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Title: The re-enchantment of the world : McDowell, Scruton and Heidegger
Author: Reynolds, George
ISNI:       0000 0004 5347 7291
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2014
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In a recent discussion of disenchantment and re-enchantment Charles Taylor suggests that it is possible to respond to the disenchanted view of the world, in which meaning and value are understood as subjective projections, by articulating a re-enchanted sense of nature or the universe from the perspective of human ‘agency-in-the-world’, in which meaning and value are objective. The question I address in this thesis is, what could it mean to articulate a re-enchantment from within our ‘agency-in-the-world’? In Chapter One I examine the work of John McDowell in order to explore the possibility that he gives sense to the idea of a re-enchantment from within our agency-in-the-world. I conclude that he provides one way of doing so. However I argue that McDowell’s naturalism of second nature can seem limited as it does not address the ‘proto-religious’ dimension to Taylor’s understanding of re-enchantment. In Chapter Two I turn to the work of Roger Scruton to consider whether he provides a re-enchantment from within our agency-in-the-world that does accommodate this proto-religious dimension. I conclude that he does, but raise concerns about how convincing Scruton’s re-enchantment is. I argue that, from a McDowellian point of view, a case can be made that Scruton implicitly accepts as true certain significant elements of the disenchanted view of the world. In Chapter Three I look to the later Heidegger for an alternative re-enchantment from within our agency-in-the-world that attempts to accommodate the proto-religious. I focus on two interpretations of the later Heidegger given by Julian Young and Charles Taylor. In response to a worry put forward by Young, I argue that Charles Taylor’s interpretation can accommodate a proto-religious dimension. In my Conclusion I argue that McDowell’s naturalism of second nature and the understanding of our agency-in-the-world as presented by Taylor’s Heidegger, form interestingly continuous re-enchantments. On this basis I argue that although McDowell himself does not extend his idea of second nature to accommodate the proto-religious, the example of later Heidegger shows that there is nothing inherently limited about the framework of second nature that means it cannot be extended to encompass important proto-religious responses to the world.
Supervisor: Mcmanus, Denis Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: B Philosophy (General)