Pittsburgh Continental Philosophy Conference

I’ll be presenting at the Pittsburgh Continental Philosophy Conference, and the conference program was finalized today. I’m really excited about the second day. The conference will be held at Duquesne University, September 26th and 27th.


I’m writing on Caputo for my book, and trying to develop these ideas. The abstract reads as follows, just in case you’re interested 😉

A Phenomenological Refutation of Caputo’s Critique of Obligation and Ethics

By J. Edward Hackett, Ph.D.

In this paper, I explicate Caputo’s critique of obligation and ethics. Then, I apply Max Scheler’s phenomenology of value to Caputo’s critique. When I do, an amazing insight occurs. With Scheler’s phenomenology, I can explain why Caputo’s critique of obligation and ethics makes sense though some interpretation must be made since Caputo is intentionally ambiguous both about what he means by “obligation” and “ethics.” Hence, I interpret Caputo’s claims to be about the universality and codifiability of moral claims through the use of decision-procedures common to the systematic moral philosophies in act utilitarianism and Kantian deontology. In these two instances, Scheler can agree with Caputo, but not for the reason Caputo defends through deconstructionism. Instead, Scheler argues that reason is impotent, which finds agreement in Caputo. Both universality of obligation and the codifiability of moral claims are underwritten by claims of practical reason in terms of utilitarianism and Kantian deontology. However, the experiential claims for Caputo’s skepticism are unfounded. The claim of obligation, its very allure and demandingness is not even based on reason, but on intentional feeling.


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