Så er Kapitel Fem allerede mere eller mindre klar. For en gangs skyld var der ikke behov for de store til- eller omskrivninger, og der skulle ikke flyttes noget videre om, og så går det pludselig stærkt 🙂
Som sædvanligt følger her et uddrag af konklusionen – til de mennesker der måtte have masochistiske tilbøjeligheder af filosofisk art:
If the capacity for actively resisting the unifying aspects of human upbringing really is a feature of human psychology, and if, as Lovibond clearly believes, this capacity is ethically significant (and even ethically valuable), then the development of this capacity should be viewed as just as important and fundamental an element of the formative process as the attempt to create a unitary self. This is what is missing from Lovibond’s account. She fails to take seriously that the capacity for active resistance is a part of, and not just something external to, the formative process. Like Aristotle Lovibond views (ethical) formation primarily as a socializing process through which human beings become acquainted with and learn to endorse and reliably employ the norms and values of the community into which they are born. And like Aristotle Lovibond acknowledges that being a moral agent involves more than simply having internalized the values and norms of one’s community; one also need the critical capacities needed to critically scrutinize, reflect upon and (if necessary) reject the norms – or perhaps the entire set of norms – within which one has been brought up.
What both Aristotle and Lovibond have difficulty explaining (Aristotle probably more so than Lovibond) is how to make room for and explain the development of this capacity within their own theories. Aristotle, as we saw, did not really provide an account of the development of the intellectual virtues. And Lovibond construes, or at least tends to construe, the “capacity for active resistance” as something external to the process of formation. That is; Lovibond ends up regarding the capacito for active resistance as at most an “enabling presence“, a “valuable pointer in the direction of fallibilism” and as something which “give expression to an unexceptionable sense of the limits” of reason and formation in the lives of embodied creatures like human beings. But these concessions to the sort of radically critical “counter-teleological thinking” outlined in the third part of Ethical Formation seems insufficient when one realizes that the capacity for critical reflection (the “capacity for active resistance“) must itself be viewed as something which is acquired and developed through some sort of formative process.
To me these considerations speak in favour of modifying or revising the Aristotelian account of (ethical) formation. What we need is a conception of formation which takes seriously the idea that the formative process not only implies the creation of a unitary human subject through socialization into the values and norms of a community, but also involves processes which actively opposes this unifying process. To use Lovibond’s Aristotelian-inspired language; what we need is a conception of formation which does not regard the creation of a unitary self capable of expressive seriousness as the only, and single most important, telos of formation. If we want to take seriously the idea that formation also involves the creation of a certain level of opposition and conflict within the self, then it would seem that the telos of ethical formation cannot be simply, or only, unity of self; it must also, in some way or another, include the idea of a certain fragmentation or plurality of the self.
Og til de som måtte tænke deres: Ja, det er Kant, der, i de kommende kapitler, leverer løsningen/svaret på (næsten) alle disse problemer 🙂