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I introduce the main theme of the book: the problem of disenchantment and neo-Aristotelian ethics as a response to this problem. I also describe my central objective of articulating and defending an even fuller kind of re-enchantment than is found in any of the major neo-Aristotelian views on offer and how this is connected to an understanding of human beings as being fundamentally and distinctively the meaning-seeking animal. Additionally, I seek to clarify what is meant by “disenchantment” and “re-enchantment” in order to avoid some possible misunderstandings. Finally, I provide an overview of each of the chapters that follow.
I seek to establish the claim that we are fundamentally and distinctively the meaning-seeking animal through an exploration of the engaged standpoint from within our human form of life, where it can be seen that our human form of life is shaped by “strong evaluative meaning,” that is, meaning or value that involves qualitative distinction (e.g., between higher and lower, noble and base, sacred and profane, etc.) and places normative demands upon us. I also show how this dimension of meaning is overlooked by the dominant neo-Aristotelian approach because of its emphasis on a disengaged standpoint on our human form of life rather than an engaged standpoint and, thus, it does not provide us with an adequate philosophical anthropology and along with this it does not provide us with an adequate account of our reasons for the life of virtue. Moreover, I seek to counter a disenchanting move made by such neo-Aristotelians that involves denying any special realm of obligation. There is such a realm, I argue, and it is the whole realm of strong evaluative meaning, which includes more than just the domain of “the moral” narrowly construed as concerned with what we owe to others.
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