After The Enlightenment

by Zoe Pollock 

Mark Vernon looks for answers:

[W]hat is it that makes life good for us humans? The Enlightenment left us with few resources for thinking about that larger question, because it was so focused on winning individuals their freedom. ...There is another ethical tradition that can help. It’s known as virtue ethics. Virtue ethics begins by asking what it is to be human, and proceeds by asking what virtues or characteristics, habits and skills we need in order to become all that we might be as humans. It’s much associated with the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, who discussed the meaning of friendship as a way to illustrate his approach to ethics.

Science tells us we are social animals, Aristotle observed. But in order to live well as social animals, we also need a vision of what our sociality can be.