Forms of the Ethical

Forms of the Ethical

Intensive Seminar with Raimond Gaita

October 2—4, 2017

Centre for Ethics as Study in Human Value

University of Pardubice


Day One

In the first day I want to explain why I believe that ethics should not be identified with morality. I will give examples that I hope will show that morality is one of the many forms of the ethical. (Bernard Williams, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy Chapter 1). I will be particularly concerned to explain why I believe that morality, law and politics are distinctive forms of the ethical, in many ways related but sometimes in irresolvable conflict. (Prelude: Morality Law and Politics). In the Afterward to the second edition of Good and Evil I discuss and example of racism, shown in the attitude of a woman I call ‘M”. I elaborate ethical the significance of this for an understanding the interdependencies between morality and some other forms of the ethical.

Day Two

In the second day, following on from an elaboration of the example of M to the significance to ethical thought about what John McDowell once called ‘meaning in the loaded sense of the term’, I’ll discuss what I cave called the’ realm of meaning’ - a distinctive cognitive domain in which thought and feeling style and content are inseparable. I’ll argue that thought about almost anything that matters in life occurs in that realm, including of course, thoughts about the various forms of the ethical occurs in that realm.

Day Three

During the third and final day, I will discuss the belief, which has a long history in Western thought going back at least to Plato, that at certain points, morality law a politics come into irreconcilable conflict, though this has nothing whatsoever to do with the conflict between utilitarian and deontological conception of the ethical.

Reading assignments

  • R. Gaita: “Prelude: Morality, Law, Politics”
  • R. Gaita: “The Intelligensia in the Age of Trump”
  • R. Gaita: “Preface” and “Afterword” of the Second Edition of Good and Evil
  • “Afterword: Anne Manne and Raimond Gaita in Conversation.” Pp. 167-197 from A Sense for Humanity: The Ethical Thought of Raimond Gaita, Edited by Craig Taylor, with Melinda Graefe.