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Personal Destinies : A Philosophy of Ethical Individualism - David L. Norton

Personal Destinies

A Philosophy of Ethical Individualism

Paperback Published: 21st February 1977
ISBN: 9780691019758
Number Of Pages: 416

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What is the meaning of life? Modern professional philosophy has largely renounced the attempt to answer this question and has restricted itself to the pursuit of more esoteric truths. Not so David Norton. Following in the footsteps of Plato and Aristotle, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, Jung and Maslow, he sets forth a distinctive vision of the individual's search for his place in the scheme of things.

Norton's theory of individualism is rooted in the eudaimonistic ethics of the Creeks, who viewed each person as innately possessing a unique potential it was his destiny to fulfill. Very much the same idea resurfaced in modern times with the British idealists and Continental existentialists. The author reviews these antecedents, showing how his theory differs from those of his predecessors.

After a fascinating chapter on "The Stages of Life," Norton shows how the mature consciousness of one's destiny leads to direct, intimate knowledge of other persons, and how this in turn provides the basis for social morality. The conception of justice in which this theory culminates, rooted as it is in essential human differences, provides a challenging alternative to the much-discussed theories of Rawls and Nozick.

Industry Reviews

"Decades of painstaking and sometimes agonizing work in philosophy prove to be worth it all when a book like David Norton's comes along. Moreover, this book provides that philosophy need by no means be a dry and bloodless affair... One is hard-pressed to think of any other recent or near-recent book that is scholarly yet speaks to laymen so directly, accessibly, and, as a great bonus, beautifully."--Reason

Prefacep. ix
The Ethical Priority of Self-Actualizationp. 3
Critique of Recent Eudaimonisms: British Absolute Idealismp. 42
Critique of Recent Eudaimonisms: Kierkegaard and Nietzschep. 64
Critique of Recent Eudaimonisms: The Existentialism of Sartrep. 95
The Metaphysics of Individualismp. 122
The Stages of Life: Childhood, Adolescence, Maturation, Old Agep. 158
Eudaimonia: The Quality of Moral Life in the Stage of Maturationp. 216
Our Knowledge of Other Personsp. 241
Social Entailments of Self-Actualization: Love and "Congeniality of Excellences"p. 275
Intrinsic Justice and Division of Labor in Consequent Socialityp. 310
Unscholarly Epiloguep. 355
Notesp. 359
Indexp. 387
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691019758
ISBN-10: 0691019754
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 416
Published: 21st February 1977
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.68 x 14.17  x 2.62
Weight (kg): 0.46