Ideas of John Kekes, by Theme

[American, fl. 1993, Professor at New York State University.]

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10. Modality / B. Possibility / 7. Chance
'Luck' is the unpredictable and inexplicable intersection of causal chains
20. Action / B. Motives for Action / 2. Acting on Beliefs / a. Acting on beliefs
To control our actions better, make them result from our attitudes, not from circumstances
20. Action / C. Preliminaries of Action / 1. Intention to Act / a. Nature of intentions
An action may be intended under one description, but not under another
22. Metaethics / A. Ethical Ends / 1. Value / a. Nature of value
Values are an attempt to achieve well-being by bringing contingencies under control
Values help us to control life, by connecting it to what is stable and manageable
We are bound to regret some values we never aspired to
Innumerable values arise for us, from our humanity, our culture, and our individuality
Cultural values are interpretations of humanity, conduct, institutions, and evaluations
Kant focuses exclusively on human values, and neglects cultural and personal values
The big value problems are evil (humanity), disenchantment (cultures), and boredom (individuals)
There are far more values than we can pursue, so they are optional possibilities
22. Metaethics / A. Ethical Ends / 1. Value / e. Ultimate value
Our attitudes include what possibilities we value, and also what is allowable, and unthinkable
Unconditional commitments are our most basic convictions, saying what must never be done
Doing the unthinkable damages ourselves, so it is more basic than any value
22. Metaethics / A. Ethical Ends / 5. Happiness / d. Routes to happiness
Well-being needs correct attitudes and well-ordered commitments to local values
Control is the key to well-being
22. Metaethics / B. Basis of Ethics / 3. Morality as Convention
Relativists say all values are relative; pluralists concede much of that, but not 'human' values
22. Metaethics / B. Basis of Ethics / 5. Moral Responsibility
Responsibility is unprovoked foreseeable harm, against society, arising from vicious character
22. Metaethics / C. Sources of Ethics / 2. Human Nature
Evil isn't explained by nature, by monsters, by uncharacteristic actions, or by society
22. Metaethics / C. Sources of Ethics / 6. Ethics from Reason
Reason and morality do not coincide; immorality can be reasonable, with an ideology
Practical reason is not universal and impersonal, because it depends on what success is
If morality has to be rational, then moral conflicts need us to be irrational and immoral
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 4. Boredom
Boredom destroys our ability to evaluate
Boredom is apathy and restlessness, yearning for something interesting
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 1. A People / c. A unified people
Society is alienating if it lacks our values, and its values repel us
25. Society / B. The State / 1. Purpose of a State
The ideal of an ideology is embodied in a text, a role model, a law of history, a dream of the past...
Ideologies have beliefs about reality, ideals, a gap with actuality, and a program
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 3. Social Equality / d. Economic equality
Equal distribution is no good in a shortage, because there might be no one satisfied