ChoiceIncoming LinksMarch 3rd, 2021The burden of Choice is a peculiarly modern phenomenon. It proliferates in a world that no longer has any God or gods, nor even any sense of what is sacred and inviolable, to focus our understanding of what we are. *📰 A Nihilist’s Guide to Meaning | Melting AsphaltNone of this is to say that Alan Watts or Kurt Vonnegut are wrong, or that we must do something meaningful with our lives. But to the extent that our brains were built to seek meaning, we won't be able to quench our thirst by dancing around or making fart apps. So we're left with a Choice: either we strive to make a meaningful difference in the world, or else learn to face the void without flinching, and to find peace in simple being.📙 A Common FaithI should describe this faith as the unification of the self through allegiance to inclusive ideal ends, which imagination presents to us and to which the human will responds as worthy of controlling our desires and Choices.📙 A Rumor of AngelsIt is relatively easy, sociologically speaking, to be a Catholic in a social situation where one can readily limit one’s significant others to fellow Catholics, where indeed one has little Choice in the matter, and where all the major institutional forces are geared to support and confirm a Catholic world.The pluralistic situation not only allows the individual a Choice, it forces him to choose. By the same token, it makes religious certainty very hard to come by.📙 After Virtuethere is a deep incoherence in Enten-Eller; if the ethical has some basis, it cannot be provided by the notion of radical Choice.Kant’s failure provided Kierkegaard with his starting-point: the act of Choice had to be called in to do the work that reason could not do.The second feature of Enten-Eller to which we must now turn concerns the deep internal inconsistency—partially concealed by the book’s form—between its concept of radical Choice and its concept of the ethical.But now the doctrine of Enten-Eller is plainly to the effect that the principles which depict the ethical way of life are to be adopted for no reason, but for a Choice that lies beyond reasons, just because it is the Choice of what is to count for us as a reason. Yet the ethical is to have authority over us. But how can that which we adopt for one reason have any authority over us?In our own culture the influence of the notion of radical Choice appears in our dilemmas over which ethical principles to choose. We are almost intolerably conscious of rival moral alternatives. But Kierkegaard combines the notion of radical Choice with an unquestioning conception of the ethical.📙 All Things ShiningThe burden of Choice is a peculiarly modern phenomenon. It proliferates in a world that no longer has any God or gods, nor even any sense of what is sacred and inviolable, to focus our understanding of what we are.Although the burden of Choice can seem inevitable, in fact it is unique to contemporary life. It is not just that in earlier epochs one knew on what basis one’s most fundamental existential Choices were made: it is that the existential questions didn’t even make sense.An unrelenting flow of Choices confronts us at nearly every moment of our lives, and most of us could admit to finding ourselves at least occasionally wavering. Far from being certain and unhesitating, our lives can at the extreme seem shot through with hesitation and indecision, culminating in Choices finally made on the basis of nothing at all.📙 Crippled GraceJesus teaches and then embodies a solution to the problem of evil: the divine Choice to submit to the injustice and suffering of the cross, and transform the evil done to him into a good by responding with Love and forgiveness.📙 Experiences of DepressionIf our capacities were unlimited, to wish would be to be to get, and the distinction between Desire, Choice, and action would break down.Sartre suggests that all of our activities and projects, all of the ways in which we find things significant, can be traced back to an original project that is chosen: ‘all these trivial passive expectations of the real, all these commonplace, everyday values, derive their meaning from an original projection of myself which stands as my Choice of myself in the world’ (1989, p.). I reject this last claim on phenomenological grounds.The phenomenology of freedom does not originate in an ungrounded Choice but in a pre-given space of possibility, a space that is susceptible to various kinds of change.📙 Phenomenology and Virtue EthicsAct-centred ethics, because they focus on discrete acts and moral quandaries, are naturally very interested in formulating decision procedures for making practical Choices. . . . Agent-centred ethics, on the other hand, focus on long-term characteristic Patterns of action, intentionally downplaying atomic acts and particular Choice situations in the process.📙 Reading Alasdair MacIntyre’s After VirtueFrom the standpoint of human action, ethics is the study of human action; it investigates the goods people seek to gain through their Choices, and the conditions that affect people’s abilities to judge and to act effectively in that pursuit.The standpoint of civil society, the standpoint that informs all modern moral and political philosophy, sees the individual as a singular who joins together with others only by Choice.From what we may call “the standpoint of the Common Good,” the standpoint of Plato, Aristotle, and Thomas Aquinas, the Common Good is not an aggregation of private interests, and it is not a formal or procedural good like justice or the right to due process. From this ancient and medieval standpoint, the Common Good is a substantive good that we can seek for ourselves only through participation in the life of the communities to which we belong; it is a good for each of us that we can all share, but only if we seek it together. This ancient and medieval standpoint of the Common Good views the human person as a political animal who belongs to a community neither by Choice nor by accident, but by Nature.