Elevating Human Being: Towards a New Sort of Naturalism
Liu (Irene)
Source: Philosophy, Vol. 97, 2017, pp. 597 - 622
Paper - Abstract

Paper SummaryText Colour-Conventions


Author’s Abstract

  1. Defended by scholars such as John McDowell and Julia Annas, the naturalism of second nature (NSN) claims that the virtues are part of a rational second nature instilled through moral education.
  2. While NSN emphasizes that rationality, fully developed, results in autonomy from nature, it is considered a sort of naturalism because the development of rational second nature unfolds through entirely natural processes.
  3. Critics object that NSN does not utilize human nature as a standard of evaluation, which is a problem for a view that claims to be a sort of naturalism.
  4. This paper attempts to meet this charge by introducing a novel way to understand the normative significance of human nature. It argues that NSN supports an analysis of human nature as the raw material of the virtues and, as such, the basis of a kind of aesthetic evaluation. Specifically, human nature is the basis of humaneness, a kind of beauty that belongs to what elevates or refines human nature. Thus, according to the fortified naturalism of second nature the ethical significance of human nature is explained by recognizing how the virtues exemplify a kind of beauty that only humans can have.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2017
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



© Theo Todman, June 2007 - November 2017. Please address any comments on this page to theo@theotodman.com. File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page