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The Complexities of Problems

The Complexities of Problems

(p.131) 8 The Complexities of Problems
Human Predicaments
John Kekes
University of Chicago Press

The complexities of problems follow from conflicts in our evaluative framework between personal and social evaluations. Personal evaluations are guided by our beliefs, emotions, and desires about how we should live. But personal evaluations conflict because our beliefs, emotions, desires often prompt us to act in incompatible ways. Social evaluations are guided by the prevailing modes of evaluation. But social evaluations also conflict because the prevailing economic, legal, moral, political, religious, and other evaluations are often inconsistent. And personal and social evaluations also often conflict with one another because there is a very imperfect fit between how we think we should live and how the evaluative framework limits how we can live. Montaigne’s life and Essays exemplify how a reasonable person can struggle with such complex problems from which no one in our evaluative framework can be free.

Keywords:   complex problems, conflicts, personal and social evaluations, choices, contextdependence, Montaigne case, doubts, basic goodness, realism

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