Exposition and Obligation: A Serresian Account of Moral Sensitivity

Symposium 18 (1):176-193 (2014)
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In The Troubadour of Knowledge, Michel Serres demonstrates, by means of an extended discussion of learning, that our capacity to adopt a position presupposes a kind of disorienting exposure to a dimension of pure possibility that both subtends and destabilizes that position. In this paper I trace out the implications of this insight for our understanding of obligation, especially as it is articulated in the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Specifically, I argue that obligation is given along with a dimension of moral possibility, and not, as Kant thought, as an unmediated fact of reason.

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Bryan Lueck
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville


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