watcha readin, crispy? (yo sorry for no watchareadins; i've been too busy reading, writing etc)
i've been sampling parfit's on what matters and dworkin's justice for hedgehogs. i think that the parfit is quite the little slog, and that's only volume one. 'best work in ethics since sidgwick,' said the times literary supplement (i think phillip petit was the reviewer). parfit sent out the manuscript to 250 philosophers (supposedly) and responded with revisions. perhaps that shows: it's bristling with replies to objections from offstage. the dworkin is written more engagingly, but dworkin's always half-lawyer, and this can't have the philosophical dimensions of parfit. on the other hand, dworkin is remarkably sharp: a good thinker.
at any rate, both these books, putting the thing at its most general, bring all human values together in one big glowing thingummy. parfit's argument is that all the major western moral theories (utilitarianism, kantianism, contractualism, and so on) are - despite what their proponents thought - basically compatible. and dworkin seeks to suggest the reconciliation of aesthetic and political values along with those. that's more like neo-platonism than postmodernism! we might not want to go quite so far in the opposite direction, and i'll just signal that the situation is a lot more fragmented and equivocal than they want to make it: we're still just muddling through.