05 enero 2005


[This is Armando Fumagalli's comment on the book "Real Ethics. Rethinking the Foundations of Morality", by John Rist -Cambridge University Press, 2002-. It surveys the history of ethics from Plato to the present day and offers a vigorous defence of an ethical theory based on a revised version of Platonic realism. In a wide-ranging discussion he examines well-known alternatives to Platonism, in particular Epicurus, Hobbes, Hume and Kant as well as contemporary 'practical reasoners', and argues that most post-Enlightenment theories of morality (as well as Nietzschean subversions of such theories) depend on an abandoned Christian metaphysic and are unintelligible without such grounding. It is published in "The Writer's Back Porch"]

#099 ::Varios Categoria-Varios: Etica y Antropologia

by Armando Fumagalli, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore - Milano


First of all, I would like to point out that I agree with the main theses of the book; especially, the thesis that the only coherent position in moral philosophy is realist and theistic; and, though I must say I'm not in a strict sense a specialist in moral philosophy, I also agree with most -- or should I say almost every one -- of the particular arguments stated in the important and thoughtful book by Professor Rist.

The impossibility of having an ethics without a metaphysics is an important point of the book that should not pass unnoticed. Rist stresses the importance of giving a foundation to rules and of examining the reason why we consider rationality a condition of goodness. He argues that, in order to qualify an act as good, it is not sufficient to refer to its conformity with rationality. We need also to ground the relation between rationality and human nature, and to answer the question why rationality should be an end in itself.

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