Reflections On How We Live
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The pioneering moral philosopher Annette Baier presents a series of new and recent essays in ethics, broadly conceived to include both engagements with other philosophers and personal meditations on life. Baier's unique voice and insight illuminate a wide range of topics. In the public sphere, she enquires into patriotism, what we owe future people, and what toleration we should have for killing. In the private sphere, she discusses honesty, self-knowledge, hope, sympathy, and self-trust, and offers personal reflections on faces, friendship, and alienating affection.
Greek island of Rhodes, is a fountain, with a water system, designed and built in the sixth century bc by the local “philosopher” Cleovolus, and still functioning well. Suppose that recent use of some chemical as a fertilizer in the water catchment area will not only overtax the system’s natural ﬁlter capacity but eventually lead to the clogging, cracking, and eventual destruction of the conduits in the system. Suppose that the prediction is that, unless the fertilizer use is regulated, the water
their knowledge of one’s state with one. I think that it is pretty obvious to all of us that we are not especially good at recognizing our own emotional states for what they are, whereas our friends, or even our enemies, have a much more reliable access to this dimension of our minds, or should I here say “hearts,” than we do ourselves. Of course, they, especially our enemies, may refuse to share their knowledge with us, since knowledge is power, and their ability to manipulate us for their own
he knows that without having exact knowledge, he had apprehended the disaster in its irredeemable totality, and he prides himself on having been capable of sidetracking it for two days before it burst upon his consciousness at a moment of his own choosing.”25 Sidetracking apprehension of disaster and choosing the time to bring it onto the main track is a very interesting thing to be proud of. The novel makes it quite clear that Sigismond has, since the letter arrived, been bent on suicide, that
criterion of relative wisdom will keep up with our changes of mind about what matters most. We will disapprove of too frequent reversals or ﬂuctuations in our evaluations of what matters. Vanessa Bell is reported to have refused to go to social occasions at which formal dress was expected, since such grand parties “changed one’s values” in unwanted ways. There is a kind of integrity in not having one’s version of what matters to one change too easily with change of scene, or of company. To
Press, 2000), 160–75. 174 demoralization, trust, and the virtues It is certainly true that there will always be some conditions that threaten to rob a person of the good qualities she had been reputed to possess. These conditions include not just war, plague, and famine but also private shock and misfortune. The previously conﬁdent and cheerful person may become broken-spirited after personal tragedy, or gross betrayal, or violent assault. She may become demoralized, lose her moral nerve for