This morning On the Square Micah Watson offers commentary on a debate carried out over the past few months on the pages of Public Discourse between Hadley Arkes and Matthew O’Brien. The discourse began with O’Brien’s review of Arkes’ recently published Constitutional Illusions and became a debate over how we reason morally. Watson suggests there may be a helpful synthesis of the two arguments:
Perhaps this last point about education is a hint that the disagreement between O’Brien and Arkes need not be understood as an either/or difference. One cannot make sense of morality without grasping its logical presuppositions, and one cannot fully grasp, and apply, those logical truths without a sound moral education. For part of Aristotle’s great insight into moral education is that those who know the proper excellence of a human being will instill that understanding into the young long before they have the rational capacity to understand it.