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|Title:||Longing for the Good: The Growth of Moral Order in the Ethics of F. H. Bradley|
|Author(s):||Green, Craig Steven|
|Department / Program:||Philosophy|
|Degree Granting Institution:||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
|Abstract:||Bradley's critique of abstract, atomic individualism in social and political theory addresses persistent shortcomings of liberalism. At the same time, his account of the growth of moral order in the individual offers a counterweight to excessively organicist theories of the moral self, which dissolve it into social context and undercut the possibility of non-social, non-trivial moral norms. This thesis argues that Bradley avoids this by complementing the contextual determination of individual ends with a developmental moral psychology that provides a conception of human nature and specific ends which are not socially formed, and develops more fully his conception of the community as the embodiment of moral order.
In the introduction I describe the development of atomic individualism in social theory and nineteenth century opposition to it. In chapters two and three I examine Bradley's critique of Mill's atomism and Michael Sandel's criticisms of Rawls's social theory and compare these criticisms. The comparison indicates significant agreement between communitarian criticisms of deontological liberalism and Bradley's critique of Mill.
In chapters four through six I give an account of Bradley's moral psychology which explains his philosophical motivation for espousing social organicism. I examine the notion of self-realization as a psychological principle and make tangible the central importance Bradley gives to realization of the self as a whole. I consider: Bradley's basic psychological "law," its bearing on the early stages of moral development, the development of 'objective interests' which become constitutive of our mature moral identity, Bradley's formula for self-realization, and the nature of some concrete ends which give it substantial content. I incorporate these into a consideration of Bradley's conception of the community or 'moral organism,' and defend this from the objection that it requires strong metaphysical claims.
In chapter seven I develop the conception further through a comparison of Bradley's ethics to A. E. Murphy's account of the language of moral reasons in The Theory of Practical Reason. My conclusion indicates its present importance by relating it to a recent study of ethical culture in America--Habits of the Heart--and by suggesting its potentially salutary effects.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1993.
|Date Available in IDEALS:||2014-12-17|