X

LIVING RIGHT AND
LIVING WELL

1. Williams's Question

The admission of a variety of motivational elements among the sources of morality results in a system that reflects the divisions of the self. It does not resolve or eliminate those divisions. The discussion so far has not been detailed enough to provide the basis for a substantive moral theory: it has been concerned with foundations and with certain contrasts among the ways the rights and interests of others can impinge on us. While I have argued that moral claims have an objective basis, this doesn't mean that they are radically impersonal. As I have emphasized, objectivity requires that we recognize substantial elements of personal value in practical reasoning, and hence in morality.

Still, the impersonal element in any objective morality will be significant and depending on circumstances may become very demanding: it may overshadow everything else. In this chapter I want to discuss the tension between subjective and objective standpoints that results when these demands of impersonal morality are addressed to individuals who have their own lives to lead.

This is a problem that faces us after the reality of objective moral claims is admitted, and it will be treated differently depending on one's views of the sources of morality, the conditions of practical rationality, and the overall motivational economy of the soul. But it is a problem of

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The View from Nowhere
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The View from Nowhere *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Contents *
  • I - Introduction 3
  • II - Mind 13
  • III - Mind and Body 28
  • IV - The Objective Self 54
  • V - Knowledge 67
  • VI - Thought and Reality 90
  • VII - Freedom 110
  • VIII - Value 138
  • IX - Ethics 164
  • X - Living Right and Living Well 189
  • XI - Birth, Death, and the Meaning of Life 208
  • Bibliography 233
  • Index 239
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