Ethics, Hermeneutics, and Eudaimonics

International Philosophical Quarterly 50 (2):243-256 (2010)
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Abstract

Contemporary ethical theory ought to take both the biological and cultural constitution of human subjects into account. But the coupling of these constraints raises questions about the scope of each. In this paper I defend the view that, rather than predetermining human moral sensibility, or founding a universal ethic on that basis, the biological constitution of human beings actually prefigures their wide variability across cultures and argues for the open-endedness of questions of meaning and value. I defend this conception against Owen Flanagan’s neo-Darwinian “Eudaimonics” as well as against various forms of ethical a priorism and ethical skepticism, making critical use of Charles Taylor’s hermeneutic conception of human moral valuation

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Phillip Honenberger
Morgan State University

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