By Gerald F. Gaus
Textual content presents scholars with an outline of key tenets of liberalism built via Hobbes, Locke, Kant and Rawls as much as modern-day theories and debates. Introduces and explores seven dominant theories of public cause; together with pluralism, Neo-Hobbesianism, pragmatism, deliberative democracy, and political democracy. Softcover, hardcover on hand.
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That many people in many circumstances have upheld a value certainly shows that it is congenial to humanity, but congeniality to humanity is not objectivity. 23 One can agree with Freud that the death instinct is part of all human cultures and still reasonably deny that death, aggression and destruction are objectively valuable. Perhaps we are flawed creatures who crave what is bad. Could the universal craving for what is bad make it good? Perhaps a follower of Berlin might say that even if humans universally pursue some bad things, we all recognize them as being bad; we couldn’t make sense of someone who saw death, aggression and destruction as themselves good, even if they pursue it.
We thus have incommensurability in the sense of (III): there is no ordering of them according to which one (and only one) of the following holds: (a) V1 is better than V2, (b) V2 is better than V1, (c) V1 is equal to V2. Note that even though we are unable to compare B and D, we still can say that C is better than B so long as the relative placements of C and B on the f1 dimension are correct. We need not be sure whether their exact location is correct, and of course the relative importance of f1 and f2 is not an issue.
Now, Raz argues, the transitivity relation does not hold if A and B are incom~ mensurable. Let us use ‘ ’ to designate the incommensurability relation. 41 Gray provides an example of this non-transitivity: Aeschylus and Shakespeare are each great tragic dramatists, but their dramatic art is incommensurable: it is false to say that the one is a greater dramatist than the other. Nevertheless, it may well be true that Euripides is a greater tragic dramatist than Aeschylus, without it following that Euripides is a greater dramatist than Shakespeare.