chapter  8
14 Pages

Responding to Misanthropy

WithDavid E. Cooper

With the misanthrope’s case now made, attention turns to responses to the misanthropic verdict. The first section of the chapter argues against Steven Pinker’s claim that humankind is making rapid and ‘marvellous’ moral advances. A second section criticises as unrealistic a number of radical proposals, such as drastic population reduction, for removing the conditions that favour human failings and vices. It is then argued that the appropriate response to misanthropy is a ‘quietist’ attempt by a person to live a good life, without any illusion of bringing about radical improvement of the human condition. An important part of this attempt is liberation from a number of ‘isms’, including a scientism and humanism, that obstruct the cultivation of virtues.