By Christopher Hamilton, Chris Hamilton
In a sequence of unique and perceptive philosophical essays -including these on ''Birth and Death,'' ''Virtue and Human Flourishing,'' вЂThe have to Sleep,'' ''Sex,'' ''Truth and Reality,'' ''Vanity and Destiny,'' and ''The worry of Death'' -the writer displays at the nature of morality and its relation to adventure, at the person brain and its position in philosophy, and at the strangeness of lifestyles itself. Drawing greatly on literature and philosophy -from Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, George Eliot, Kafka, Jean-Paul Sartre, D. H. Lawrence, and others -Living Philosophy has a few affinities with the philosophy practised through such figures as Martha Nussbaum, Stanley Cavell, and Peter Winch. Hamilton develops a fashion of imminent philosophy that opens up room now not lots to respond to the urgent questions of lifestyles as to deepen our experience of what these questions are.
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12 Emerson's point is that if one acts honestly from what one really is then one has a style of one's own. For sure, it must be agreed that from this point of view any action of any given person cannot give a reason why it is as it is on a specific occasion in the sense of being consistent with all others of this person's actions. But in a larger sense it can say why it is as it is: it expresses what one truly is. One may not like that picture, and one may prefer Kantian consistency. Nonetheless, despite all the efforts of many philosophers to prove otherwise, we do not have a rational justification for the Kantian-inspired moral thinking of the modern West (or, indeed, for any other) which can claim anything remotely approaching universal assent at a theoretical or philosophical level.
38 Morality and Style Does style in morality not just open the door to anarchy, a free for all in which rights and rules go by the board? Many have thought this and the history of moral philosophy is, in fact, in large part, the history of an attempt to extinguish the role of style in our interactions with one another and replace it with rules, obligations and duties which have nothing to do with style. The trouble with this is that a world in which such things prevailed would not have rid itself of style.
When he meets people with good fortune or a reputation for worth, he displays his greatness, since superiority over them is difficult and impressive, and there is nothing ignoble in trying to be impressive with them. But when he meets with ordinary people he is moderate, since superiority over them is easy . . He stays away from what is commonly honoured, and from areas where others lead; he is inactive and lethargic except for some great honour or achievement. Hence his actions are few, but great and renowned.
Living Philosophy by Christopher Hamilton, Chris Hamilton