An Individual Reality, Separate from Oneself: Alienation and Sociality in Moral Theory

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (2021)
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I argue that the social dimension of alienation, as discussed by Williams and Railton, has been underappreciated. The lesson typically drawn from their exchange is that moral theory poses a threat to the internal integrity of the agent, but there is a parallel risk that moral theory will implicitly construe agents as constitutively alienated from one another. I argue that a satisfying account of agency will need to make room for what I call ‘genuine ethical contact’ with others, both as concrete objects in the world external to ourselves and as subjects who can recognize us reciprocally.



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Jack Samuel
New York University

Citations of this work

Work and Social Alienation.Chris Bousquet - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (1):133-158.
Toward a Post-Kantian Constructivism.Jack Samuel - 2023 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9 (53):1449–1484.

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References found in this work

Origins of Objectivity.Tyler Burge - 2010 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Phenomenology of Perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1945 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
Totality and infinity: an essay on exteriority.Emmanuel Lévinas - 1961 - Hingham, MA: distribution for the U.S. and Canada, Kluwer Boston.
Utilitarianism: For and Against.J. J. C. Smart & Bernard Williams - 1973 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Bernard Williams.

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