Contemporary political philosophy - especially in the works of Martha Nussbaum, John Rawls and Amartya Sen - has assumed that it can separate itself off from other philosophical positions and frameworks. In this book, Den Uyl and Rasmussen challenge this trend by moving from the liberalism they advocate in their earlier work to what they call ‘individualistic perfectionism’ in ethics. They continue to challenge the assumption that a neo-Aristotelian ethical framework cannot support a liberal, non-perfectionist political theory by filling in the nature of the perfectionist ethical approach utilised in their previous political theorising. By developing the central features and principles of individualistic perfectionism they show that it is a major and powerful alternative to much contemporary ethical thinking - particularly to constructivism - and that it is capable of overcoming standard objections to perfectionism. ; Contemporary political philosophy – e.g. Martha Nussbaum, John Rawls and Amartya Sen – tries to separate itself from other philosophical positions and frameworks. Now, Den Uyl and Rasmussen challenge this trend by moving away liberalism to what they call ‘individualistic perfectionism’, creating a powerful new way to think about ethics. ; Analytic Contents; Preface; Introduction: What is Ethics?; Part One: Making the Turn: An Overview of Individualistic Perfectionism; The Search for Universal Principles in Ethics and Politics; Tethering; Tethering II; Part Two: Facing a New Direction; The Perfectionist Turn; Because; Toward the Primacy of Responsibility; The Entrepreneur as Moral Hero; Afterword: Big Morality.
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This outstanding work develops an illuminating contrast between moralities that arise from the "template" of responsibility for one’s self-perfection and moralities that arise from the "template" of respect for persons at large. The authors defend the responsibility approach – especially through their sustained, innovative, and nuanced case for a highly individualistic moral perfectionism.
Douglas J. Den Uyl is Vice President of Educational Programs at Liberty Fund, Inc. He has published essays or books on Spinoza, Smith, Shaftesbury, Mandeville and others. His most recent books include the co-authorship with Douglas B. Rasmussen of the 2006 book Norms of Liberty and God, Man and Well-Being: Spinoza’s Modern Humanism in 2008. He co-founded (with Douglas Rasmussen) the American Association for the Philosophic Study of Society, The North American Spinoza Society, and The International Adam Smith Society. He taught Philosophy and was Department Chair and Full Professor at Bellarmine College (now Bellarmine University) before coming to Liberty Fund.; Douglas B. Rasmussen is Professor of Philosophy at St. John’s University in New York City. He is the author of numerous articles in various philosophical journals and books as well as coauthor (with Douglas J. Den Uyl) of Liberty and Nature, Liberalism Defended, and Norms of Liberty (which has been translated into Portuguese a