Isaiah Berlin: A Value Pluralist and Humanist View of Human by Connie Aarsbergen-Ligtvoet

By Connie Aarsbergen-Ligtvoet

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Extra info for Isaiah Berlin: A Value Pluralist and Humanist View of Human Nature and the Meaning of Life (Currents of Encounter 27) (Currents of Encounter: Studies on the Contact Between Christ)

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We do have a common human nature, but the “naked man” is always overlaid by culture, which leads to different ideals of completeness. In Hampshire’s words: How could there be a guaranteed harmony among competing moral requirements and interests, a harmony founded on common human nature, if this common human nature is always overlaid by some specific moral requirements, which are not founded on a universal human nature, the naked man, and which are known to be diverse? (Hampshire 1983: 142) There are different ideals of a harmonious and complete life and therefore a natural harmony between conflicting requirements becomes questionable.

Furthermore, in practical life there is a natural tendency towards the good which is a prerequisite for resolving value conflicts in an ethical way. In Berlin’s thought emotions play no role in conflict resolution, but we do see a clear reference to practical life. BERLIN’S VALUE PLURALISM 33 Aristotelian. 1). It should be noted that Berlin also rejects the quite popular view that value conflicts can be solved by behaving in a virtuous way. It is the tragic nature of our non-harmonious moral universe and cultural influences and the presence of moral diversity that causes value conflicts.

There is no logical connection between value pluralism and liberalism. How can Berlin still protect his precious negative liberty? 3 we will come back to this problem. CHAPTER 2 Without Hope for a Perfect World In this chapter we will examine the political, academic and existential consequences of Berlin’s rejection of the idea of a harmonious moral universe. Berlin is critical of worldviews that assume a deeper harmony behind the diversity in the world. The main political conesquence of the belief in a non-harmonious and tragic moral universe is that a perfect society on earth, in the sense that all values can be harmoniously combined, becomes impossible.

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