From Reason to Common Sense. Towards a Critique of Universalism

Gürses, Hakan (2007) From Reason to Common Sense. Towards a Critique of Universalism. - transversal.

[img] HTML

Download (25kB)


It is a well-known passage. The first-person narrator, Socrates, reports on a conversation about justice that he has had with some men at a party. With great indignation, a certain Thrasymachos from Chalcedon soon cuts in on the conversation and reproaches Socrates, saying it is yet another typical example of pointless chatter, nothing but foolish talk. After some banter, the Chalcedonian man finally sums it all up: "I proclaim that justice is nothing else than the interest of the stronger.”1 Undisturbed by this definition, Socrates pursues his famously notorious midwifery skills "to help the truth to be born”. The rest is philosophical history – the report bore the title Politeia and its author"s name was Plato. Is Thrasymachos indulging in cynical opportunism? Or does he intend, as Nietzsche later does, to elevate strength to an ethical constant, where – according to how it is unanimously received at any rate – it is understood not only as a structuring principle, but also as an intrinsically moral value? I think not. He is referring, rather, to the relationship that exists between morality – indeed that goes beyond it: ethics as discourse – and the power relationships in society, power or might. It concerns a relationship that ethical speech very effectively conceals, since ethics supposedly seeks ways to resolve retributively the conflicts that arise from the power relationships. "Moral values are what those in power consider to be good because they have good use for them; this they then laud as being good for everyone”: this is what the sophist from Chalcedon means, albeit using a different wording.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Epistemologie, Wissenschaftstheorie, Naturphilosophie
Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Interkulturelle Philosophie
Kulturwissenschaften, cultural studies > Interkulturelle Studien
Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Gesellschaftsphilosophie, politische Philosophie, Rechtsphilosophi
Depositing User: Dr. Hakan Gürses
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2008 15:22
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2011 18:52

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year