The Heavenly City of the Twentieth-Century Philosophers
How to ground or support moral commitments and political norms within a naturalistic worldview is a problem that has challenged thinkers at least since the Enlightenment. This essay reviews the delightful account of the philosophes' vain efforts to address the problem offered in Carl Becker's classic, The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers. The essay then suggests that more recent thinkers have failed in ways closely similar to those Becker discussed. In particular, Martha Nussbaum's much discussed capabilities approach presents almost precise parallels to the eighteenth-century failures that Becker depicted.
Digital USD Citation
Smith, Steven Douglas, "The Heavenly City of the Twentieth-Century Philosophers" (2006). Institute on Law and Philosophy. 87.