Moral Clarity              
spacer about Susan Neiman 'Why Grow Up?   current selected press evil in modern thought other texts (english) other texts (german) CV EinsteinForum
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spacer "Moral Clarity", Booklist, April 1, 2008       
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The Enlightenment project of constructing a rational morality—pronounced dead by commentators on the left and right—has found a champion determined to resurrect it for the twenty-first century .
Neiman acknowledges, with distress, that the moral vocabulary of Voltaire, Rousseau, and Kant now survives only among conservatives, whose religious orthodoxies and political agendas she rejects. But progressives must recover that vocabulary, she asserts, if they are to renew society’s commitment to egalitarian justice. Ideologically disarmed by the collapse of Marxism and philosophically paralyzed by the radical skepticism of postmodernism, left-liberal thinkers risk surrendering the young to religious fundamentalists and cynical nihilists if they cannot reclaim the secular ideals of pioneering Enlightenment writers. Committed to the pursuit of happiness through reason, these writers defy their detractors’ caricatures by soberly acknowledging the limits of human faculties, even voicing reverent gratitude for nature’s inexplicable mysteries, while still cultivating hope that human endeavor can advance good and defeat evil. In such mature hope, Neiman finds the possibility for a twenty-first-century moral heroism that brings to our age both the protean adaptability of Homer’s Odysseus and his resourceful resolve to shape his own future. An engaging analysis that will attract even readers who do not share Neiman’s left-liberal premises. — Bryce Christensen

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