Understanding Ethics Through Cavell 's Moral Perfectionism

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Understanding Ethics Through Cavell’s Moral Perfectionism

Ethics is commonly perceived as the moral principles that govern a person or group’s behavior and is fundamentally concerned with the distinction between right and wrong. Quite often our views of right and wrong vary, giving rise to ethical debate in order to reveal morally-supported reasons for or against a certain course of action. Ultimately the aim of this reasoning is to reach an agreement over a certain conclusion, however even to this day philosophers fail to achieve a consensus with regards to which ethical system is the most effective. Some normative theories such as Utilitarianism and Kantianism offer competing interpretations concerning the question of ‘what ought we to do’. They construct specific systems and principles in their attempts to answer questions about the morality of actions. Contrarily, Cavell’s moral perfectionism does not weigh into this competition of moral reasoning and is instead concerned with the various difficulties of self-knowledge, of becoming intelligible and answering the question of ‘who am I really?’ Nevertheless Cavell claims that his interpretation of moral perfectionism is “a relevant form or dimension of moral reasoning” . The issue with Cavell’s assertion is that the relation between perfectionist methods of self-knowledge and the practice of providing moral reasons for a given action is unclear. In more blatant terms, the lack of clear theoretical structure, paired with

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