The Problem of Private Validity

  • Mary Midgley


One important question concerns the notion of validity or authority. Is this supposed to be still present at all, or not? Is the individual who has created values or standards then bound by them, standing under some sort of obligation to obey them? If not, the essential point of morality seems to vanish, but then in that case the whole notion of “values” seems to become meaningless too. We would not be engaged in what Nietzsche called a creation of values, or a “transvaluation of values”, a change of standards. We would not be finding new directions, new and better grounds for a better set of indignations and enthusiasms. Instead we would simply be giving up, losing interest in standards altogether, dropping the whole business of pro and con, indignation and enthusiasm. Nothing would have been created.


Moral Judgement Social Contract Theorist Decent People Psychological Egoism Nazi Occupation 
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© Mary Midgley 1993

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  • Mary Midgley

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