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Ordinary Language Philosophy and Radical Philosophy

Discussion
Ordinary Language Philosophy
and Radical Philosophy
1. Sean Savers
The Editorial of Radical Philosophy 6 (pl) concerns
ordinary language and ordinary language philosophy.

It is a vapid and compromising piece of writing on a
topic upon which radical philosophers have previously
been clear and decisive; and what it says is such an
abandonment of what little radical philosophers have
so far managed tq unite about (specified in the
r<.adical Philosophy statement of Aims, significantly
omitted from this issue) that some response is needed.

The Editorial concludes by stating:

To escape the crushing embrace of ordinary
language it is necessary to do more than tUrn
one’s back.

what more? – we are not even given a hint. But in
any case, it is not ordinary language which .exerts a
‘crushing embrace’ (how could it?)
On the other hand,
many radical philosophers have argued that ordinary
language philosophy does do so – i.e. philosophy which
dictates that the primary or even sole source of
data for the philosopher should be the usages of
ordinary language. For example, David Ingleby argues
this at length and with great clarity in the verv
same issue (pp43-4 – why no mention of this i ; the
editorial?) .

Ordinary language philosophy, in the sense
defined above, is the very epitome of everything that
Radical Philosophy was set up to fight (see Statement)
It is therefore extraordinary to read in this
editorial that:

the slogan ‘ordinary language philosophy’ does
not really pick out a question on which it makes
much sense to take sides anyway.

(What a grotelque sentence!)
On the contrary, it is essential for Radical philosophy to oppose ordinary language philosophy (whether
explicitly labelled with that slogan or not), because
it represents the anti-theoretical, anti-scientific,
conservative and ideological tendencies of recent
British nhilosophy in their clearest form.

Furthermore, it is said to be hard to generalize
about ‘orthodox English-language philosophy’. This
too is false. One can certainly generalize about
recent British philosophy – it would be an entirely
unique historical phenomenon if one could not. And
moreover, it is essential to generalize about it if
one is going to oppose it. Indeed the reply that it
is impossible to generalize about recent British
philosophy has been the standard ploy of these
philosophers who ignore and dismiss the consistent
stream of criticism ,.,hich has been levelled at their
work from Gellner, ~1arcuse and Anderson 1 right down
to the criticisms of the Radical Philosophy Group.

Recent British philosophy has been academic in
character, it has predominantlv functioned as
bourgeois ideology supporting the academic, intellectual and social status quo; it has been predominantly
(though not exclusively) empiricist in various forms,
and one could go on to be more specific on all these
points, and also talk about its historv and evolution, its effects on intellectual life, etc etc …

And it is for these reasons that radical philosophers
have been opposed to it: the effect of adopting the
position we find in this editorial is to abdicate
from any critical stance towards the predomin&nt
tradition of recent British philosophy.

But to return to ordinary language philosophy:

the major virtue claimed for it in this editorial is
its supposed ·anti-elitism·. This is yet another bit
of the self-congratulatory ideology of recent British
philosophy which is completely false.

In fact
ordinary language philosophy has been overwhelmingly
abstruse, pseudo-technical, apparently irrelevant to
anyone but the initiate (and his unfortunate students),
unreadable by the intelligent ‘layman’, let alone
any more • ordinary , mortal. These are hardly ‘antielitist’ qualities!

For an illustration of the significance of
ordinary language for philosophy we are referred to
Bernard Harrison’s article on ‘Fielding and the
Moralists’ (pp7-l6). It hardly exemplifies the
‘anti-elitism’ we are led to expect by the editorial.

I found it, however, an interesting, provocative and
valuable piece; but also, I found myself in profound
disagreement with what Harrison has to say on one of
its underlying themes: the relevance of ordinary
language to philosophy.

The article is not itself a piece of ordinary
language philosophy – it does not argue on the basis
of ordinary language, ‘what we would say … • etc.

Rather, it is, in part, a defence of the primary
importance of ordinary language as data for the
philosopher and, as such, may be considered as a
defence qf ordinary language philosophy.

Harrison’s thesis is that ordinary language is
lble to capture the complexity of reality, whereas
philosophical and moral theories have distorted and
simplified for the sake of ease and comfort. He
argues for this view by contrasting Fielding as a
moralist, with the moral theories of Hobbes, ~ande­
ville and Butler, or rather the degenerate and crude
form which their philosophies had assumed in the
• ordinary , consciousness of Fielding’s times.

Fielding, we are told, does not attempt to reduce
the complexity of moral life to simple formuiae.

Rather, Fielding’s technique is one of

compelling us to recollect the force of ordinary
moral concepts and distinctions … In all cases
his intent is to recall us from shallow and oversimplified philosophical schematisations to a
full consciousness of conceptual distinctions
which we are quite capable of making in everyday
life although we seldom bother to inspect or to
analyse them, and whose complexities go far beyond
the persuasive generalities to be found in the
works of philosophical moralists. Wittgenstein
says somewhere that the task of philosophy is to
‘assemble reminders’ of the full richness of our
everyday conceptual scheme; and I think this
phrase is not inappropriate to Fielding’s
practice as a novelist. (p9)
The conclusion of this argument would appear to be
that philosophy should abandon the attempt to theorize, and merely content itself with ‘assembling
reminders’ of what is wrong with existing theories.

The anti-theoretical attitude entailed by the ordinary language approach to philosophy could hardly be
expressed more clearly.

I want to argue.that this
anti-theoreticism has not been argued for, and that
it has disastrous consequences for philosophy.

When Harrison finds that current philosophical
theories are over-simple his conclusion, apparently,
is that theories in philosophy are inherently untrustworthy: much better to stick to ‘ordinary
language’ (and, he might have added, ‘good common
sense’). Such an anti-theoretical attitude, however,
is in no way guaranteed to produce a consciousness
with the subtlety of Fielding’s: it is just as
likely (much more so in fact) to produce all the
moral platitudes and banalities which are just as
much embedded in ‘ordinary language’. Ordinary

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I

language in fact provides no guide whatever to what
is correct or incorrect in morality ,or in any other
area of philosophy.

‘Ordinary language’ is not
incompatible with any theory, it just depends whose
ordinary language you are considering and what their
philosophy is. ~!hat ‘we’ would ordinarily sav
depends entirely on how ‘we’ understand the world:

i.e. what ‘our’ philosophy is. The whole attempt to
argue philosophical results on the basis of ‘ordinary
language’ is circular. 2
When one finds that a theory is inadequate over-simple and crude for example – the answer is not
to abandon all attempt to work out a theory, rather
one should attempt to construct a more adequate, a
more sophisticated, theory. That, at least, is the
philosophical way, for philosophy is an essentially
theoretical enterprise; and ordinary language is not
a substitute for theory, on the contrary it is a
concealed and mystified way of insinuating theoretical notions without arguing for them.

Furthermore, it is not because Fielding is using
‘ordinary language’ (as opposed to a theory) that
his work is significant to the moral philosopher. It
is rather because, according to Harrison at least,
he has a more adequate and sophisticated perception
of moral realities, and the ability to communicate
these in writing.

Indeed, Harrison even goes on to
suggest that Fielding does have a theory, the central
concepts of which are ‘disinterested love’ and ‘Good
Heart’, although this is vaguely presented (are
these concepts from ‘ordinary language’ as Fielding
uses them??)
One of the most valuable aspects of Harrison’s
article is that he argues strongly that moral philosophers should learn much more from literature than
they have been willing to do in the past. It seems
to me that this is a particularly urgent point to
make in Britain, where the literary tradition has
been exceptionally rich in moralists, whereas the
dominant tradition of moral philosophy has been
overly abstract and metaphysical – tending to see
moral philosophy merely as a branch of epistemology
and logic.

There are, it seems to me, at least 2 ways in
which the moral philosopher can learn from literature,
Both can be illustrated from Harrison’s discussion
of Fielding, although he explicitly acknowledges only
the first.

The. novel presents important data for the moral
philosopher. For example, Harrison claims that
Fielding provides such data for the refutation of
egoism, by showing Tom Jones behaving in a genuinely
altruistic fashion over the ESO. This is a case of
‘assembling reminders’ of the reality of moral life
(it has nothing to do with ordinary language, nota
bene, in which it would be just as possible to
‘assemble remlnders’ of egoism, or any other moral
outlook). Such cases are mere data for the philosopher, however, and not yet philosophy. In order to
construct a moral philosophy it is necessary to say
more than that egoism, e.g., is false because don’t
forget that altruism is possible (actual in this
case).

It is necessary to construct a theory, for
ex~mple, of egoism, altruism, and of their relations
~o each other and to other moral concepts.

In fact many novelists (more or less) implicitly
operate with theories of this type. On the evidence
presented by Harrison (I have not read Fielding),
fielding may be one such. We are told that he tries
to reject the shared dichotomies of the competing
moral philosophies of his day, and that he tries to
replace them with the concepts of ‘disinterested
love’, the ‘Good Heart’ etc.

A novel may be of importance to a moral philosopher in a second way, therefore. As well as
providing mere data about moral life, a novel may
also contain philosophical argument and even a
coherent philosophy – i.e. a way of seeing the moral
world. However, such a philosophy is unlikely to be
presented in a novel in a philosophical form.

It
will probably be implicit only, and not explicit
(particularly if the novel is a good one). To be
put into a philosophical form, such a philosophy

must be made explicit. This means presenting it in
theoretical and general terms, abstracted from the
concrete (fictional) situations in which it is
presented in its literary form.

Of course, novelists
and writers themselves often present their ideas
abstractly; but to the extent that their abstract
ideas become divorced from the concrete situation
in which they are supposed to be being lived-out in
the novel, the novel is diminished in its impact
(a very common failing of much science fiction).

In good literature abstract ideas, when they are
present, are firmly embedded in the concrete
situation. 3
I have been arguing that philosophy is a theoretical enterprise which cannot be conducted merely bv
reporting ordinary usage. What then of the ordinary
language philosophy which the articles I have been
discussing seek to defend? Is ordinary language
philosophy therefore non-philosophy? No it is not.

It is, almost invariably, bad philosophy, because
philosophy unaware of what it is doing, but philosophy nevertheless. And it is philosophy because
ordinary language philosophers invariably do not
merely ‘report ordinary usage’, ‘assemble reminders’

etc, but in the process also suggest a certain
general view about how things are. Harrison
(Fielding?), for example, suggests that ‘disinterested
love’ is a basic motive for people as well as
egoism. And Austin, in his writings, comes over as
a naive realist and uncritical empiricist. Indeed,
uncritical and naive empiricism has been the predominant philosophy of the ordinary language school,
not because ‘ordinary language’ is so, but because
their ‘ordinary language’ (and what they select from
it) and their ‘common sense’ is so.

Finally, let us look at the standard argument
for ordinary language philosophy. Austin’s version
of it is referred to with approval in the editorial.

It goes as follows:

Our common stock of words embodies all the distinctions men have found worth drawing, and the
connections they have found worth making, in the
lifetimes of many generations: these surely are
likely to be more numerous, more sound, since
they have stood up to the long test of the
survival of the fittest, and more subtle, at
least in all ordinary and reasonably practical
matters, than any that you or I are likely to
think up in our amrclBirs of an afternoon – the
most favoured alternative method. 4

It would appear that this incredibly complacent argument has long been a popular one amongst academic
philosophers; for Bacon (one of the greatest critics
of academicism) was familiar with it in the 17th
century, and attacked it then as a ‘conceit’ which
impedes the advancement of learning.

He writes:

Another error … is a conceit that of former
opinions or sects, after variety and examination,
the best hath still prevailed and suppressed
the rest; so as i f a man should begin the labour
of a new search, he were but like to light upon
somewhat formerly rejected, and by rejection
brought into oblivion: as i f the multitude, or
the wisest for the multitude’s sake, were not
ready to give passage rather to that which is
popular and superficial than to that which is
substantial and profound; for the truth is, that
time seemeth to be of the nature of a river or
stream, which carrieth down to us that which is
light and blown up, and sinketh and drowneth
that which is weighty and solid. 5

Bacon is surely right. Great scientists and thinkers
in all ages have initially had to battle against the
conservative prejudices and ignorance of the ‘common
sense’ of their day.

‘Ordinary language’ and ‘common
sense’, as much as they embody truth, also embody
all the common ignorance and prejudice of the day;
and it is only because people have dared to question
it and think beyond it that knowledge and learning
have advanced.

In short: ordinary language philosophy is an

37

.

essentially conservative style of thought: it is
incompatible with any genuine radicalism. It is
anti-theoretical and anti-scientific, and thus also
anti-intellectual: it is anti-philosophical. It
should therefore be rejected by anyone who calls
himself a ‘radical philosopher’.

NOTES
1

E. Gellner, Words and Things, 1959; H. Marcuse,
One-Dimensional Man, 1964; P. Anderson, ‘Components of the National Culture’, New Left Review
No.50, 1967.

2

David Ingleby makes this point in Radical
Philosophy 6, p44.

3

Cf. G. Lukacs, ‘Art and Objective Truth’ in
Writer and Critic.

4

J. L. Austin, ‘A Plea for Excuses’, Proceedings
of the Aristotelian Society, 1956-7.

5

Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning (1605)
in Selected Writings, (ed.) H. G. Dick, Modern
Libra~y, NY, 1955, p190.

2. Jonathan Ree
I am very sorry that Sean Sayers – one of the
creators of this magazine – so disliked the editorial
in Radical Philosophy 6. But I am glad to say that
this is because he completely misunderstood it. In.

the discussion piece printed above he attacks it as
a ‘defence of ordinary language philosophy’ and
therefore an abandonment of everything the Radical
Philosophy Group stands for. But it was not a
defence of ‘ordinary language philosophy’ at all.

In it, I discussed the notion of ‘ordinary language
philosophy’, which some modern philosophers use to
characterise their work; and when I referred to its
‘appearance’ of anti-elitism and to the ‘expectation’

that this might arise, I was not expressing
‘approval’ of its ‘virtues’, but recording its
misleading appearance.

The editorial was meant to indicate that we, as
supporters of the Radical Philosophy Group, should
not allow the issue between ourselves and orthodox
English-language philosophers to be defined by the
other side; and in particular that we should not
accept their self-image as ‘ordinary language philosophers’ – as though the important point at issue
was whether to study, or for that matter use,
‘ordinary language’. For us to accept that this was
the issue would, I think, be like a workers’ revolutionary party accepting that its aim was to replace
.democratic institutions with totalitarian ones. -Je
won’t get anywhere if we are content to think about
the philosophy we are attacking in the terms provided
by its own ideology.

‘To escape the crushing embrace of ordinary
language it is necessary to do more than turn one’s
back’ – so said the editorial. ‘What more?’ asks
Sean Sayers. The answer is that we need to have
knowledge – scientific, and historical, knowledge about people’s languages, because these are one of
the main forms in which philosophical ideas are encoded and transmitted. We should not accept that
self-styled ‘philosophers of ordinary language’ have
given the study of languages the treatment it
deserves, or that we, as their opponents, should
therefore have nothing to do with it. Sean Sayers
apparently thinks that the fact that languages are
repositories of ideology means that we should not be
interested in them; but that is like thinking that
a revolutionary party should not be interested in
actual social relations.

Sean asks why Radical Philosophy no longer reprints the ‘statement of aims’ in every issue. Two
reasons, I think, led the editors to this decision.

1
~Vhether we like it or not, the inentity of
Radical Philosophy will be defined not by a
statement of aims but by what it prints; a

38

2

reiterated statement of aims would be either
superfluous or at odds with the contents.

The policy of the Radical Philosophy Group ought
always to be open to discussion, rather than
being given the formal timeless anonymity of a
reiterated statement of aims. It is best to have
discussions about it (like this) – but perhaps
it was wrong to include them in an unsigned
editorial.

3. Bernard Harrison
Sayers misconstrues my paper as a sort of covert
defense of something called ‘ordinary language philosophy’, the central dictum of which is that the main
or even perhaps sole business of pWilosophy is to
describe the logic of ordinary language.

The philosophical doctrines with which I was
primarily concerned in the paper are (a) Mandevillean
and Hobbist egoism, (b) the doctrine, expressly
stated by Kant but, as I argue, covertly assumed in
Eighteenth Century English moral philosophy both by
egoists and anti-egoists, that the only intrinsically morally good thing is a good will, and that a
good will is, among other things, a will divested _
of what Kant would have called phenomenal ends.

Both these doctrines are reductionist in the sense
that, if true, they entail that many conceptual
distinctions which we draw in everyday life (or
‘mark in ordinary language’) are epistemologically
baseless.

One general strategy to adopt against reductionist doctrines is presumably (i) to examine carefully
the nature of the distinctions in ordinary language
which must, if the reductionist is right, be abandoned
as baseless, and then, (ii) to show how it is that
we manage to make these distinctions, and in showing
this, with luck, to show that, and why, they are
epistemologically soundly based after all: in short to
produce an alternative theory to the reductionist
one.

My article was intended mainly as literary criticism, but certainly as literary criticism with a
philosophical bearing. From a philosophical point
of view my argument was (A) that Fielding uses certain technical resources of the novel to (implicitly)
conduct a two stage anti-reductionist argument of
the sort sketched in the foregoing paragraph, and
(B) that he emerges from this with a theory about the
nature of morality (which I state as clearly as I
know how in section V of my paper) superior to (a)
and (b) above.

Sayers clearly half sees that a theory is at
stake (I say so often enough), but has plainly not
managed to grasp what it is. With the best will in
the world I cannot resist the suspicion that this is
because he has not taken the trouble to read Fielding
before dashing into print against what he imagines
to be my views. How can you make anything, good or
bad, of a piece of literary criticism – even philosophical criticism – if you have not read the author
under discussion? Battling against intellectual
reaction is a fine and stirring activity, but you
need to take along your gun: and even occasionally
to oil it.

Be that as it may, there is nothing in my paper
which makes me a protagonist of ‘ordinary language
philosophy’ as he defines it. I do indeed say at one
point that Fielding’s technique protects us against
reductionist philosophical schematics by reminding
us of the real complexity of the conceptual distinctions which we draw without thinking about it in ev~ry­
day life. But how else could one go about the attempt
to refute a reductionist doctrine? Certainly it
would not be enough just to do this: one needs in
addition a theory which exhibits the epistemological
bases of the distinctions in question. But then my
whole claim is that Fielding offers such a theory,
and that it is a better one than those held by his
philosophical contemporaries. sayers’ technique of
hunting for brief, as it were incriminating, quota-

tions and then hacking away at the rest of the paper
to fit it to the procrustean bed thus constructed has
not unnaturally led him astray.

Incidentally, I don’t think Sayers’ distinction
between ‘ordinary language philosophy’ and ‘theory’

is really of much use as a touchstone for diagnosing
what is reactionary about English-speakin~ philosophy
at the present time. The trouble is that the aim
of just ‘describing’ ordinary usage has been more
talked about than put into practice. I’m not at all
sure what Sayers means by ‘theory’, but if a theorist is anyone who dissents from the dictum that the
sole task of philosophy is to describe the logic of
ordinary usage, then not only am I a philosophical
theorist but virtually every significant philosopher
writing in English at the present time is a philosophical theorist.

Certainly this is true, to take just one example,
of Professor R. M. Hare, a philosopher whose views
I do not altogether share, but whom I greatly respect;
who seems to have become a regular aunt sally for
some Radical Philosophers, largely on the strength of
his article ‘A School for Philosophers’. Hare’s own
work, it seems to me, totally belies that article.

It is indeed one of life’s little ironies that a
man who can assert, with every appearance of complacency, that a philosophical doctrine must be
briefly stateable and wholly non-technical if it is
to receive a serious hearing at Oxford should himself be the author of two long books of great technical difficulty and complexity which expound a very
elaborate moral theory of the same general type as
Kant’s. Of course Hare claims inter alia that the
theory he constructs is implicit in the everyday
logic of ‘ought’ and other moral terms, but these
claims themselves serve a theoretical function in
protecting his doctrine against certain lines of
attack, mainly having to do with the well-known problems about naturalism. The fact that Hare’s methodological asides make him look a bit like Sayers’

straw man should not blind us to the fact that the
edifice which Hare’s methodology helps to support is
a ‘theory of morals’ in a quite traditional sense,
and one which bears upon many traditional, and
important, problems about morals. But perhaps
Sayers has some other sense of ‘theory’ in mind which
I simply don’t understand.

In short, although I don’t necessarily dissent
from the claim that some of the views, and perhaps a
lot of the views, characteristic of English-speaking
philosophy at the moment are in some sense reactionary (I wouldn’t accept the view that English-speaking
philosophy is reactionary root-and-branch, but then
‘English-speaking philosophy’ seems to me to designate a very mixed bag of views and tendencies and
not a single homogeneous entity), I cannot see that
the ordinary language/theory distinction gets us any
closer to discovering which, or why. I thought I wa~
attacking some rather reactionary views in my
article. But that had better be left now to speak
for itself to other readers.

Putting Morality in its Place
Few readers of Radical Philosophy (except perhaps
spies acting on behalf of non-radical philosophy)
are likely to disagree with Richard Norman’s description of recent moral philosophy as ‘inadequate’, or
with his insistence that those who practise it are
really committed to a morality of liberalism.

[See ‘Moral philosophy without morality?’ in Radical
Philosophy 6, pp2-7] And the hopes he expresses for
what moral – or rather ethical – philosophers ought
to be doing (‘articulating a workable set of ethical
concepts in terms of which one could direct one’s
life and activity’), and the wish that academic
philosophers would stop sneering at the suggestion
that philosophy has something to do with questions
about the meaning of life; these will find an enthu-

siastic audience in most of us too, certainly in me.

What does not arouse such agreement or enthusiasm
in me is the main body of the article. To be fair,
Norman himself has doubts about the validity of what
he sals; and I think he was right to have them.

Basically, he wants to replace an ethics of ‘morality’,
‘ought’, ‘duty’ and ‘virtue’ by one whose basic
concepts are ones like ‘health’, ‘harmony’, ‘selfrealization’, ‘integrity’ and so on. And it’s this
more positive section that gives me doubts.

To begin with, I don’t like the company he keeps.

The philosophers who have taken this sort of line in
the past – who have they been? Plato, Aristotle,
Bradley – are these the prophets of radicalism?

Great men, undoubtedly, but not quote those we should
normally expect to find lined up on the~ame side as
Radical Philosophy. They were not liberals, true;
but only because they were conservatives.

(It may be
significant that when Norman briefly considers
jettisoning the concept of ‘virtues’, it is Warnock
he criticizes, and not Aristotle or Plato.)
still, perhaps that isn’t really fair. The point
isn’t who else said something rather like what Norman
says, it’s what he says himself. Yet there are some
funny things in that too. If we take seriously the
question ‘What is it that screws up people’s lives?’

we are told, then, ultimately, the answer must be:

not individual failings and weaknesses, but corrupt
and oppressive institutions. It’s that ‘not’ that
bothers me. For its implication is that the unscrewed-up life is the life of the man who isn’t the
victim of corrupt and oppressive institutions. And
that suggest the man who is their beneficiary – the
aristocrat, the rentier, whom the institutions serve
and who hasn’t even got the troubles of an active
company director. The natural inference from Norman’s
position is that this is the man who is to provide
us with a model of the un-screwed-up-life, as far as
we can get one; maybe the institutions even screw
him up a little, but he’s the nearest we can get.

And surely he is not a good model; not for our lives
here and now, anyway. Explicit praise of the aristocrat may suit Nietzsche, but hardly Norman – even if
he does quote Nietzsche with approval.


Is he a good model for the future, then? Do we
hope ultimately for a Utopia in which everyone is
(more of less) like this ‘aristocrat’? That doesn’t
seem likely either. Even in Utopia people work; and,
what is more, some of them will need to do the unpleasant or monotous kinds of work. You can find
fulfilment in a great many callings, but there are
some that I suspect of having alienation built into
them. It’s not Utopia we need for a society of
perfectly fulfilled citizens; it’s Paradise.

But of course the ‘aristocrat’ I’ve been de~crib­
ing isn’t Norman’s ideal in the least, and I’ve had
to admit it. In fact, the ‘balanced’ man in a
corrupt society is as defective as anyone else; he
is nicely adapted to crooked surroundings, and when
they get straightened out he will no longer be
balanced. Granted. But that only makes my point
more clearly; it isn’t balance or harmony or selfrealization that constitutes the ethical ideal. At
the most, it’s what would be balanced or harmonious
in an uncorrupted society, and that only because in
an uncorrupted society a man could presumably live
the ideal life without getting unbalanced. In an
oppressive society the man who truly responds to his
higher self will be a misfit, and quite right too.

That is how radicals, revolutionaries, and even
reformers, are made.

Do we then want to reinstate ‘Morality’ after
all, with its old Apparatus of ‘good’, ‘right’,
‘ought’, ‘duty’ and so on? I suspect that it has
got a place, though only a subordinate one.

(It
seems to creep back even into Norman’s sketch of the
healthy individual; isn’t the ‘higher self’ rather
like an improved and more humane version of the
Kantian legislative will – as well as being a nearliteral translation of ‘super-ego’?) It has a place
for two reasons. Firstly because, as Norman says,
even the healthy individual (even, I should add, in
an uncorrupted society) can’t really act all the time

39

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