Browsing by Subject "practical Philosophy (Ethics)"

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  • Babushkina, Dina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This dissertation is an analytic and systematic philosophical study of ethical idealism of the type developed by F.H. Bradley. The research fills the interpretative gap resulting from the fact that the book has mostly been discussed either from the standpoint of political and social philosophy, or the history of philosophy. Psychological interpretations may be insightful, but are lacking in analytic approach. No major in-depth analytical interpretation of Bradley’s ethics has been undertaken from the standpoint of moral philosophy. The uniqueness of this study lies in its exclusive focus on the key concepts of Bradley’s moral psychology, normative ethics, and meta-ethics. It reconstructs, analyses, and interprets his ethics on the basis of Ethical Studies (ES) (and minor works in moral psychology) and offers a new analytic reading of the book. This amounts to a re-evaluation and reconsideration of the standard interpretation of Bradley’s ethical views, and their significance for ethics. The dissertation moves Bradley’s under-researched work into the context of present-day ethical debates, and, by doing so, recovers its significance as a ground-breaking early analytic text with implications for moral psychology, ontology, epistemology, and normative ethics. Adopting an analytic approach to ES, this study moves away from the usual focus on the traditional methods of the history of philosophy. The dissertation instead focuses on the elucidation of the key questions of ES, the explication of its main ideas, and the connection between them, as well as connecting these ideas to ethical problems, rather than on tracing the development of ideas and concepts, describing tendencies, and putting ideas in historical perspective, or connecting Bradley’s views to particular schools of philosophy or individual thinkers. As a result, the research breaks away from the traditional interpretation of Bradley’s ethics and rejects its common assumptions. Bradley’s views are identified not merely as an idealistic ethics, i.e. one of the varied moral views held by metaphysical idealists, but rather as a version of ethical idealism that claims that the goal of a moral life must be understood as the realisation of the moral ideal for its own sake. The dissertation consists of five peer-reviewed articles that form a coherent narrative. It begins by challenging the assumption that, for Bradley, social requirements equal moral obligations, and undermining the long-standing belief about the central role of “my station and its duties”. Next, the dissertation turns to the key concept of ES, i.e. the moral self, which is explained in terms of personal projects. This concept is further connected to Bradley’s account of desire, and it is suggested that grand desires, i.e. desires directed towards an ideal of one’s personality, are important for the understanding of Bradley’s idea of selfrealisation and the moral life. Lastly, it reconstructs Bradley’s views on moral motivation and the nature of moral beliefs.