Socraticgadfly's Reviews > Without Guilt and Justice: From Decidophobia to Autonomy

Without Guilt and Justice by Walter Kaufmann
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it was amazing
bookshelves: philosophy, psychology-human-development

Kaufmann, Nietzsche's foremost expositor, and best English translator, brings his own considerable philosophical skills to play in this volume.

It is true that some of his specific references, such as the "alienation" of mid-20th century psychology, or his riffs on Solzhenitysn, may be dated.

But his core arguments certainly are not.

Kaufmann spends a fair amount of time turning a withering moral eye to retributive justice, and another withering logical and existential eye to the idea of proportional justice, and various related ideas.

Hence his title "Without Guilt and Justice." Kaufmann argues convincingly that neither idea can be logically generated within an overarching system of morals. One can almost see John Rawls being ground to grist between the millstones of Kaufmann's cogitating.

But, this is small confort to humanists who would argue that an enlightened system of morality exists without religion. Instead, Kaufmann is saying that ALL systems of morals, no matter their metaphysical base or antimetaphysical base, are existential in nature. As for particular moral terms like "guilt" and "justice," without specifically referencing Wittgenstein, or any other philosopher of language, Kaufmann's argument appears to be that they are part of the language games we play.

Speaking of language, while Kaufman's "humbition" comes off as clunky, it seems to be his translation of the Greek ἀρετή, although he never expressly says so, as I recall.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
July 19, 1998 – Finished Reading
December 26, 2012 – Shelved
December 26, 2012 – Shelved as: psychology-human-development
December 26, 2012 – Shelved as: philosophy

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