Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Volume 11, Issue 2, Fall/Winter 2004

Rick Anthony Furtak
Pages 37-44

Estrangement and Moral Agency

By taking seriously the state of moral estrangement, we may learn something about the conditions of moral participation. Yet analytic discussions of this topic (for instance, by Hare and Nagel) have frequently been handicapped by an inadequate understanding of the intentionality of emotion. In the work of Albert Camus, we find a superior appreciation of the sense in which the individual’s revolt against prevailing values could be a justified response to objective conditions. Although a sense of the absurd is itself a hindrance to moral agency, it provides us with some insight into our subjective capacity for wholehearted involvement in the world.