The Fragility of Elementary Decency: Reflections on John Kekes' The Roots of Evil

The Fragility of Elementary Decency: Reflections on John Kekes' The Roots of Evil Bruce P. Frohnen John Kekes' The Roots of Evil belongs within a worthy tradidecency Kekes so highly and rightly values is both more fragile tion of moral and political thought best described as skeptical and more deeply, culturally rooted than he allows. Moreover, the conservatism. From Hume through Oakeshott, a series of imporskepticism so central to his argument undermines the complex of tant thinkers have, in effect, urged people to restrain their integrated emotional and rational attachments on which the moral appetites--philosophical as well as psychological and physinorms necessary for social peace depend. As human flourishing cal--in order to maintain social and political peace. Only in this requires peace, so peace itself is not possible without a higher, way, the argument goes, can any of us pursue any vision of the integrative narrative, higher ends and a vision of the good that good we may have, because only in this way can we maintain the encompasses moral consensus more than minimal order, and that physical safety necessary to go about our lives. Kekes seems to find both irrational and dangerous. Kekes' Roots of Evil is an important contribution to this discussion, not least As human flourishing requires Reason http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Good Society Penn State University Press

The Fragility of Elementary Decency: Reflections on John Kekes' The Roots of Evil

The Good Society, Volume 15 (2) – May 21, 2006

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 by The Pennsylvania State University. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1538-9731
Publisher site
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Abstract

Bruce P. Frohnen John Kekes' The Roots of Evil belongs within a worthy tradidecency Kekes so highly and rightly values is both more fragile tion of moral and political thought best described as skeptical and more deeply, culturally rooted than he allows. Moreover, the conservatism. From Hume through Oakeshott, a series of imporskepticism so central to his argument undermines the complex of tant thinkers have, in effect, urged people to restrain their integrated emotional and rational attachments on which the moral appetites--philosophical as well as psychological and physinorms necessary for social peace depend. As human flourishing cal--in order to maintain social and political peace. Only in this requires peace, so peace itself is not possible without a higher, way, the argument goes, can any of us pursue any vision of the integrative narrative, higher ends and a vision of the good that good we may have, because only in this way can we maintain the encompasses moral consensus more than minimal order, and that physical safety necessary to go about our lives. Kekes seems to find both irrational and dangerous. Kekes' Roots of Evil is an important contribution to this discussion, not least As human flourishing requires Reason

Journal

The Good SocietyPenn State University Press

Published: May 21, 2006

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