The Retreat of Reason
A Dilemma in the Philosophy of Life
By (author) Ingmar Persson
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Retreat of Reason by Ingmar Persson
Book DescriptionOne of the main original aims of philosophy was to give us guidance about how to live our lives. The ancient Greeks typically assumed that a life led in accordance with reason, a rational life, would also be the happiest or most fulfilling. Ingmar Persson's book resumes this project, which has been largely neglected in contemporary philosophy. But his conclusions are very different; by exploring the irrationality of our attitudes to time, our identity, and our responsibility, Persson shows that the aim of living rationally conflicts not only with the aim of leading the most fulfilling life, but also with the moral aim of promoting the maximization and just distribution of fulfilment for all. Persson also argues that neither the aim of living rationally nor any of the fulfilment aims can be rejected as less rational than any other. We thus face a dilemma of either having to enter a retreat of reason, insulated from everyday attitudes, or making reason retreat from its aspiration to be the sole controller of our attitudes. The Retreat of Reason explores three areas in which there is a conflict between the rational life and a life dedicated to maximization of fulfilment. Persson contends that living rationally requires us to give up, first, our temporal biases; secondly, our bias towards ourselves; and, thirdly, our responsibility to the extent that it involves the notion of desert and desert-entailing notions. But giving up these attitudes is so overwhelmingly hard that the effort to do so not only makes our own lives less fulfilling, but also obstructs our efficient pursuit of the moral aim of promoting a maximum of justly distributed fulfilment. Ingmar Persson brings back to philosophy the ambition of offering a broad vision of the human condition. The Retreat of Reason challenges and disturbs some of our most fundamental ideas about ourselves.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780199543960
(250mm x 175mm x 30mm)
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 10-Apr-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Ingmar Persson
Inclusive Ethics, Hardback (February 2017)
Inclusive Ethics brings together two ideas which are part of our everyday morality, namely that we have a moral reason to benefit or do good to other beings, and that justice requires these benefits to be distributed equally. Ingmar Persson explores the difficulties of accepting a morality which combines both of these principles.
Unfit for the Future, Paperback (July 2014)
Unfit for the Future argues that the future of our species depends on radical enhancement of the moral aspects of our nature. Population growth and technological advances are threatening to undermine the conditions of worthwhile life on earth forever. We need to modify the biological bases of human motivation to deal with this challenge.
From Morality to the End of Reason, Hardback (September 2013)
Ingmar Persson presents a new analysis of common sense morality-in particular the act-omission doctrine and the doctrine of double effect. He traces both doctrines to a theory of rights and a conception of responsibility as based on causation, and provides an original account of what it is to have a reason for action.
Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory, Paperback (July 2013)» View all books by Ingmar Persson
Building on the strengths of the highly successful first edition, the extensively updated Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory presents a complete state-of-the-art survey, written by an international team of leading moral philosophers.
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