Häromdagen, när jag läste intervjun med Charles Taylor, så arbetade jag samtidigt med Judith Shklar. Och långt bak i hjärnan kopplades sakerna ihop och plötsligt kom jag på att jag nånstans nångång sett en Shklar-recension av Sources of the Self.
Mycket riktigt, en snabb sökning på JSTOR gav napp: Political Theory, Vol. 19, No. 1 (februari 1991).
Känner man till Shklar förväntar man sig en rejäl dust.
[Sources of the Self] is essentially a work of Catholic philosophy. That is what gives it its great interest, especially for a reader who does not share a single one of Taylor’s assumptions, reactions, or conclusions.
Här talar Shklar om sig själv.
I ”Putting Cruelty First” pratar Shklar om skillnaden mellan den troende, som avskyr grymhet men då som en synd, och liberaler som sätter grymheten först.
To hate cruelty with utmost intensity is perfectly compatible with biblical religiosity, but to put it first does place one unalterably outside the sphere of revealed religion. For it is a purely human verdict upon human conduct, and so puts religion at a certain distance.
I recensionen av Taylor kommer denna poäng först i en rapp avslutning. Shklar förklarar att boken är värdefull även för läsare ”who are not looking for meaning” eftersom den är…
…an exhaustive and enlightening guide to the moral world of those who fear skepticism more than evil.
He wants to demonstrate both that Platonic-Augustinian morality has continued to shape modern identity even when it appears to have been rejected. Its power is thus insuperable and deeply embedded in our intuitions, even though modern thinkers have tried to extricate themselves from its bonds.
Still, Taylor believes that Locke’s new appreciation for the moral significance of family life, work, and simple decency remains a valuable and responsive aspect of our moral personality. Its real source is Christian agape and in the double love of God and man, but Taylor does not forget that it is new and that it could emerge only after the aristocratic ethos of glory and honor had been decisively rejected.
In spite of this moral gain, Deism and the materialist Enlightenment are seen here as the quintessential modern disasters. The self is now disconnected, with no credible grounds for moral aspiration.
The real ground for Taylor’s hopes is the romantic reaction against this desiccated, rationalist self. It is the most positive addition to modern self-understanding since Descartes ruinously set it on its naturalistic and instrumental path. Here nature is rediscovered within us and self-expression becomes, even in the absence of grace, a new inner light joining us in acts of creative imagination with nature and the entire order of creation, both human and external. Taylor does not deal much with the Promethean aspects of Romanticism and with its worship of the unique individual. It is not part of the story that he wishes to tell, although he gives Nietzsche his due.
(Detta stycke pekar mot den avgörande spänningen inom romantiken som finns mellan idéer om mänsklig gemenskap och idéer om utlevande rebellisk individualism (de s.k. ”Promethean aspects”).)
The critical thrust of Taylor’s account of the modern self is not simply that it is a flawed identity but that it is self-deluded, for deep down, we remain in touch with our moral origins.
[Han tillskriver] attitudes to the obdurate [=de motsträviga, förstockade] which they simply do not hold or to accuse them of false consciousness. What else can one say of his final conclusion that ”even non-believers, if they don’t block it off, will feel a powerful appeal in the gospel, which they will interpret in a secular fashion; just as Christians, unless immured in blinkered self-sufficiency, will recognize the appalling destruction wrought in history in the name of the Faith.” I do not know about the Christians, but for a nonbeliever, the statement is both untrue and condescending.