Lebensform – zweite Natur – Person

Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 63 (2) (2015)
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For a couple of years, “Aristotelian Naturalism” has been the subject of intensive debates. Among the most prominent proponents of this type of ethical theory are Philippa Foot and John McDowell. At first sight, these approaches are quite attractive for they seem to combine a number of advantages. The central thesis of the present paper is, however, that they do not succeed in developing a convincing ethical theory. To substantiate this claim, Foot’s approach will be presented in a first step. In a second step, McDowell’s critique on Foot will be out- lined. Foot’s attempt to provide an external foundation for morality takes centre stage here. In a third step, McDowell’s own version of Aristotelian Naturalism, which has an explicitly anti-foundational shape, will be delineated. Although McDowell’s critique on Foot proves to be valid, it leads him to the wrong con- clusions. He ignores that a reason-internal foundation of morality is available which resists his legitimate critique while being superior to his own anti-foun- dational theory. At the core of such an approach lies a non-reductive concept of person, which stands in clear contrast to Foot’s concept of “life form” as well as to McDowell’s concept of “second nature”.



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Bert Heinrichs
Universität Bonn

References found in this work

Modern Moral Philosophy.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1958 - Philosophy 33 (124):1 - 19.
Morality as a system of hypothetical imperatives.Philippa Foot - 1972 - Philosophical Review 81 (3):305-316.
Good and Evil.Peter Geach - 1956 - Analysis 17 (2):33 - 42.
The Right and the Good.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1997 - Journal of Philosophy 94 (6):273.

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