File spoon-archives/habermas.archive/habermas_2001/habermas.0110, message 77


Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001 23:23:45 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: HAB: The Ethic of the Species




What an odd and fascinating phrase: "... the ethic of the
species...," which appears frequently and fundamentally in JH's
"Liberal Eugenics" essay. 

[JH] "...But why...should we want to be moral? An assessment of
morality as a whole is itself not a moral judgment, but an ethical
one, a judgment which is part of the ethics of the species" (last
page).

He notes that "Rainer Forst has tried to convince me, with ingenious
arguments, that with this step I unnecessarily leave the path of
deontological virtue," which, I suppose, he denies empathetically. 

Yet, the case can be strongly made, I believe, as the anthropological
ethical basis of moral sense is asserted often in his essay--and so
many instances of JH's appeal for moral universalism is made in
valuational terms that aren't generally considered subject to
impartial comprehension (but belong to one or another "comprehensive
doctrine," to use Rawls' basic term, which JH uses now off-handedly)

"...moral sentiments" different from ethical seniments?  ...."moral
respect...." apart from life-centered self-respect? JH doesn't make
the case. He's an *advocate* of rhetorically ambivalence between
what's "ethical" and what's "moral", which is his *political*
commitment that is so impressive. *Philosophically* the difference
shifts with fascinating bias, in BFN.3 and "Genealogy of Cognitive
Content of Morality." 

"...happiness felt through solidarity....friendliness of a civilized
way....Life in a moral void, in a form of life empty even of
cynicism, would not be worth living. This judgment simply expresses
the "impulse" to prefer an existence of human dignity to the coldness
of a form of life not shot through by moral considerations. The same
impulse accounts for the historical transition, which is repeated in
ontogenesis, to a post-traditional stage of moral awareness."

The Inner Child is alive and well.



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