Exploring the World of Human Practice: Readings in and about the Philosophy of Aurel Kolnai

Exploring the World of Human Practice: Readings in and about the Philosophy of Aurel Kolnai

Exploring the World of Human Practice: Readings in and about the Philosophy of Aurel Kolnai

Exploring the World of Human Practice: Readings in and about the Philosophy of Aurel Kolnai

Synopsis

Aurel Kolnai was born in Budapest in 1900 and died in London in 1973. He was, according to Karl Popper and the late Bernard Williams, one of the most original, provocative, and sensitive philosophers of the twentieth century. Kolnai's moral philosophy is best described in his own words as "intrinsicalist, non-naturalist, non-reductionist," which took its original impetus from Scheler's value ethics, and was developed by using a natural phenomenologist method. The unique combination of linguistic analysis and phenomenology yields highly original ideas on classical fields of moral theory, such as responsibility and free will, the meaning of right and wrong, the universalisabilty of ethical norms, the role of moral emotions and internalism vs. externalism, to mention a few

Excerpt

This volume took its original impetus from the first international conference to be held on the work of Aurel Kolnai, the “Aurel Kolnai Memorial Conference”, which was sponsored by the Central European University, Budapest, and the Lajos Batthyány Foundation. It was held at the university on 8 and 9 December 2000, a few days after the one-hundredth anniversary of Kolnai’s birth at 10 Báthory Street, Budapest. We are glad to have this opportunity of repeating our thanks to the sponsors in print.

Because the Central European University Press does not, as a matter of policy, publish conference proceedings, they agreed last year to publish an introductory volume on Kolnai’s work, which would include a variety of papers both by Kolnai and about his thoughts. This collection is the first of its kind and gave us, the editors, the chance of including some little-known but important and representative papers by Kolnai, including some previously unpublished ones, together with some papers delivered at the conference and some others which would serve to fill out a little more the reader’s knowledge of his oeuvre. We have added an introduction, which sets out the main events of his life, the character of his philosophy, and a brief survey of the papers which, respectively, exemplify and explore it.

We should like here to thank all those concerned for allowing us to reprint already published papers, and David Wiggins for his additional permission to publish hitherto unpublished material from the Kolnai Nachlass. Unfortunately we were unable to trace those entitled to be asked about “The Indispensability of Philosophy”.

However, we are glad to end this businesslike preface by expressing our conviction that, after decades of relative neglect, the world of professional philosophy may be gradually coming round to the view that, in ethics and political philosophy, there are few more remarkable thinkers in the twentieth century than the one who is the focal point of this collection.

Zoltán Balázs Francis Dunlop . . .

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