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Imagination and Ethical Ideals
Prospects for a Unified Philosophical and Psychological Understanding
Imagination and Ethical Ideals
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Nathan L. Tierney - Author
SUNY Series in Ethical Theory
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 184 pages
Release Date: August 1994
ISBN10: 0-7914-2047-7
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-2047-8

Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 184 pages
Release Date: August 1994
ISBN10: 0-7914-2048-5
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-2048-5

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"Tierney gives us an account of moral ideals that is philosophically sophisticated, psychologically realistic, and sensitive to our nature as imaginative moral creatures. Moral philosophy is desperately in need of such an account, if it is going to address the needs and motivations of actual human beings. With brevity, subtlety, and deep insight, Tierney shows us what is unsatisfactory about a morality grounded on universal rules and based on a notion of moral motivation as compulsion. He then offers his alternative account, which focuses, not on rules, but rather on imaginative, ethical ideals. Nobody, to my knowledge, has explored these dimensions of our moral experience, and nobody has addressed the issues of imaginative ethical ideals with this kind of sophistication and clinical adequacy." -- Mark L. Johnson, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Imagination and Ethical Ideals is an interdisciplinary work which investigates some of the links between moral philosophy and moral psychology, with implications for both personal ethics and social philosophy. Tierney begins with the argument that the widespread fascination with moral principles has led moral philosophers into a dead end, which is revealed both by their inability to deal with the problem of relativism, and by the felt irrelevancy of moral philosophy to the lives that people are actually striving to lead. He then offers an alternative account of the nature of ethical thought, grounded in a theory of imaginative ethical ideals. A psychological framework for ideals is then developed using the results of contemporary psychoanalysis and psychology, particularly the self psychology of Heinz Kohut.

Nathan Tierney
is Chair of the Department of Philosophy at California Lutheran University.

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Table of Contents


Part 1. Imagination in Ethics: Philosophical Aspects

1. Contemporary Dilemmas in the Project of Ethical Understanding

The Failure of the Ethics of Principle
The Mark of the Ethical
Imagination's Fate

2. Hume and Smith: Imagination in the Extension of Sympathy

3. Kant

Kant's General Theory of Imagination
Imagination in Moral Judgement and Feeling

4. The Seeing-As Concept of Imagination

Wittgenstein's Concept of Seeing-as
Schematisms of Interpretation

5. Ethical Ideas

The Nature of Ideals
Kierkegaard's Approach to Ethical Idealization
Ideals in Moral Reflection

6. The Moral Philosophy of the Self

The Self in Moral Life

Part 2: Psychological Aspects

7. The Self in Classical Psychoanalysis

8. Ethical Idealization in Classical Psychoanalysis

Later Developments in Classical Psychoanalysis
Hartmann's Ego Psychology

9. Heinz Kohut's Psychoanalytic Self Psychology

The Bipolar Self

10. Narcissism and Ethical Idealization in Self Psychology

Part 3. Conclusions and Implications

11. Moral Authority for a Free People

Autonomy and Authority
Virtue Ethics Reconsidered
Theory and Practice: Relativism and the Theoretician's Dilemma Reconsidered
Democracy and Moral Authority



Name Index

Subject Index

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