8 June 2017, Spinoza Lectures, Béatrice Longuenesse
It is hard to think of two conceptions of morality further apart than those of Kant and Freud. Kant took our moral attitudes to be the highest expression of our capacity to guide our actions by reason. Freud took our moral attitudes to originate in our deepest, earliest emotional bond, the bond we have as helpless infants to the adult figures we experience as nurturing, protecting, or threatening. Nevertheless, both took morality to be deeply connected to our capacity to think and act, as we would say, “in the first person.” In exploring those two seemingly opposed conceptions of morality, the lecture will explore how emotions and reason converge, or as the case may be, diverge in determining our moral attitudes and our capacity to take responsibility for our thoughts and actions.