Autonomy and Normativity
Investigations of Truth, Right and Beauty
This title was first published in 2001. Autonomy and Normativity explores central topics in current philosophical debate, challenging the prevailing post-modern dogma that theory, practice and art are captive to contingent historical foundations by showing how foundational dilemmas are overcome once validity is recognized to reside in self-determination. Through constructive arguments covering the principal topics and controversies in epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics, Autonomy and Normativity demonstrates how truth, right and beauty can retain universal validity without succumbing to the mistaken Enlightenment strategy of seeking foundations for rational autonomy. Presenting a compact, yet comprehensive statement of a powerful and provocative alternative to the reigning orthodoxies of current philosophical debate, Richard Winfield employs Hegelian techniques and focus to object to opponents, and presents a radical and systematic critique of the work of mainstream thinkers including Kant, Rawls, Husserl, Habermas and others. The ramifications for the legitimation of modernity are thoroughly explored, in conjunction with an analysis of the fate of theory, practice and art in the modern world. This book offers an invaluable resource for students of both analytic and continental philosophical traditions, and related areas of law, social theory and aesthetics.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Truth: Freedom from foundations: the normativity of autonomy in theory and practice; Hegel’s remedy for the impasse of contemporary philosophy; Philosophy without foundations?; Concept, individuality and truth; Space, time and matter: conceiving nature without foundations; Right: Ethical community without communitarianism; The immanent critique of natural ethical community; With what must ethics begin? Reflections on property and contract; Unity in the Common Law?; Friendship, family and ethical community; The unfinished revolution in Family Law; Should the economy be democratized? Relativism and democracy; Post-colonialism and right; Beauty: The individuality of art and the collapse of metaphysical aesthetics; Romanticism and modernity; The challenge of architecture to systematic aesthetics; Conclusion: Modernity and the recovery of truth, right and beauty; Index.
A radical and systematic critique of some of the mainstream thinkers by means of a single unifying principle. This book will contribute very constructively to current philosophical debate. Wilfried Ver Eecke, Professor of Philosophy, Georgetown University, USA Winfield has a very clear position, namely that normativity must be foundation-free and so self-determining, and he explores the implications of this position with great energy and clarity. This volume will appeal to students and scholars coming from a broadly Hegelian direction, as well as those working on political questions from the perspectives of Kant, Marx, Rawls or Habermas. '... the book serves as a confident introduction to a Hegelian critique of foundationalism in metaphysics and epistemology...' Review of Metaphysics