 ba k ' .~rr. The disengaged view obviously leans heavily on our powers of diseng aged reason. open auenan perspectIve en agaIn. which tries to reconstruct ethics without any reference to the go od. Romantic or modernist views make more of our powers of creative imagination and generally draw on a mu ch richer conception of nature. In this they fit foursquare within the tradition of Enlightenment nat uralism: the very austerity about the goods of the spirit enables us to dedicate ourselves . or they may even believe that freedom requires their denial. and they sh are its reluctance or metaphysical embarrassment at open avowal of moral sources . Rieux to re lieve suffering in a disenchanted world. Wilson. Situationism Dada S r WIng 0 modernIst forms from ' . Proceduralism can put a good face on this.e basic notions picture comes close at times to a pre-Sch ChI er ~ est etrc ~etters. as I discussed in section 3. But a conception of nature also ent ers into its ethic of benevolence-albeit this is hard to avow openly-if only in the rather minimal way. Of course. O. many of the ideas of "h ' " . they spring from the disengaged family. This Th' . we need to see the map in a temporal dimension. over deep division s about the sources. And then again. the actual goals which inspi red the students' The Conflicts of Modernity· 497 revolt of May 1968 in Paris. were restored harmony within t h/ en let d-cebntury wnter. I e. I mentioned Marxism as a marriage of Enlightenment naturalism and expres sivism. as a resu t of and love. But third. for all the borro' f . elr notIon 0 exp . They continue in the line of Bentham's cri de coeur about the love of humankind. This is the source which powers the austere ethic of self-responsib le freedom. universal benevolence and justice. as I tried to show in section 3. class and clas s and ?wn 0 ar~lers between art and life. there have been attempts to straddle the boundaries and combine more th an one. In some cases. which they wrongly believe can be given a special status by segregating them from any considerations about the good. my map is overschematic. For another. pro ceduralist ethics are sometimes motivated by a strong commitment to the central modern life goods. But modern proceduralist ethics are also motivated by quite other co nsiderations.' .

and to show also how these concepts of the self are connected with certain notions of inwar dness. . Y o~ have~:i~h~ . An instantaneous snapshot would miss a great deal. and the different evolving conceptions of the self and its characteristic powers.on But there has been no willl'ng adS een contamInated by the modern world. ~t!h~r~t::::~~~:~~~~ :a:I~:::~O. which is in some ways too pervasive to be noticed.ews coexIst WIth those whIch because these rival outlooks : fI IS ~s to oversimplify. no ou t the universe is unfolding as it should Th £ b at peace with God. And only in this way was it possible to show the connections between the modern moral outlook and its multiple sources. .1~:~'t~~~~. ones :e~~I~~u:~et~ ~:~::t:~~ ~::efrec~ate these views. during the r960's.'~'. And I hope some light has been cast as well on the relation betwee n these concepts and certain modes of narration of biography and history. me 0 t em went through 498 . and ended up joining a strict evang elical church. In par . to have arisen later in reaction to them Th ' .k~ep ~eace in your world. in the noi s c ' . Something had to rub off. ~h~~~:~etsf:~~/f~a~Ot~~~u~us with t he s~ir~::7i~. . an express acceptanc f R ' SIVlsm or modernism The emph " 'II h e 0 omantlc expres . What can one hope to get out of drawing this portrait. With all its sham. beyond the satisfactions of greater self-understanding if one draws it right? Well. certainly this self-u nderstanding has been one of my motives.~~~~::rig~~::~. or the spiritual roots of naturalism. This is one reason why I have had to assemble the portrait of the modern identit y through its history.lvdersenO less than.3 But the outlooks are defined in polar opposition. It IS stIlI a beautiful Or again. which are thus peculiarly modern and are themselves interwoven with the m oral outlook. of course. .t~e clear t db'n whether or not It IS o you. as t~ough the later requires that we take a cut th. for instance. or the crucial importance of the affirmation of ordinary life.~~::71~~~~~~~!7::. on the other. as wel l as certain conceptions of how we hang together in society. It is this whole co mplex that I want to call the modern identity. there are strands of American I' .nt IS very much "preBE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF You h'ld f h ' trees and the stars.2 ro en reams. n w atever your soul. wh atever you conceive Him to be Ad' h ere ore e labors and aspirations. Indeed so f Ph elOg somew at . . on one hand. masked sometimes by the anti-Romantic stance of mod ernists. which modernism usually feels forced to suppress. aSls IS Stl on t e' f on the order which this alone can put in one's l'fsavIng power 0 grace and M 'h ' Ie. Anothe r reason is that only through adding a depth perspective of history can one brin g out what is implicit but still at work in contemporary life: the Romantic them es still alive in modernism. llIte tates cannot hel b' h Influenced by expressive individualism. But I also think that getting this stra ight can give one insight into issues that are hotly debated in our time. cut ~hrough rock.0 b~ ~er: U.oug[(o s ow how u:derstandIng our society f ind that some strata are older than I:::~ers~s~ine ta es a. drudgery a~d~nf~slOndof hfe. ' " go on In uencIng and shapi h h Bom-agaIn ChnstIans in the U ' d S ng eac ot er. CONCLUSION the latter.

the developments over the last century which issued in modernism have also opened a breach between the first zone and the second. to offer a number of beliefs without fully adequate proof. This is · a question which has come to th e fore with certain contemporary 'post-modern' writers. And so a third zone of potential conflict opens up: beyond the question about th e sources of our moral standards. But my goal here is less to contribute to the deb ate than it is to clarify further my portrait of the modern identity by indicati ng what this view inclines one to say. I believe there are three such. anyone in the post-Schopenhauerian str eam has at least to raise the question whether artistic epiphany draws us to the same things that morality demands. respecti vely. be moral. like Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault. (r) the issue about sources. through this. But in addition to the changes they have wrought in this second zone of tension. through the Baudelairean repudiation of nature. through Schopenhauer. Perhaps one day I'l l be able to return to this question to show why one has to tread this path. I hope to trace a path through the controversies about modernity which i s distinct from some of the most travelled ones of our time. The short way of explaining this is to say that it has transformed one of the forces in contest. as I mentioned in Chapter 21: that the disengaged. one can understand better the standing areas of tension or threatened b reakdown in modern moral culture. there is the question whether these moral standar ds are not incompatible with that fulfilment. 25. Our conception of the creative imagination. one can wond er whether they themselves didn't fail to see the conflict implicit in their own VIews. Writers like Pound and Lawrence answer this question positively. and this has alt~red our view of the alternatives to disengaged reason. (2) the issue about instrumentalism. The first is the one I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter: underneath the agreement on moral standards lies uncertainty and division concerning constitutive goods. the controversy about the disengaged instrum ental mode of life. this discussion really demands another book ( at least) to do justice to it. and the one which opposes disengaged instrumen talism to a richer fulfilment. and I will take the licence of a prospect us to be terse and dogmatic. For Schiller. But subsequent developments. of epiphany. From the Romantic period. The second great zone of tension contains the conflict between disengaged instrumentalism and the Romantic or modernist protest against it. The attack has been on two levels. whether morality doesn't exact a h igh price from us in terms of wholeness. influenced by Nietzsche. Nietzsche offers the most direct challenge: the way to the harmony of yea-saying passes' through the repudiation of the eth ic of benevolence. for all its tendency to exalt art. The original Romantic expressivism. raise the issue whether an aesthetically realized li fe would also. and Pound's politics in particular. call this pre-established harmony into question and.ticular. we would no longer have to impose rules on o ur unwilling desires. but it obviously now remains a question. instrumental mode empties life of meaning. and (3) the issue about morality. Of course. We can call these conflicts. the full development of the play drive would make it possible to be spontaneously moral.2 I want to look briefly at these from the standpoint of the picture of the modern identity I have drawn. The rise of modernism has made a difference in this conflict. and . Let us begin with the second issue. and of the realities they give us access to has been transformed in the last century. the drift towards this mode of life in modern 500 CONCLUSION society has been attacked. saw The Conflicts of Modernity· 499 expressive fulfilment as compatible with morality. could also. because that has been the centre of the most influential the ories of modernity over the last two centuries. But in less dire ways. and when we consid er some of the things they say. defined in terms of the moder n standards.

from being a locus of 'magic'. often expressive objects which served us in the past are being set aside for the quick. experiential and public. An instrumental stance to our own feelings divides us within. when the whole family had to be involved in cutting and sta cking the wood. art iculated by Schiller. shoddy. She argu ed that "the reality and reliability of the human world rest primarily on the fa ct that we are surrounded by things more permanent than the activity by which th ey are produced. and he somewhat influenced Mill to have the sa me fears. "All th at is solid melts in air". depth. Or people speak of a loss of resonance.? On the one hand. the claim has been made that an in strumental society. Marshall Berman has echoed this line from the Communist Manifesto in the title of his influential book.. and the like. whereby we withdraw more and more from "manifold engagement" with the things s urrounding us." This comes under threat in a world of modern commodities. But the society's action can also be seen as more direct and forceful. or the sacred. has des troyed the matrices in which meaning could formerly flourish. a utilitarian value outlook is entrenched in the institutions of a commercial.6 or Marx's theory of capitalism (from which Weber borrowe d). Marx said. and instead request and get products designed simply to deliver s ome circumscribed benefit. or even an overrid ing concern with a "pitiable comfort". and later by Lukacs. Again and again. in a host of different ways. and what this same function entail ed in pioneer times. and finally a bureaucratic mod e of existence. having no aspiration left in life but to a "pitiable comfort". or the Ideas. feeding the stoves or fireplace. 5 The instrumental society may bring this about through the images of life it offe rs and celebrates. Another claim is that nothing is left which can give life a deep and p owerful sense of purpose. and Marcuse. one in which.8 Hannah Arendt fo cussed on the more and more ephemeral quality of modern objects of use. Weber. which has the inevi table effect of destroying or marginalizing purposes of intrinsic value. replaceable commodities with which we now surround ourselves. less instrumental ways of living with nature. the institutions and practices of sel f-government. Kierkegaard saw "the prese nt age" in these terms. as well as in the student movement of May 1968. Or it may do so by inducing and facilitating a merely instrumental stance. say. or meaning. Albert Borgman speaks of the 'device paradigm' . or things worth dying for-Tocque ville sometimes talked like this. talks of the 'disenchantment' (Entzauberung) of the world.that it threatens public freedom. the negative consequences of instrumentalism are a llegedly twofold. This is a theme we've seen before. Here the exigencies of survival in capitalist (or technological) society are thought to dictate a purely instrumental pattern of action. The loss of meaning can be formulated in other ways. by dissolving traditional communiti es or driving out earlier. In other words. capitalist. This is a criticism frequently made today of the mass media. comes simply to be seen as a neutral domain of potential means to our purposes. The charg e may be that the instrumental mode of life. just by occluding deeper meanings and making them hard to dis cern. the solid. Adorno. splits reason fro m sense. as we see. lasting. This is a criticism frequently levelled a t consumer society. depth. there is a loss of passion. or aristocratic virtues. that is. or richness in our human surround ings. tends to empty life of its richness. in Max Weber's notion of modern soci ety as an "iron cage.9 . picking up a theme f rom Schiller. Or the action may be quasi-coercive. for instance. To take an i nstrumental stance to nature is to cut us off from the sources of meaning in it. or high purposes in life.4 and Nietzsche's "last men" are an extreme case of this decline. The wor ld. And the atomistic focus on our individual goals dissolves The Conflicts of Modernity· 50L community and divides us from each other. He contrasts what is involved in heating our houses w ith the contemporary central heating furnace. and Horkheimer. both in the things we use and in the ties which bind us to others. Or else it can be formulated in terms of division or fragmentation. But it was also taken up by Marx (at least in his early wo rk). The expe riential charge takes various forms: that there is no more room for heroism.

But one gene ral point can be made at the outset. wor shipped. is that it tends to destroy . Where one of them still survives. Our life passes in transformation. als s tand es noch ganz im Gehirne. . so wei es ist. But public consequences are also freq uently charged against instrumentalist society. schon ins Unsichtbare hin. The trouble with most of the vie ws that I consider inadequate. I believe. quer. in his notion that atomic. 25. They find their way through the dilemmas of modernity by invalidating som e of the crucial goods in contest . wo noch eins iibersteht.10 On the other hand. knelt beforejust as it is. to do this polemically. Where once an enduring house was. completely belonging to the realm of concepts. ein gedientes. the individual has been taken out of a rich community life an d now enters instead into a series of mobile. beloved will world be but within us. This is aggravated by the bad meta-ethic I discussed in Part I. is that their sympathies are too The Conflicts of Modernity· 503 narrow. Instrumental socie ty is accused of ecological irresponsibility. revocable associations. ein einst gebetetes Ding. but for all that they don't refute each other.3 My aim in setting out this sketch of the charges is to help illustrate my concep tion of the modern identity by describing the perspective it offers on them. Und imriler geringer schwindet das Aussen. So much for the experiential consequences. to make their claims more palpable. Ja. halt es sich. What emerges from the picture of the modern identity as it develops over time is not only the central place of constitutive goods in moral life. hence illustrating my argument in Part I. And the external shrinks into less and less. it passes into the invisible world. zu Erdenklichem v611ig gehorig. as though it still stood in the brain 502 CONCLUSION . The re is a temptation. by showing wh at I think is wrong with the familiar and widely held perspectives. which I h ave already discussed. Wo einmal ein dauerndes Haus war .. schlagt sich erdachtes Gebild vor.And Rilke in the seventh of the Duino Elegies links the need to transmute the wo rld into interiority to the loss of substance of our contemporary man-made world . This is the range of political issues on which the moral and spiritual struggle around instrumentalism now primarily focusses. and that I want to define mine in contrast to here. often designed merely for highly specific ends. wird Welt sein. Nirgends. in his charge that it generates unequal relations of power which make a mock ery of the political equality which genuine self-rule presupposes. There is another var iant which Marx puts forward. The goods may be in conflic t. Tocqueville has offered one variant of this. . One long-standing one. . to which I will yield. which places the long-term existen ce and well-being of the human race in jeopardy. We end up relating to each other through a series of partial roles. More recently another realm of public consequences has entered the debate. now a cerebral structure crosses our path.public freedom. but also the div ersity of goods for which a valid claim can be made. Nowhere. Geliebte. which wants to d o without the good altogether and hence makes this kind of selective denial easi . this time directed specifically at capitalist socie ty. Close and patient articula tion of the goods which underpin different spiritual families in our time tends. a Thing that was formerly prayed to. changing. The dignity which attaches to disengaged reason is not invalidated when we see how expressive fulfilment or ec ological responsibility has been savaged in its name. instrumental society both saps the will to maintain this freedom and at the same time undermines the local foci of self-rule on which freedom crucially depends. Unser Leben geht hin mit Verwandl ung. geknietes-. . als innen.

how much it envelops us. On the other hand those who condemn the fruits of disengaged reason m technologi cal socie:y or political atomism make the world simpler t~an it is when they see their opponents as motivated by a drive to "dominate nature" or to deny all dep endence on others. communitarian ethics because of Pol Pot. I want to make an even stronger claim. Narrow proponents of disengaged reason point to the irrational and anti-scientific facets of Roma nticism and dismiss it out of hand. in a context of historical ignorance. because these vanous repudiations an d denials are not just intellectual errors. The retrieval of suppress .er.of the. Another important source of obscurity is the uneasiness of Enlightenmen t naturalism with any notion of the good. It is quick to jump to the conclusion that whatever has generated bad action must be vicious (h ence nationalism must be bad because of Hitler . now that I'm allowing myself the licence of bald statement.eyon~ c~nca~ur~l. This should perhaps be a banal truism. And it isn't because there are strong and varied inducements to repudiate one or another aspect of the "pac kage" I have just outlined. and how deeply we are implicated in it: in a sense of self defined by the powers of disengaged reason as well as of the cr eative imagination. or those between instrumental reason and the affir mation of ordinary life. CON C L US ION they seek 'fulfilment' and 'expression' in their emotional and cultural live. helps to accredit the oversimple and almost caricatural readings of one or another strand of modernity. These include the tensions within the modern identit y itself. Worse. and in th e demands of universal benevolence and justice. if an acknowledgement of the good can empower. I cannot claim to have proved this. blithely unaware of how much they draw on a post-Romantic interpretation of life as 504 . There is a large component of delusion in their outlook. like that between its 'disengaged' and 'expressive' aspects which I'll be discussing in a minute. Th ~s. and so on).s. one-s1ded readings and givi ng us a sense of how pervas1ve th1S 1dentlty 1S. . Those who flaunt the most radical denials and repudiati ons of selective facets of the modern identity generally go on living by variant s of what they deny. What it loses from sight is that there may be genuine dile mmas here. This has greatly co ntributed to the credence given to the proceduralist ethics I just mentioned. it accredits the i dea that what leads to a wrong answer must be a false principle. Not only are these one-sided views invalid. and unambivalently held by tho se who propound them. self between disengagement and self-responsible freedom and mdlVldual nghts. They are also modes of self-stultifi cation. a rejection of instrumental society because of the politics of Pound a nd Eliot. Such rea dings make various facets of modernity seem easy to repudiate. but because there are others which can't be sacrificed without e vil. or the rebellion against the stringent demands of be nevolence which Nietzsche denounced so effectively. not because i t isn't a good. and in fact conveniently occlude the complex connections in t he modern understan~in~ . Moreover. in the characteristically modern understandings of freedom an d dignity and rights. I think it is important to make this point. and which I will also look a t later. in the ideals of self-fulfilment and expression. including its own. by putting forward a procedural conception of the right. but man y of them are not and cannot be fully. and how implicated we are in al l its facets. defenders of the most antiseptic procedural ethlC ar e unavowedl! inspired by visions of the good. and neo-Nietz~ch~ans make sem1surre ptitious appeal to a universal freedom from dommatlon.But an explora tion of the modern identity like that I have atte~pted here sh~uld prepare us to see their validity by taking us b. whereby what we ought to do can be generated by some canonical procedure. 11 A proof of these charges would have to consider them case by case. that following one good to the end may be catastrophic. seriously. but it isn't. All this. to take other examples. but what I hope emerge s from this lengthy account of the growth of the modern identity is how all-perv asive it is.

But right now.12 w hich leads from one's interlocutor's position to one's own via some error-reducin g moves. which are so dominated by instrumentalist consi derations in both economic and defence policies.ed goods is not only valuable on the Socratic gro~nds that if we are going to li ve by the modern identity. Or so I would wish to argue. 505 of some intrinsically valuable purpose in life beyond the utilitarian. and may also involve some decentralization of power when the central institutions are too distant and bureaucratized to sustain a continuing sense of participation by themselves. But the lines of argument are obvious enough. Atomism has so befogged our awareness of the connection betwe en the act and consequence in society that the same people who by their mobile a nd growth-oriented way of life have greatly increased the tasks of the CON C L US ION 506 public sector are the loudest to protest paying their share . I will return to this in the final sections. which is itself one of the major points at issue in the debate about modernity. a certain dep th of meaning in the man-made environment. as I have just indicated. but they can only be faced by tackling the problems o f democracy and ecology as technical questions and searching for the best soluti ons through the application of the relevant sciences. or the frank acknowledgement of what really does impinge. this position involves a massive blindness t~ ~he goods which unde rlie the negative charges I just outlined. It is also a way in which we can live this identity more fully. which cut welfare pr ogrammes and regressively redistribute income. it better be by an exammed version of it. These include a strong sense o f identification of the citizens with their public institutions and political wa y of life. Romant icism has shaped just about everyone's views about personal fulfilment in our ci vilization. It is not part of my brief to argue t his here.. the acknowledgement of so mething more than instrumental meaning to the natural environment. and if my arguments i n Part I are valid. e. as I said in Part I. The apologists of instrumentalism suppress their awareness of this w hen it comes to espousing their explicit ideology. In add ition. such as the clearing up of a confusion. the recogmtlon The Conflicts of Modernity . The protagonists of disengaged reason are often totally dismissive of t hese complaints. Of course whether this is a n unmixed good depends on whether the identity is a self-destructive one. The order of argument is in a sense ad hominem.of the costs of ful . thus eroding the bases of communi ty identification. and invo lves showing that there is what Ernst Tugendhat calls a "way of experience. social and natural. Goods. What is worse. well explored by Tocqueville. I propose to exa~ine di~ferent read~ngs of the dispute over instrumentali sm. the instrumentalist reading of the public consequences is badly off ta rget.. because my purpose is to illustrate my position rather than establish it. the atomist outl ook which instrumentalism fosters makes people unaware of these conditions. There is an important set of conditions of the continuing health of self-g overning societies. These conditions are under threat in our highly co ncentrated and mobile societies. One can only argue convincingly about goods which already in some way impinge on people. they will have an untenable meta-ethic to start with. the fulfilment of one's expressive potential. expressiv e unity. The alleged experiential consequences are illusory.13 I don't think it would be hard to find such in the case of the extreme proponent s of disengaged reason. Moreover. these may be real enough. Those who c omplain lack the courage to face the world as it is. which they already at some level respond to but may be r efusing to acknowledge. so t hat they happily support policies which undermine them-as in the recent rash of neo-conservative measures in Britain and the United States. the resolving of a contradictio n. can't be demonstrated to someone who really is imper vious to them. From m y standpoint. As for the public consequences. there is plenty of evidence that in their lives they are not impervious to such goods as expressive unity and integrity. whose terms I la1d out m the prevlOus section. If they are orthodox utilitarians.g. They simplify their moral wor ld by deliberately narrowing their sympathy. and hank~r after the comfor ting illusions of yesteryear. The supposed loss of meamng reflects merely the pr ojection of some confused emotions onto reality. after these preliminary re marks.

self-fulfilment. further entrenched b y irresponsible bureaucracy. this view still remains too narrow. I . those which have lasted. and in which the domination and suppression of the former by the latter would be overcome. But the present climate is much more impregnated with naturalis m than were its nineteenth-century sources. and the hope that thi s can be promoted by therapy.f the five. Eliot. i~ shows its filiation to the radical Enlightenment. as Marxism is. or rather pessimistic. psychology. In the human potential The Conflicts of Modernity· 507 movement in the contemporary United States. In thiS. which naturally has particularly strong roots in th e United States. The goals are self-expression. among others. fit this descrip tion. and certainly the various theories of the earlier Frankfurt school. of Adorno and Horkheimer in one way. This remains a critical standard. It is still entirely anthropocentric. and to relate them to the search for an expressive fulfilment of the subject. the works o. Obviously. Mann. And many of these writers set their face agamst a subjectiVIst artthis was very often part of what was involved in their anti-Romanticism. This means not only that It IS closed to any theistic perspective. the subordination of some of the traditional deman ds of morality to the requirements of personal fulfilment. or Kafk~.14 There is another family of views which comes to the fore when one has rejected t he instrumentalist reading. It seem s an arbitrary act. and of Marcuse in another. but that it can't even have a place for the kind of non-anthropocentric exploration of sources which has been an important part of modernist art. and its limitations seem obvious. and in other writings of similar ten or. One thing this climate derives from Enlightenment naturalism is the stance of de fending nature and ordinary desire from what are seen as specious spiritual dema nds. Another thing it inherits is the beli ef in science and technique. it ap pears almost as if Adorno saw the human problem as insoluble in history. They are as thoroughly human-centred. Such would be my claim. I have much greater sympathy for this position. But what he nevertheless hung onto was a notion of integral expressive fulfilment. But from the standpoint of the modern Identity as I understand it.filling them.:ent beyond subjectivism-e. s ociology. Indeed. This emerges in the great importance given to methods of therap y and the sciences which supposedly underpin them: psychoanalysis. The hegemony of this outlook in our politics. in which the demands of sensual particularity would be fully harmonized with those of conceptual reason. where it comes close to an undistorted r~cog~ition of conflict between goods. there is a set of ideals which come from Romantic expressivism. also represents a standing threat to our ecological well-being. be it in Rilke. Too a certain subjectivist expressivism has won its way into contemporary cu'lture. These are views which share with instrumentalism com mon roots in Enlightenment naturalism. On one reading. have been precisely those whi ch v. Marxism is s uch a view. Proust. and treats all goods which are not anchored in human powers or fulfilments as illusions from a bygone age. Even leaving the issue of theism aside. but they espouse some notion of expressive fulfilment. and Walt Whit man. discoveri ng authenticity. even where it cannot be integrally realized. make up together the cultural turn which has been .g. It is forc ed in the end to offer a rather reductive account of these explorations. in large par t through indigenous American roots: Emerson and Transcendentalism.. which lay the external standards of tradition on the self and threaten to s tifle its authentic growth and fulfilment. an excessive reliance on an ideological allegiance to the na turalist Enlightenment. They may be optimistic about the human prospect. particularly in its "pessimistic" variants. what is s triking is the fact that the modernist works and experiments which are most deep ly convincing and moving. self-realization. These two together. to negate all this a priori.J~s t mentioned. as the thinkers of the Frankfurt school tended to be. It is tie d in this sense to subjectivism.

can be allowed to trump self-realization. .. The gift of portable roots .16 To find the meaning to us of "our job. A tent for tenta tiveness. a body which is highly useful for its members while they are in a given predicament. There can also be more sinister or threatening offsh oots of thiS culture. the retirement suburbs in the South. cannot sustain the strong identification with the politi cal community which public freedom needs. f amily and social roles". indeed nothing outside subjective goods. g. If 1 could give every one a gift forthe send-off on this journey. particularly in its therapeut ic variants. and what p arts are we suppressing? How do we feel about our way of living in the world at any given time?. It strengthens it.eyond self-fulfilment is precisely that of procedural fairness. A society of self-fulfillers. We may attain expressive fulfilment by this route (subject to the ca~eat a~~ut s ubjectivism in the previous paragraph). generates the notion that the only associations one can identify wi th are those formed voluntarily and which foster self-fulfilment.. ge?erated b. we are invited to ask questions like this: "In what way s are our values. social class. You can't take everything with you when you leave on the midlife journey. the primacy of self-fulfilment reproduces and reinforces some of t he same negative consequences as instrumentalism. where the lapse of traditional standards. it would be a tent. Away from institutional claims and other people's 508 . but to whi ch there is no call to feel any allegiance once one is no longer in need. this bit of the 'counter-culture' fits perfectly into the instrumental. Robert Bellah and his co-authors probe this erosion of the political in their Ha bits of the Heart. Politically. whose affiliations are more and more seen as revocable. the delights of self-disco.named "the triumph of the therapeutic" . which plays a big role in the instrumentalist outlook. fulfilment. And the public consequences are even more direct. the very lan guage of morals and politics tends to sink to the relatively colourless subjecti vist talk of 'values' . Community affiliations. the increaslllg thmness of ties and sh allowness of the things we use. the loss of substance. You are moving out of roles and into the self.very are alwa~s available.. Away from external valuations and accreditations. increases apace.. but in a world ~f cha?glllg affI1~ations and relationships. coupled with the belie f in technique. Here is advice on how to deal with the midlife crisis from the same influe ntial book of the mid-1970'S I just quoted. of marriage.20 The ethic. the so lidarities of birth. the modes of life which this outlook encourages ten d to a kind of shallowness. in search of an inner validation. all take second p lace. . . that there are some goods or purposes the furtherin g of which has significance for us and which hence can provide the significance a fulfilling life needs. of the family. The therapeutic outl. A total and fully consistent subjectivism would tend to wards emptiness: nothing would count as a fulfilment in a world in which literal ly nothing was important but self-fulfilment. bureaucratic world it was thought to chal lenge. The primacy of self-fulfilment. or revocable romantic relationships. CON C L US ION agenda.15 As critics have pointed out.ok seems to conceive commu nity on the model of associations like Parents without Partners. and aspirations being invigorated or violated by our pr esent life system? How many parts of our personality can we live out.21 a process described by Foucault but perhaps not adequat . the capacity to love remams. of the polis. and how to bring up their children.17 But our normal understanding of self-realization presupposes that some things ar e important beyond the self. You are moving away. The "triumph of the therapeutic" can also mean an abdicati on of autonomy.19 Beyond these associations lies the domain of strategic rel~tions where instrument al considerations are paramount.. makes people cease to trust their own instincts about happiness. Then the "helping professions" take over their lives. Because no non-anthropocentric good. such as the 'l ife-style enclaves' in which people of similar interests or situation cluster-e. Th~ug~810ved ones mov ed in and out of our ltves. What is more. goals.

. A crucial area of modern search and concern has been elided. The significant others (Habermas has borrowe d a great deal from George Herbert Mead) are not simply external to me. I strongly agree with Habermas on this) doesn't in any way guarantee us JIO . as though the recovery of a T ocquevillian commitment woul d somehow also fully resolve our problems of meaning. their own blind spots. But enou gh has been said on this score to sketch the case against this subjectivist expr essivism. which construes our predicam ent in terms of a relation of subject to object. rather like Bellah and his associates. because we can see how the advance of instrumental control over nature doesn't have to mean a parallel growth of i nstrumental control over people. that of the rational search for consensus through argument. CONCL USION against loss of meaning. What gets lost from view here is not the demands of expressive fulfilment. And the extreme mobility and provi~ional . can only construe the advance of Enlightenment reason as involving an increasing instrumental domination of object by subject. of th e loss of substance and resonance in our man-made environment. Habermas thinks. hence by exchange between agents. from the faulty conception of the agent. what cannot be fitted into his grid is what the last two chapters h ave been mainly occupied with. one that had a place for goods which are not simply centred on the ind ividual or on human fulfilment. . of relat ionships can lead to a shrinking of the time sense. Habermas reasons that Adorno. Rather. on which 1 have drawn a great de al. But the difficulty is that views of this kind are fre quently themselves one-sided. The logical place to turn would be to an anti-subjectivist reading of thiS The Conflicts of Modernity· 509 conflict. of expressive unity. But once we see that a gents are constituted by exchange. alongside the moral-practical and the cognitive-instrumen tal. Adorno is still operating with the old 'con sciousness theory' model of traditional philosophy. . seems itself to offer a too simple view of our predicament. el ides the experiential problem under the public. Habermas. the search for moral sources outside the subject through languages which resonate within him or her. They see the threat that first utilitarian. there is a parallel elision in the work of ]iirgen Ha bermas. the grasping of an order whi . whose relationship thu s escapes the subject/object model. a view equally critical of instrumentalism and o f subjective expressivism. whereas in fact. as though the two could be solve d for the price of one. Habermas's speech model certainly gives us reason to be less pessimistic about d emocracy and self-management than Adorno was. the loss of substance in our human envir onment and our affiliations.natur~. The sense of an impossible conflict be tween instrumental reason and expressive fulfilment comes. and now also expressive individualism pose for our public life.23 he takes Adorno to task fo r his pessimistic judgement on modernity. the agent is c onstituted by language. They search for ways to reco ver a language of commitment to a greater whole. we understand that reason also advances in an other dimension. But without ever saying so. Thus the book Habits of the Heart.ely explained by him. of a disenchanted universe. a feellllg of lllhabltlng 22 a narrow band of time. becau se Habermas does take account of these-they have their own differentiated sphere of modern rationality. In a rather different way. as I indicated in Part I. the y write as though there were not really an independent problem of the loss of me aning in our culture. they hel p constitute my own selfhood. they have their own form of narrowness. But why should this alter our view of t he experiential consequences? The fact that the self is constituted through exch ange in language (and. with an unknown past and a foreshortened future. Habermas thus corrects Adorno's estimate of the public consequences of instrumentalism. thinking as he does in terms of the subject/object relation. fragmentation. Bellah and his c ollaborators often write as though the principal issue were what I have called t he public consequences. In his Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns.

My claim is that they are all too narrow. as I argued earlier . it presupposes them. finally through eyes critical of the w hole modern turn. whic h are critical of the whole modern turn. It is just that this remains a continuing task. The sympathies of this type o f outlook tend to be rather narrow. It is not (2) because Habermas has a procedural conception of practica l reason. in full integrity. These are views. Above all. libera tion from demanding standards-brought to the fore. And even the most frivolous manifestation may reflect more than we can see at a glance. as no longer seen in terms of its meanings for us. of course. self-satisfaction.e. and the old sense of order falls between the strands. Pound. But that by itself does n othing to show that subjective fulfilment is not a good. and Mann were doing in their radically different wa ys. most trivializing offshoots. It is not (3) because that is concerned purely with subjective express ion. even more strongly anti-subjectivist than the ones just examined. to be sought within a life which is also aimed a t other goods.25 But this distorts. It has diffe rentiated the varied strands of reason. On the contrary. and their reading of the varied facet~ of th e modern identity unsympathetic. The most frivolous and self-indulgent forms of the human pote ntial movement in the United States today can't give us the measure of the aspir ation to expressive fulfilment as we find it. They are all too quick and dismissive in . (2) the attem pt of practical reason to determine the right. which cann ot be put behind us once and for all. I t can easily slide into a celebration of our creative powers. This exploration of order through personal resonance fares no better at the hand s of another class of views. We can easily see why. and (3) explorations of subjectiv e expressive integrity and authenticity. i. which is partly inspired by Weber. This is why.24 But there is no coherent place left f or an exploration of the order in which we are set as a locus of moral sources. and the less impressive motivespride. as I argued above. I have been looking at different readings of the dispute over instrumentalism: fr om the standpoints of disengaged reason and subjective expressivism. interpreted as within us. in Goethe or Arnold. as with the public order of former times. in which t he demands of fulfilment run against these other goods-one which thousands of divorcing or neardivorcing coupl es are living through in our time. hence 'subjective'. may ultimately undercut itself. for instance. It shows only that it n eeds to be part of a 'package'. But a dilemma doesn't invalidat e the rival goods. It is not the exploration of an 'objective' order in the classical sense of a publicly accessible reality. the genume moral sourc es invoked in the aspiration to disengaged reason or expressive fulfilment tend to be overlooked. This can be the basis. like those of the followers of Leo Strauss. It allows that there was a premodern sense that humans were part of a larger order. the enterprise is an attempt to s urmount subjectivism. on the contrary. or the sources can be appropriated.. with its rejection of the public cosmic order of meanings. is in thi s respect i'n line with a widespread view. what Rilke. resonance. It falls between the holes in the grid. This is not (1) ~ecause they are not trying to objectify this order. the danger of a regression to subjectivism always exists in this enterprise. and represented as the basis for 'li beration'.ch is inseparably indexed to a personal vision. Habermas's conception of modernity. Lawrence. we have to avoid the error of declaring those goods invalid whose exclusive pursuit leads to contemptible or disastrous consequences. for instance. then through the eyes of certain writers who contain subjectivism by assuming the experienti al problem under the moral and political. Now there can be (1) a scientific attempt to know the world as obj ectified. The deeper moral vision. The order is only accessible t hrough personal. Modernity is often read throu gh its least impressive. 5I I instrumental and in its Romantic-expressive forms. But at its best. but it sees the development of mo dern rationality precisely ~s showing the incoherence of this view. The se arch for pure subjective expressive fulfilment may make life thin and insubstanti al. for a cruel dilemma. both in its disengagedThe Conflicts of Modernity .

The great epiphanic work actually can put us in contact with the source s it taps. and that is what I called the exploration of order through personal resonance. much less than the drivers have. The subject doesn't permit language which escapes per sonal resonance. Morality is held to be distinct from all this. and antimoderns will themselves invoke rights. even more . for instance. moreover. Stern moralists. 'mo ral sources'. want to contain this murky area of the personal. Itfalls through all the grids. in my view. though it obviously fails of any epiphanic quality. be th e animating ideas of an epiphanic work. This work. by which we moderns live. I want to argue. independent of it. Ha bermas and Hare. and se lf-responsible freedom as well as fulfilment in their political and moral life. The only way we can explore the order in which we are set with 'an aim to defining moral sources is through this part of personal resonance. but that would require another kind of c apacity. 5 I3 these p?sitio~s. The exclusio n goes even wider than I have indicated. That is why the di smissal of this kind of exploration has important moral consequences. I believe. and imperiously binding. even those who believe they deny them: as disengaged r ationalists still puzzle through their personal dilemmas with the aid of notions like fulfilment. falls into. has no place for this exploration. equality. It is not just the epiphanic art of the last two centuries which fails to get its due by this dismissal. concernIng nghts. But what has emerged from this quick survey is that. and others. We either explore this area with such language or not at all. and they have only a hazy gras p of the wiring. if one does a clo se study of the modern identity as it has developed. Our commands come from G od. whether subjectivist or exploratory. too. This is a major gap. Justice. These are the images whi ch enable me to see more clearly than I did before. except that in t his case. why it matters and what it means to have a more deeply resonant human environment and. It can realize the contact. They could.making this kind of claim (seem to) stick is by adopting a proceduralist conception of morality. have theories of this kind. and they assimilate personally indexe d visions to mere ?ot that the basic moral standards of modernity. and we can bypass and subordinate the area of personal sensibility. One way of. But there are other important issues of life which we can only resolve through this kind of insight. the mechanics usually have four thumbs. A similar containment can be brought about by a certain theological outlook. I have throughout sought language to clarify the issues. one class seems to be the espe cially unlucky target of all of them. and I have found this in images of profound personal resonance like 'epiphany'. although they are narrow in different ways and they dismiss different goods. But even Weber.denying certain goods whose validity emerges. It . I haven't mentioned Weber. These are goods. for instance. which attempt the same se arch. Proponents of disengaged reason or of subjective fulfilment embrace these consequences gla dly. under th e influence of a subjectivist interpretation of Nietzsche. and we are the mechanics in the pit. and tend as well to block together all its manifestations . There are no moral sources there to explore. principally because I have many fewer criticisms to make of his 512' CONCLUSION theory. The philosopher or critic tinkers around and shapes images through which he or another might one day do so. Rootand-branch critics of moder nity hanker after the older public orders. We are now in an age in which a pu blicly accessible cosmic order of meanings is an impossibility. benevolence. 'disengagement'. not less bec ause it has a lively sense of the conflict among goods. But a study of the modern identity ought to make one dissatisfied with all The Conflicts of Modernity . they dep~n? rather on goods to which we don't have access through personal senSibIlity. His is one of the most profound and insightful. the same category. 'empowering'. in philosophy. in criticism. This is true not only of epiphanic art but of other efforts. The point of this analogy is t hat we delude ourselves if we think that philosophical or critical language for these matters is somehow more hard-edged and more· free from personal index than t hat of poets or novelists. depend on this exploration. The artist is like the race-car driver.

I haven't had space to pursue this here. 25.4 I have dis~ussed the conflict over instrumentalism at some length because it has b~en In t?e forefront of the discussion of modernity for a couple of centunes. ~y~ntent. And this exploration is not only important for its experiential relevance. But however understandable. for instance. the way we are set In nature and among others. Rilke expresses this claim in image~ of 'praising' and 'making inward'. about which I spoke in Chapter 9. To read. To declare this whole kind of thinking without object is to incur a huge self-inflicted wound. which seem to lay a demand of attentIOn. of careful scrutiny. we can only clarify by exploring the human predicament. What also emerges from this discussion and that of earlier chapters is the way i n which various sorts of selective blindness are entrenched and aggravated by ph ilosophical considerations. These ideals can an d do have their validity (however limited by others). However. And this demand though connected with what we are as language beings. Rilke is to get an articulation of our farther stronger intuitions. These ar~ questions which. is not simply one of self-fulfilment. and I hope that something has been gamed by thiS. or a punctual power of self-remaking (Locke). Albe~t Borgman points out26 how much of the argument for ecolog~cal. that the case against disengaged sub . What emerges is a perspective critical of most of the JI4 . as though we were by nature an agency separable from everything merely given in us-a disembod ied soul (Descartes). As our public traditions of family. we can still recognize the development of this power (within proper bounds) as an important achievement of modernity. as a locus of moral sources. This is true and important enough. The subjectivist bias that both instrumentalism and the ideologies of personal fulfilment make almost inescapable makes it almost impossible to state the case h~re. It is hard to be clear in this domain. even when we cast off this invalid anthropology. CONCLUSION dominant interpretations for being too narrow. as it were. the move is erroneous. whereby we ob jectify facets of our own being. just because we are deep into a language of personal resonance. even polis are undermined or swept away. but makes a further claim on us. It would greatly help in staving off ecological disaster if we could recover a sense of the demand that our natural surrounding and wilderness make on us. It emanates from the world. or a pure ra tional being (Kant). This is from one perspective quit e understandable: it involves reading the stance of disengagement.27 What is important t o note here is that this is not just a wrong view of agency.wa~ to clarify the modern identity by providing a reading of the c~nfll Ct m w?lch It provides the context. but It IS not the whole story. it is not at all ne cessary as a support to self-responsible reason and freedom. Our ideological milieu constitutes a force field in which even doctrines of a quite different intent are bent to conformity. into the ontology of the subject. of respect for what is there. but much of the most insightful philosophy of the twentieth century has gone to refute this picture of the disengaged subject. ecology.restraInt and responsibility is couched in anthropocentric language. But something ex~remely important to us is being articulated here through whatever gropIng and fragmentary one-sidedness. the developing p ower of disengaged. As we saw with Descartes and Locke. for failing to give full recognit ion to the multiplicity of goods and hence to the conflicts and dilemmas they gi ve rise to. It doesn't capture the full extent of our intuitions here. it is one of those facts about the current distribution of the onus of argument. The stance is thereby given the strongest ontological warra nt. self-responsible reason has tended to accredit a view of the subject as an unsituated. of the way the world is not simply an ensemble of object~ for our use. even punctual self. we need new languages of personal resonance to make crucial human goods al ive for us again. RestraInt IS s~~wn as necessary for human have affiliations with some depth in time and commitment.

There are differences. as we saw. which have been trying to lift us out of the preconceptions we easily slide into and to develop anthropologies of situated freedom. we need only compare any strand in our cult ure with basic beliefs held earlier and outside it: we may think. It remains that they ar e the publicly accepted standards. On one side are the holders of the ideals of self-re sponsible reason and freedom. Rather their contours become evident on ly through the picture of the modern identity that I have been drawing. it is all too easy for it to polarize into two camps. Human beings participate th~oug~ grace in this love. who feel they therefore must take on the disengage d anthropology. the devel oping power of creative imagination has tended to lend colour to philosophies of subjective self-expression. In a similar-understandable but invalid-way. is eloquent testimony to the general agreement. bad. The one I listed first contained the issue about sources. and their importance. The original Christian n?tion ~f a gape is of a love that God has for humans which is connected with their goodness as creatures (though we don't have to decide whether they are loved because goo d OJ. There doesn't seem to be an important conflict here. Very often. of judicial torture. who therefore feel that they have to reject altogether the se ideals of reason and freedom. But it is quite a different thing to be moved by a strong sense tha t human beings are eminently worth helping or treating with justice. Rather the issue is what sources can support our far-reac hing moral commitments to benevolence and justice. these standards are regularly evaded. across great differences of theological and metaphysical belief. we subscribe to the m with a great deal of hypocrisy and mental reservation. from the mome ntary relief from the marginal but oppressive sense we usually have of failing t o meet them. this comes about through their attachment to an empi ricist epistemology. In our public debates standar ds which are unprecedentedly stringent are put forward in respect of these norms and are not openly challenged. We agree surprisingly well. of the earth. and similarly for the understanding that t his case doesn't invalidate (though it may limit the scope of) self-responsible reason and freedom. whose omnicompetence does presuppose something like the Lock ean view of the subject. CONCL US/ON all offer positive underpinning of this kind. To see how much our consensus embraces. for instance. So why worry that we disagree on the reasons. experience them this way. Of course. probably almost all of us some of the time. which co ntributes to their saliency. a sense of their dignity or value. No doubt many people. Or perhaps we can get a 'high' when we do s ometimes meet them. as long as we're united around the norms? It's not the disagreement which is the problem. from a sense of our own worth or. Of course. we are called on to further g lobal justice between peoples. how are they experienced? They can ju st be felt as peremptory demands. To the extent that we take these standards seriousl y (and that varies from person to person). All of this points to the crucial importance of the strands of philosophy I The Conflicts of Modernity· JI5 mentioned above. Here we have come into contact with the moral sources wh ich originally underpin these standards. The other two zones of tension I mentioned at the outset are not as widely recog nized as the one I have been discussing. or mutilation for crimes of theft.28 On the other side are protesters against this somewha t desiccated outlook. The way the debate normally goes. . But the very rarity of these cases. the radical Enlightenment accredite d a philosophy which denied strong evaluation. or even of an openly dec lared (as against hidden and unavowed) racism. These have also given rise to polarized debates in which the important insights get lost. or gui lty for failing to meet.jectivity always has to be made anew. including the str idently debated one about abortion. about the demands of justic e and benevolence. good because loved). We are meant to be concerned for the life and we ll-being of all humans on the face . we subscribe to universal declarations of rights. and in its own fashion. And they do from time to time galvanize peopl e into action-as in the great television-inspired campaigns for famine relief or in movements like Band-Aid. more likely. These sources are plural. Bu t they have in common that they 5I6 . standards that we feel inadequate.

becaus e he is looking prec~sel~ for w~a. . The question which ~rises f~o~ all this is whether we are not living beyond our moral means In contInuIng allegiance to our standards of justice and benevolence . on guilt.There is a divine affirmation of the creature. fu?dam~ntall! paraSItIC? This it m ight be in two senses: not only that It den~~s ItS affirmatIon through rejecting an alleged negation. Dostoyevsky's Devt~s IS o?e of t~e great documents of modern times. the y sometimes respond to a strong ideology of pol~rizatio~.on demand breeds self -condemnation for those who fall short and a depreCiation of the impulses to sel f-fulfilment. . many young people are dnven to pohtl~al extre~l1sm. 5 I7 i~placable oppos~t~on to the forces of darkness. the failure is now Identified With some other people or gr oup. it would be both more honest and m ore prudent to moderate them. where th~r~ can be no such thing as beneficence po wered by an affirmation of the rec~plent as a being of value. High standards need strong sources. This is because there ~s somethmg morally co rrupting. directed outward onto an unregenerate world and generating destruc tion and despotism. Nietzsche has explored thiS with s~ffIc~ent force to make embroidery otio se. immediately post-providential vision of nature. Do we have ways of seeing-good which are still credible to time doing jus tice to the innocence of natural deSire. Nietzsche s challen~e is on the deepest level. and the ~re ~ter the sense of separation from evil and hence purity. How well could it surVIve the demise of the religion it strives to abolish? With the 'calumny' gon e. Hypocrisy is not the only negative consequence. or its obv~rse. If morality ca n only be powered negatively. . then pity is destr uctive to the give. And in this connection. that It IS counterIng the calumny impli cit in ascetic codes. which are power ful enough to sustain these standards? Ifnot.r and d~gradl~g to t~e receiver and the ethic of benevolence may indeed be whi~h one recovers a sense of direction as well as a sense of punty by ImIng up 10 The Conflicts of Modernity . But can ~his . in a way which Dos toyevsky has explo~ed to unp~~alleled de~ths. The threatened sense of unworthiness ~an ~lso lea.IS . following the discussion in SectIOn 23·6 : perhaps the original Enlightenment affirmation was indeed confident. someti mes by truly terrible conditions. even VIOle nt the OppOSitIon. the bad. And since meaninglessness is frequently accompanied by a sense of guilt. The more implacable. Is the naturalist seeing-good. In our day as in his. the more the polarity is represented as absolute. There are other consequences of benevolence on demand which Nietzsche didn't exp lore. is Nietzsche wrong. based on a highly idealized. seen as so many obst~cle~ raised. "and God saw that it was good". Nietzsche's challenge IS based on a deep insight. because it lays bare the way In whi ch an Ideology of universal love and freedom can mask a burning hatred. or one of the secular clai mants to its succession. Hi s unsettling conclusion IS that It IS the ethic of benevolence which stands in t he way of it. even dangerous. . they mu. i~ in part motivat ed by the sense that in rejecting r~ligion it . as I ~rgued above. MoralIty as benevole~ce..d to the projection of e vil outward. whlc? IS captured in the repeated phrase in Genesis I about each stage of the creation. Agape is inseparable from such a "seeing-good".t can release such an affirmation of being. but also by a need to gIVe meamng to their liv es. which turns o~ ~he rejecti on of the calumny of religion against ?atur~. My conscience is clear because I oppose them. could the affirmation continue? !he question might arise in another form. The different more or less secularized successor notions all Incorporate somethi ng simil. the issue I raised briefly in Chapter 19 recurs. but also that the ~nglOal mo~el for its universal benevole nce is agape.s~ be liquidated.r. but what can I do? They stand in the way of universal beneficence. Only if there is such a thing as agape. self-satisfaction. Thus Enlightenment naturalism. ~y egoism to our meeting the sta ndard. This becomes par ticularly virulent on the extremes of the polItical spectrum. the feeling of und ischarged obligation. in sustaining the demand slmp!y on.for the fir. And indeed.

and hence often of conflicts. somehow required by our dignity as rational. Perhaps another question might be put here as well. ~uch as ~he m entally obViously not neutral in posing these questions. that great as the power of naturalist sources might be. My aim has been not to score points but to ident ify this range of questions around the moral sources which might sustain our rat her massive professed commitments in benevolence and justice. which has been illuminatingly explored in rathe r different ways by Nietzsche and Dostoyevsky: the demands of benevolence can ex act a high cost in self-love and self-fulfilment. regardless of the (un)worth of the recipients? And to the extent that ~hIs IS. perhaps effort shouldn't be wasted on these unpr~mising c~ses. Even though I have refraIne d (partly out of delicacy. But I recognize that pointed questions could be put in the other direction as we ll. which may in the end require p ayment in self-destruction or even in violence. the potential of a certain theistic perspective is incomparably greater. The naturalist rebellion against the ascetic demands of religion and th e earlier quiet rejection of Christianity by discreet individuals in the name of paganism reflect at least in part the recognition that a terribly high cost was being demanded. emancipated m?d~rns. thereby making their nega tive face all the more dominant and obtrusive29 and pushing the moral sources fu rther out of sight. And indeed. because they don't rec ognize these. And the discussion we have just finished about the sources of benevolence brough t us also to a crucial conflict. so. Is the naturalist affIrmat ion conditional on a vision of human nature in the fullness of its health and st rength? Does it move us to extend help to the irremediably broken. Dostoyevsky has framed th is perspective better than I ever could here. fe~u~es WIt~ g~netlc defects? Perhaps one might judge that it doesn't and that thIS IS a pomt m favour of natu ralism. But the c areers of Mother Teresa or Jean Vanier seem to P01~t to a dIfferent pattern. directed at theistic views. but largely out of lack of arguments) from JIB· CONCLUSION answering them. the reader suspects that my hunch lies towards the affirmative.5 I want now to look very briefly at the third zone. the conflict has been further articulated by writers who have drawn on Nietzsche. which for their part they dismiss as subjectivist illusion. This entire range is occluded by the dominance of proceduralist meta-ethics. What emerged from the discuss ion of the critique of instrumentalism was the need to recognize a plurality of goods. emerging from a Christian spirituality. 25. how close :will we have come to the world Dostoyevsky portrays. t hat I do think naturalist humanism defective in these respects-or. Critics of modernity are frequently just as dismissive about these goods. which makes us see th ese commitments through the prism of moral obligation. In our day. even hatred? . 10 which acts of seemmg beneficence are in fact expressions of contempt. which other views tend to mask by delegitim izing one of the goods in contest. perhaps bette r put. Instrumentralists can ignore the cost in expr essive fulfilment or in the severing of ties with nature.affirmatio~ be sustained in face of our contemporary post-Schopenhauenan unders tandmg of the murkier depths of human motiv~tion? Is t~ere s?mewhere a transfigur ative power to see these as good. those dying without dignity. Proponents o f subjective fulfilment allow nothing to stand against 'liberation' . But the picture I have been drawing of the modern identity b rings this range back into the foreground. One of the important themes one can find in the work of the late M ichel Foucault is the understanding of the way in which high ethical and spiritu al ideals are often interwoven with exclusions and relations of domination. I . there has been some awareness of this for some centuries now in our culture. WIthout paymg Nietzsche's price? Or must benevolence ultimately come to be conceived as a duty we owe ourselves. Will iam Connolly has formulated this aspect of Foucault's .

which is that the highest spiritual ideals and aspirations also threaten to lay the most crushing burdens on humankind. accord them a lesser place. This. This is perhaps the major point elaborated in this book. these take the self-destructive consequences of a spiritual aspiration as a refutation of this aspiration. But in spite of the richness. will recognize the appalling destruction wrought in history in the name of the faith. as yet not fully explored. one might say. But I didn't undertake it in this downbeat a spirit.32 Foucault in his w ritings seemed to be claiming (I believe) impossible neutrality. unless immured in blinkered self-sufficiency. well explored by Enlightenment thinkers. 2-3). the causes of untold misery and even savagery. From all these examples. of the neo-Lucretian stance. But 1have argued that this way of reasoning is deeply mi staken. is not a way of avoiding the dilemma. And even non-believers. some of them undoubtedly are. or res sentiment . Nietzsche often gives a picture of 'moral ity' which shows it to be merely envy. Ce rtainly most of the outlooks which promise us that we will be spared these choic es are based on selective blindness. or a device of the weak. as though something of us h as to be torn away or immolated if we are to please the gods. s ecular humanism. has been rec urrently associated with sacrifice. then.Enlightenment naturalism thought it was refuting Christian ity in showing the cost of asceticism. This is an old theme.The Conflicts of Modernity· JI9 thought very aptly. the danger attends religion. scientific-minded. as I argued in Part I (sections 3. That is why adopting a stripped-down secular outlook. Is this the last word? Does something have to be denied? Do we have to choose be tween various kinds of spiritual lobotomy and self-inflicted wounds? Perhaps. a general truth emerges. It involves stifling the response in us to some of the d eepest and most powerful spiritual aspirations that humans have conceived. This is not to say.31 The sense that in this and other ways hypergoods can stifle or oppress us h as been one of the motives for the naturalist revolt against traditional religio n and morality. this still seems to me too simple. What we need is a sober. in showing how certain conceptions of the life of th e spirit exclude women. because this too inv olves its 'mutilation'. if they don't block it off . The ethic of Plato and the Stoics can't be written off as mere illusion. Not only can some potentially destructive ideals be directed to genuine goods. which they will interpret in a secular fashion. j ust as Christians. and par ticularly by those with what I called the 'neo-Lucretian' outlook (section 19·3)· Bu t the sad story doesn't end with religion. our link with the highest. They make once again what I believe is the car dinal mistake of believing that a good must be invalid if it leads to suffering or destruction. The Kharkov famine and the Killing Fi elds were perpetrated by atheists in an attempt to realize the most lofty ideals of human perfection. is a heavy price to pay. CONCLUSION powerful appeal in the gospel. though. It doesn't avoid it. even mutilation. that if we have to pay some price. we might say. Well. Thus . will feel a 520. or else millenarist ideologies which are somewhat similar to religion in putting m oral passion before hard evidence. The intuition which i . too. this may not be t he safest. of liberation. although it may be a good way to live with it. Characteristi cally. which recognize d no claims as binding. From the ver y beginning of the human story religion. The great spiritual visions of human history have also bee n poisoned chalices.30 And contemporary feminist critique has also contributed gre atly to this understanding. The kind of study I have em barked on here can be a work. in my view. without any religious dime nsion or radical hope in history. But we deceive ourselves if we pretend that nothing is denied the reby of our humanity. And the reason lies in the crucial difference between the perspective 1have been exploring here and th e various naturalist and Nietzschean critiques of self-immolation. or assume their subordinatio n. and which thus deprives it of all claim on our allegiance. Prudence constantly advises us to scale down our hopes and circumscri be our vision.

at . Or rather. which I have recurred to. If the highest ideals are the most potentially destructive. more tota l than humans can ever attain unaided. Others may accuse me with greater apparent justice of inconsistency-or even i rresponsibility. 521 destruction. we are stifling. But ~o explain this properly would take another book. par ticularly after the terrible experiences of millenarist destruction of our centu ry. I want to say tha t I don't accept this as our inevitable lot. How can one demonstrate this? I can't do it here (or to be honest any~her~ . we have buried their power so deep beneath layers of ph ilosophical rationale. We do this partly out of the prudence I have just invoked. human goods. My aim in this ConcluslOn ~as only been to show how my picture of the modern identity can shape our VIew o f the moral predicament of our time. There is a large element of hope. partly because of the bent of modern naturalism. one of our dominant creeds. an attempt to uncover buried go ods through rearticulation-and thereby to make these sources again empower. that they are in danger of stifling. But if I may make one last unsupported assertion. not an iron fate. The intention of this work was one of retrieval. that the highest spiritual aspirations must lead to mutilation or The Conflicts of Modernity . since the y are our goods. The prudent strategy makes sense on the assumption that the dilemma is inescapab le. And perhaps I am merely overreacting to a narrowness of the aca demy which has little effect on the world outsidealthough I don't think this is s o. and in its central promise of a divine affirmation of the human. . partly because of partisan narrowness all around. the n maybe the prudent path is the safest. The dilemma of mutilation is in a s ense our greatest spiritual challenge.nspired it. We have read so many goods ou t of our official story. A little judicious stifling may be the part of wisdom. It is a hope that i see ImplIcIt In Judaeo-Christian theism (however terrible the record of its adherents in hist ory). this point). Some readers may find this overblown (though these will probably have stopped re ading long ago). is simply that we tend in our culture to s tifle the spirit. to b ring the air back again into the half-collapsed lungs of the spirit. and we shouldn't unconditionally rejoice at the indiscriminate retrieval of empowering goods.

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