Rethinking Moral Creativity: The Transformation of Moral Standards in the Everyday
My PhD project aims at an investigation of the concept of moral creativity. Taking the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant as a starting point, I want to show how a moral theory that seems to reject a notion of creativity in the realm of universal morality can, on the basis of its own premises, be shown to be compelled to pave the way for an enriched concept of moral creativity. In attempt to further develop this concept, I will combine a genealogical and a systematic approach, examining to which extent Kant’s immediate successors contribute to the project of understanding moral creativity. In this, I will firstly turn to Friedrich Schiller to show how an amalgamation of the moral and the creative ‘after Kant’ can be envisioned, before turning to G.W.F. Hegel’s theory of Sittlichkeit as an attempt to unite morality and creativity as dialectical moments in an encompassing philosophical system. With Hegel, it becomes possible to develop an understanding of the dialectical relationship between the individual and the universal in ethical life, and, thus, of the role the individual plays in creatively restructuring the moral world it inhabits. This insight will then, eventually, be applied to Stanley Cavell’s moral perfectionism, further illuminating how we, as individuals, can understand ourselves as continuously partaking in an open-ended process of moral transformation of self and Sittlichkeit. In proceeding thus, I attempt 1) to approximate two domains of normative theory, namely moral philosophy and aesthetics, while 2) converging Classical German philosophy with the primarily Anglophone philosophy of ordinary language going back especially to the late Wittgenstein.