The Kind of Person You Are

Double-D paints the picture of an embittered, angry old man making life unpleasant for others for selfish reasons. He wonders how philosophy is supposed to help him talk to such a person.

As it trickles down, I’ve got to figure out what question to approach someone like Grandpa Gesticulations: “Are you a neo-Kantian fusionist with Foucault’s Post-modernity (Star Trek), or are you more in the Existentialist Woven Horizons camp (Star Wars)?”

The best morality is vulgar morality. If philosophy creates a wall outside of which we cannot talk to normal people, then philosophy is an impediment rather than a tool to moral progress or even basic moral operation.

Part of what draws me to virtue ethics is precisely that it provides a language for talking about morality that is wholly accessible  to most people even if they’ve never cracked open a book of philosophy in their lives. People balk at the categorical imperative but have a pretty good idea what you mean and what you expect of them when you tell them they are behaving like a coward.

Virtue ethics delves deep into a question that we all have a very close, emotional connection with—what kind of person do you want to become? What kind of person can you become?

David doesn’t have to invoke Aristotle or Acquinas in order to ask the grumpy gentleman or the less than noble members of his communities if this is really the person they had hoped to become.

2 thoughts on “The Kind of Person You Are

  1. David Duke

    The distance between the Stoics and ordinary me is much shorter than the distance between contemporary philosophers and me.

    Of course, I should instruct myself: I’m a progressive rock fan.

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