Reason and Conduct: New Bearings in Moral Philosophy

Reason and Conduct: New Bearings in Moral Philosophy

Reason and Conduct: New Bearings in Moral Philosophy

Reason and Conduct: New Bearings in Moral Philosophy

Excerpt

Although the papers selected for inclusion in this volume have been written at various times and for a variety of occasions over a period of more than a decade, they are not in the usual sense occasional works. Much of the serious philosophical writing in our time has been in the form of the essay. In my own case, that form is suited precisely both to what I have hitherto had to say in philosophy and to the way in which I have wished to say it. I am content to let these papers speak for themselves, with a minimum of explanation and apology. Such unity as they possess is the natural unity imposed by a particular philosophical temperament and style, a characteristic way of going at problems, and a persistent concern with a group of problems that appear to me crucial for moral philosophy. Of course, some editorial revision has proved unavoidable. Now and then I have discerned an ambiguity or misleading statement which, upon reflection, has seemed to me unfaithful to what I remember of my original intention. In a few cases, I have rearranged, condensed, or expanded discussions in the interest of greater compression or clarity. But for the most part I have tried not to second-guess my earlier opinions or to remove all evidences of my philosophical development. In fact, it seems to me that the dialectic of that development may prove more instructive than any thesis or antithesis contained therein. By experimenting, I have also found that it is impossible, even were it desirable, to rewrite whole essays. For the result is always a new work which usually says less distinctly a very different thing. And it is . . .

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