The Great Endarkenment: Philosophy for an Age of Hyperspecialization

Hardcover | June 15, 2015

byElijah Millgram

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Human beings have always been specialists, but over the past two centuries division of labor has become deeper, ubiquitous, and much more fluid. The form it now takes brings in its wake a series of problems that are simultaneously philosophical and practical, having to do with coordinating theactivities of experts in different disciplines who do not understand one another. Because these problems are unrecognized, and because we do not have solutions for them, we are on the verge of an age in which decisions that depend on understanding more than one discipline at a time will be madebadly. Since so many decisions do require multidisciplinary knowledge, these philosophical problems are urgent.Some of the puzzles that have traditionally been on philosophers' agendas have to do with intellectual devices developed to handle less extreme forms of specialization. Two of these, necessity and the practical "ought', are given extended treatment in Elijah Millgram's The Great Endarkenment. Inthis collection of essays, both previously published and new, Millgram pays special attention to ways a focus on cognitive function reframes familiar debates in metaethics and metaphysics. Consequences of hyperspecialization for the theory of practical rationality, for our conception of agency, andfor ethics are laid out and discussed. An Afterword considers whether and how philosophers can contribute to solving the very pressing problems created by contemporary division of labor.

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Human beings have always been specialists, but over the past two centuries division of labor has become deeper, ubiquitous, and much more fluid. The form it now takes brings in its wake a series of problems that are simultaneously philosophical and practical, having to do with coordinating theactivities of experts in different discipli...

Elijah Millgram is E. E. Ericksen Professor of Philosophy at the University of Utah. The author of Practical Induction (1997), Ethics Done Right (2005), and Hard Truths (2009), he has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Guggenheim Foundation...

other books by Elijah Millgram

Practical Induction
Practical Induction

Paperback|Sep 15 1999

$41.91 online$42.95list price
Hard Truths
Hard Truths

Hardcover|Apr 20 2009

$42.95

Format:HardcoverDimensions:312 pages, 9.21 × 6.3 × 0.98 inPublished:June 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199326029

ISBN - 13:9780199326020

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Table of Contents

1. Introductory Remarks on the Tower of Babel2. The Gread Endarkenment2.9 Appendix A2.10 Appendix B3. Practical Reasoning for Serial Hyperspecializers4. D'ou venons-nous. . . Que sommes nous. . .Ou allons-nous?5. Millian Metaethics6. Why Do We Think There Are Things We Ought to Do?7. Lewis's Epicycles, Possible Worlds, and the Mysteries of Modality8. Progressive Necessity9. Applied Ethics, Moral Skepticism and Reasons with Expiration Dates10. Segmented Agency10.9 PostscriptBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"These always interesting, often brilliant, and contentious essays focus on the question of how we need to reason practically, if we are to flourish, given Millgram's account of our human nature and of the environments that we inhabit. The originality of his thought is matched by his clarityand his wit." --Alasdair MacIntyre, University of Notre Dame