Central to the argument of this book is the claim that the status of ethics in the modern world has been rendered deeply problematic by the rise of the so-called ‘Disengaged View’. It is the outlook that is obtained at the end of a process of self-transcendence, of abstraction from what is particular and peculiar about one's own standpoint. In fact, there is probably no final end-point to this process; rather what is currently available are a series of perspectives which approximate with increasing closeness to the ideal of total disengagement. This book agrees with Thomas Nagel that the tension between the ideal of disengagement and the fact that people are, nevertheless, small, finite, limited creatures, give rise to a host of philosophical and other problems.
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