chapter  2
10 Pages

Lonely in Littlemore

Confidence in Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy
WithSimon Blackburn

This chapter agrees with Bernard on many major points: the close relation between philosophy and other humanities; the mistrust of the idea of analysis as the unique method for philosophy, a broad naturalism, and a pronounced scepticism about the idea of the one true theory in moral philosophy. In short, once the wider class of direct and indirect passions is substituted for the anaemic ‘accepting a self-addressed imperative’ Bernard had little reason to avoid the expressivist or sentimentalist tradition. Bernard had other good things to say about ‘the business of making rules’ which he rightly sees as being at the heart of the Kantian approach to morality. In Bernard’s view, a totally, or at least maximally unreflective society, perhaps unconnected with the modern world, can deploy the thick terms of its folkways, and thereby voice genuine knowledge.