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我讀書的興趣和思考的重點在試圖回答如何做人和如何待人」這兩個問題。我涉獵文學哲學心理學政治學社會學認知科學文化研究等領域,動機都來自試圖回答以上兩個問題。

二十多年來我在討論不同議題的文章中,依脈絡表達了我對道德」的看法(我偏向使用「社會規範」這個概念)。今後我將把和它相關的文章集中發表在本欄。

本欄第2篇文章是2002年舊作。該文討論一個案例;同時,它在批評另一位先生大作的過程中,釐清了一些相關概念與盲點;可以做為討論和思考「道德」或「社會規範」的基礎。所以重刊於此。

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全球價值觀日趨分岐 -- Ross Pomeroy
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Globalization Was Supposed to Align the World's Values. Instead, There's a Growing Rift

Ross Pomeroy, 05/03/24

“Values emphasizing tolerance and self-expression have diverged most sharply, especially between high-income Western countries and the rest of the world.”

KEY TAKEAWAYS (
全文重點)

*  According to a new analysis, societies’ values are not converging around notions of personal rights and freedoms. Instead, they’re growing further apart. The rift is most pronounced between rich and poor countries.
The world’s peoples were particularly less likely to agree on the ethics of homosexuality, euthanasia, divorce, prostitution, and abortion. Residents of wealthy countries grew more comfortable with all those topics, while residents of poorer countries were less so.
Why did the trend towards tolerance and self-expression stall in poorer nations? It’s possible that, even though these societies grew richer, their wealth gains remain insecure. Political instability, conflict, and the threat of environmental disasters might cause people to remain more conservative, nationalistic, and distrustful of others.

At the end of the Cold War, many thinkers optimistically predicted that globalization would cause global societies’ social
values to converge around liberal notions of personal rights and freedoms. Since then, technology has made the Earth “smaller” than ever. Global trade delivers goods from one corner of the globe to the other. Airlines allow us to travel across oceans in hours rather than days or weeks. The internet lets us keep tabs on events thousands of miles away, engross ourselves in different cultures, and connect with others almost instantaneously.

And yet, according to a new
analysis conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago, societies’ values are not converging. Instead, they’re growing further apart. The rift is most pronounced between rich and poor countries.

Diverging values

Joshua Conrad Jackson, an assistant professor of behavioral science at the Booth School of Business, and Dan Medvedev, a final-year PhD student in behavioral science at the Booth School of Business, teamed up for the study, published on April 9 in the journal Nature Communications. Together, they scoured through data in the World Values Survey.

Every five years since 1981, social scientists around the world interview tens of thousands of people spread across at least 76 countries. Using a common questionnaire, they ask respondents about their beliefs, values, and motivations. The responses provide a glimpse into the minds of people from all sorts of diverse cultures.

Jackson and Medvedev found that of the 40 values measured in the survey, 27 had diverged between 1981 and 2021. The world’s peoples were particularly less likely to agree on the ethics of homosexuality, euthanasia, divorce, prostitution, and abortion. Residents of wealthy countries grew more comfortable with all those topics, while residents of poorer countries were less so. This rich-poor value divide also widened on parenting over the past four decades. People from poorer countries valued obedience and religious faith in their kids, while people from wealthier countries placed much less importance on those two qualities.

To showcase the diverging values between rich and poor countries, Jackson and Medvedev cited Pakistan and Australia. In 1981, 39% of Australians said childhood obedience was important and 45% said divorce was justifiable. That same year, 32% and 10% of Pakistanis respectively agreed with those statements. In 2021, only 18% of Australians compared to 49% of Pakistanis said childhood obedience was important, while 74% of Australians and 15% of Pakistanis viewed divorce as justifiable.

In an additional analysis, the authors found that
GDP per capita was the greatest predictor of aligning social values. Frequent trade, geographic proximity, and religious similarity also contributed, albeit to a much lesser extent.

Over the study period, pretty much every country grew wealthier. In 1981 over
40% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. That proportion is less than 8% today. Over that time, most countries’ social values tended to grow more tolerant, secular, and individualistic — in short, more Westernized. So in that sense, the globalist predictions from decades ago were correct. It’s just that citizens of wealthier countries tended to follow that trend to a far greater extent than citizens of the poorest nations.

Accounting for the divide

Why did the trend stall in less-well-off countries? It’s possible that, even though these societies grew richer, their wealth gains remain
insecure. Political instability, conflict, and the threat of environmental disasters might cause people to remain more conservative, nationalistic, and distrustful of others.

Authoritarian governments also may be putting up roadblocks. These regimes, particularly in Iran, Russia, and China, speak out forcefully against Western values.

“Russia has framed the recent war in Ukraine as a war against Western values,” the authors noted. “Chinese politicians have spoken against countries that ‘forcibly promote the concept and system of Western democracy and human rights.'”

The researchers cautioned that their study might actually be too short to inform us of any grand changes in human values. After all, human civilization has been around for roughly 10,000 years. This study only covered 0.4% of it.

“It may be that our findings are specific to a particular period of time following decolonization and the end of the Cold War and that we would have found different results at different periods of time,” Jackson and Medvedev wrote. “Only time will tell if our findings represent a general cultural trend or a historically isolated phenomenon.”
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道德行為即自主的行為--Dana Dragunoiu
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此文雖然在介紹文學家納波可夫的思想,但其主旨則與倫理學相關;因此在此欄刊出。

原文未分節所有子標題是我加上幫助各位和稍後將登出的《評論》對照(本攔下一篇)。請參考《納波可夫的文學觀》中一些納波可夫先生事。

索引:

Ada愛達,納波可夫作品
consequentialism效益論
deontology責任論、或譯義務論德行論(與「德性論
」有別,見本文《評論》註1)
lodestar指示方向的星星(尤指北極星) ; 範例,規範,指導原則
Lolita:《蘿莉塔,納波可夫作品
oeuvre(作家、畫家或其他藝術家的)全部作品,作品全集
one-upmanship:技高一籌(通常並非稱讚意思,有偷吃步或出怪招等戲謔意思);此處指更過份,更有甚者,更進一步
pedophile戀童癖者


Nabokov and why the moral act is the free act

How freedom and morality are intertwined

Dana Dragunoiu, 03/01/24

編者介紹

We think the consequences of our actions are key to whether they are morally right or wrong. However, for Kant, acts of sacrifice, duty or courtesy are the most powerful testaments of freedom, because they are in opposition to what is consequentially good. No one understood this better than Vladimir Nabokov. His characters (他作品中的人物們), especially in such infamous works as Lolita, are often labelled as simply morally repulsive. Yet Nabokov’s radical philosophical inquiry, as Dana Dragunoiu suggests, lies within his characters, who show moral excellence by managing to control their corrupt inclination, interests, or passions through Kantian acts of courtesy.

0.  前言

Freedom was a value of supreme importance for Vladimir Nabokov, the Russo-American writer who authored, most famously, Lolita. Nabokov’s achievement includes a massive body of work that includes fiction, poetry, drama, translation, autobiography, and even scientific writing. What is more, Lolita, while the best-known of his novels, is one of many masterpieces alongside The Defense, The GiftInvitation to a BeheadingPninPale FireAda, as well as his memoir, Speak, Memory.

Forced into exile in 1917 by the October Revolution, Nabokov had good reasons to champion freedom as passionately and consistently as he did. From his point of view and that of most Russian émigrés, the Bolsheviks substituted the tsarist tyranny with a tyranny of their own. For Nabokov in particular, this was especially painful because his father had been one of the “liberationists” who dedicated his life to transforming Russia into a modern liberal-democratic state. His father’s political activism and his murder in a bungled political assassination by far-right extremists is one of the most poignant chapters of Nabokov’s biography. Nabokov’s philosophically complex account of freedom is a consistent seam throughout his major works – and it has also led to confusion in their popular and critical reception.

1.  錯誤詮釋

As a writer of a radically misunderstood text, Nabokov has at least two major precursors. Milton and Dostoevsky were also wildly misinterpreted at certain points in their reception histories: the romantics believed that Milton’s Satan was the rebel-hero of Paradise Lost and the existentialists believed that Dostoevsky’s Ivan Karamazov was the rebel-hero of The Brothers Karamazov. A similar misinterpretation occurred in the wake of Lolita’s publication, when critics as astute as Lionel Trilling concluded that Lolita was a great love story and its narrator, Humbert Humbert, a romantic hero. 

Looking at these texts together helps explain why such a misunderstanding occurred in the first place. Though Satan, Ivan, and Humbert are cast as villains in the works in which they appear, they are given the full scope of their creators’ eloquence. Their eloquence is so magnetic that readers come away believing that they are meant to fall under its spell. Another reason has to do with their shared aspiration for freedom. Satan and Ivan wish to be emancipated from the laws of God; Humbert wishes to be emancipated from the laws of humanity. The romantics and the existentialists were especially susceptible to such appeals because freedom was also the lodestar of their ambitions. Immersed in the context of the Cold War, the civil-rights movement, and the sexual revolution, Lolita’s first readers were also primed to respond with enthusiasm to Humbert’s arguments against arbitrary laws and culturally contingent taboos

2.  比較研究

Nabokov’s defence of freedom was as complex as that of Milton and Dostoevsky even though he did not anchor it, as they did, in a Christian world view. Like them, he knew that freedom could be confused with license or anarchy. It is not surprising that in the afterword he wrote to Lolita, he identifies Humbert as “an anarchist.” It is also not surprising that he made Humbert channel Ivan Karamazov’s famous slogan “everything is permissible” at the very moment when he fulfils his dream of having sex with the twelve-year-old Dolly Haze. The words that Dolly whispers in his ear give him “the odd sense of living in a brand new, mad new dream world, where everything was permissible.” But just as Dostoevsky orchestrates Ivan’s defeat by making him realize that some actions are impermissible, Nabokov makes even Humbert acknowledge that having sex with a child can never be justified. He also turns on its head Ivan’s statement that one “cannot expect eloquence from a murderer” when he states -- famously as it will turn out -- that “You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.” In this act of one-upmanship, Nabokov is showing Dostoevsky that one can expect eloquence not only from a murderer but also from a rapist.

If we are not seduced by Humbert’s eloquence, it is very easy to see how Nabokov condemns his actions: he does so by showing the harm that Humbert inflicts upon Dolly. That harm has immediate consequences  -- she bleeds, she cries every night, she tries to claw her way to freedom, both by using physical force and by saving money -- and long-term consequences: she gets pregnant at seventeen and dies in childbirth. Like moral consequentialists, Nabokov used harm as a criterion for differentiating between moral and immoral actions throughout his writings. But Nabokov also embraced a non-consequentialist Kantian moral theory because he understood that Kant’s moral framework offered a far more powerful defence of freedom than consequentialism.

3.  德行論倫理學

For Nabokov, consequentialism’s use of outcomes as a benchmark for measuring the good was aligned too closely with determinist models of human identity. He saw himself as a self-fashioning subject whose personal freedom clashed with conceptions of human identity -- amongst these Marxist or Freudian frameworks -- that understood the self to be externally determined. He was drawn to Kant’s distinction between autonomous acts, performed from a position of freedom, and heteronomous ones, driven by necessity, self-interest, or desire. According to Kant, only acts governed by the will and answering to the call of duty qualify as “moral.” This makes him a proponent of “deontologicalethics: from the Greek deon (duty), deontology is a rule-based ethical theory that judges the morality of an action according to principles of right and wrong rather than by the consideration of outcomes. For a deontologist like Kant, the expected futility of an action is morally irrelevant.

4.  作品分析

4.1 愛達》

In Nabokov’s writings, the most reliable marker of moral excellence is an act of courtesy performed by a character for the sake of duty in opposition to inclination, interest, or passion. There are at least four near-identical scenes in Nabokov’s oeuvre that serve as images of the will’s capacity to rise to the demands of duty. There are also many variations on these four scenes that elicit the same meaning. In each case, moral excellence is signalled by a heroic act of courtesy that is disinterested, has no value beyond itself, and is directed at unlikable or incidental characters. They all affirm Kant’s claim that the capacity to do what is right (sometimes even in opposition to what appears to be consequentially good) is the most powerful testament of the will’s freedom.

Such an example can be seen in Ada. In this case, the courtesy heroine is Lucette, the half-sister of the novel’s protagonists, Van and Ada Veen. For those unfamiliar with the novel, Van and Ada love each other even though they are full siblings. Lucette is the casualty of their incestuous romance. Lucette is so desperately in love with Van that she has determined to commit suicide if she fails to seduce him. While watching together a film in the theatre of a transatlantic liner, Lucette comes very close to seducing Van when Ada’s unexpected appearance in the film makes Van suddenly abandon the theater. Robert and Rachel Robinson, “old bores of the family,” take advantage of Van’s abrupt departure to seat themselves next to Lucette.

Though Lucette is desperate to pursue Van, she nonetheless bestows upon the Robinsons “her last, last, last free gift of staunch courtesy that was stronger than failure and death.” Lucette rises to courtesy’s demands at a moment of total psychic disarray when she could reasonably claim to be exempt from such moral obligations. In doing so, she forfeits her hard-won opportunity to seduce Van and follows through with her intention to commit suicide.

Decades later, when Van writes the “family chronicle” that purports to be Ada, he seems to hold himself to a Kantian moral standard when he invokes “Kant’s eye” in response to Lucette’s accusations that he and Ada mistreated her as a child. By way of this allusion to Kant’s accusing eye, Van -- a philosopher by training -- might be acknowledging that despite his romantic swagger, it is the pathetic and doleful Lucette who asserted her freedom most convincingly by extending her courtesy to the “old” and “boring” Robinsons.

4.2 蘿莉塔

Lolita too is deeply invested in showing that the harm inflicted upon a child is morally unjustifiable and that no eloquence, however alluring, can change that. This is Lolita’s deepest connection to The Brothers Karamazov and to Ivan, whose argument that only a cruel deity could allow children to suffer continues to be relevant. Still, even in Lolita, Nabokov manifests his attachment to Kantian deontology even as he recognizes that questions surrounding the harm inflicted upon children render all other moral concerns trivial. He inscribes courtesy’s capacity to rise above self-interest in Dolly’s “absolutely top-notch tennis,” but here it is no radiant marker of her freedom, but an omen of her doom. Her “politeness” (as her coach calls it) on the court turns out to be a liability, and “permit[s] a second-rate but determined player, no matter how uncouth and incompetent, to poke and cut his way to victory.” Indeed, Nabokov seems to be acknowledging in Lolita that the cost of doing what is right as opposed to pursuing the consequentially good is too high. Dolly’s tennis playing is strikingly graceful, but it is ultimately “sterile” because it yields no “utilitarian results.” As one of Nabokov’s courtesy heroines, Dolly is admirable, yet the reader cannot help wishing that she had more “consequentialist” than “deontological” agency. Whereas Humbert laments that she never managed to claw her way to victory in tennis, readers lament that she had not managed to claw her way to freedom sooner and without needing the help of another pedophile.

Commentators who believe that Humbert has reformed at the end of Lolita tend to cite the passage in which he claims to experience a new-found love for the pregnant seventeen-year-old Dolly when he visits her at Coalmont. Yet the realization that he loves her in spite of “her ruined looks” makes him ask her to leave her “incidental” husband and “this awful hole” to resume her life with him. Knowing that Humbert is not in the habit of granting favours without an expectation of reward, Dolly assumes that whatever financial help he is willing to give her depends on her willingness to fulfill his sexual desires. Thus, she initially disbelieves him when he assures her that the money he is going to give her comes with “no strings attached.” The money that Humbert gives her was rightfully hers in the first place (it comes from Charlotte’s property), but -- like Dolly -- we are not accustomed to seeing Humbert do what is deontologically right. The fact that he drives off to murder Quilty after handing Dolly her inheritance shows that he is still in the grip of self-interest, but this return to his usual habits of conduct should not invalidate the moral merit of having done -- for once -- the right thing by Dolly. If anything, it becomes supremely important because it shows that Humbert is capable of acting freely and morally even if he typically opts to do otherwise.


作者:Dana Dragunoiu is the author of Vladimir Nabokov and the Art of Moral Acts (Northwestern University Press). Her upcoming book is titled Simply Nabokov.

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淺談「道德」
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927日中國時報的《時報廣場》(此文發表於2002/10/02),有一篇黃以德先生的《好一頂道德大帽》。薛楷莉事件及黃先生對此事件的觀點,我沒有很大的興趣。但「道德」是公共議題,我對黃先生論述涉及「道德」的部分,表示一些意見。

我對「道德」的定義是:「在不傷害自身利益的前提下,社會中人際行為的模式」。(胡卜凱,2002)。這是我以下論述的基礎。

1. 事實的認知

我和黃先生在對事實的認知上,有些差異。

1.1 法律還沒替薛楷莉定罪,我們卻先以道德替她判刑了。

薛楷莉事件是一個新聞故事。什麼是新聞?通俗的詮釋是:「狗咬人不是新聞,人咬狗才是新聞」。也就是說,稀罕的事件就有新聞價值。所謂新聞價值,指的是能吸引一般大眾肯花15元或10元去買份報紙的價值。我想一般大眾,大概不會每天花15元,去看一位酒店公關小姐削凱子的故事。但電視台新聞主播削凱子,我在美國26年,從來沒聽說過。回國10年,這也是第一遭。由於它到底不是天天發生,即使像我這樣平時一毛不拔的人,也花了好幾個15元來買報紙。因此,「以道德替她判刑了」的說法,恐怕有點過敏。

1.2 「每個國家,每個文化,對於道德都有不同的解釋。其中的差距,有時就如天與海角般遙遠。

第一,我不知道黃先生的說法,語出何典。第二,也許黃先生認為,用了「每個」兩字和「有時」兩字,似乎讓這句話無從反駁。事實上,任何讀過幾本(20年出版)文化人類學或文化研究這方面著作的人,都知道黃先生這個說法,和事實有相當差距。從基因學和大腦神經學的觀點,我可以論證黃先生之言在理論上不能成立(1)。目前一般學者公認的觀點是:各文化之間,尤其是各現代社會的文化之間,道德觀的差別,可說是大同小異。以「天邊與海角般遙遠」來形容各現代社會間的道德標準差距,目前不會被多數研究文化的學者接受。

1.3 民主國家,容納來自世界各種不同的文化,融合發酵之後,對道德的判定便失了準頭。

嚴格的來這段話和上一段話不相容。如果各國都「融合發酵各種不同的文化」,那麼,它們對於道德的解釋,差距「就如天邊與海角般遙遠」的情形,應該是不常見的事。在中文的用法,「有時」和「不常見」並不是相似詞。

1.4 「當道德不再是最客觀的認定標準時,法律便取而代之,成為民主國家的是非準則。」

我不知道黃先生所謂的「民主國家」指那些國家。我比較了解美國,就以它做例子。柯林頓在拉緊褲子拉鍊上,常常手軟。但尼克森、卡特、雷根、小布希,都是開口上帝,閉口道德的國家領袖(2)。一般人也以美國社會中的道德根基自勵(3)。以我在美國生活26年的經驗來看,一般從中高到中下階層的美國人(我只有機會和這類人來往),尤其是基督教教友,他們的道德觀,和台灣/香港去的留學生或移民的道德觀,在伯仲之間。我雖然對英國、德國不熟悉,但從報導來看,一般人民的道德觀,不在中高到中下階層的美國人以下。法國、意大利是天主教的國家,社會的道德觀及道德風氣,依推想,也不會在美、英、德三國之下(4)。當然,就後面四個國家來說,我沒有第一手經驗。如果黃先生有實際數字或報導,我很願意受教。

1.5 「我們的法律,既然替道德定下了標準,

是嗎?什麼時候?「口出穢言」、「….」、「….」、「….」、的立法委員,能「替道德定下了標準」?黃先生應該知道,「我們的法律」是「口出穢言」、「….」、「….」、「….」、的「立法」委員定的吧?

1.6 我不明白為什麼在大家為樂透彩高額獎金瘋狂時,還可以理直氣壯地指責薛楷莉的貪婪。」。

如果黃先生再思考一下,應該能分別「削凱子」的貪婪和「買彩券」的貪婪吧?如果不能,我建議黃先生從「誰的荷包」這個角度來考慮。我的另一句名言是:

「如果不涉及其他的人,就無所謂道德」。

2. 道德概念的內容

就黃先生大作的內容看來,他對道德這個概念,不是很清楚明白。例如:

2.1 「我不禁想問,我們這個社會的道德標準,到底是由誰來判定的?」

任何一個社會的道德標準,在該社會的文化架構下形成。真正制定道德標準的是人。「人」有兩種:一個簡稱「傳統」,就是原始時代的長老,和相當於(目前所謂)「意見領袖」的知識份子。前者如神農氏,後者如孔子;一個簡稱「社會」,它又分兩類:意見領袖,包括編輯、作家、官員、老師、前任總統、現任總統、新聞記者、各類神棍、知名的影藝工作者、和知名的文字工作者等等;一般社會大眾,例如你、我、他(如黃先生)、和她(如璩光碟)。道德標準制定的過程,就不在此申論。

2.2 「我們的法律,既然替道德定下了標準,那麼沒有違法的事件,便『非』不到哪裏去。」

黃先生對道德的功能,顯然完全沒有概念。我在《《縱欲與虛無之上:現代情境裡的政治倫理》讀後》(胡卜凱,2002)中,簡單的敘述了我對「道德」的看法。它們當然是非常淺薄和表面的論述。不過我相信那篇文章,應該對黃先生在基本概念的了解上,有些幫助。

黃先生應該聽過警察和法官吃案的新聞。至於其他違法、亂紀、貪污、自由心證(如強吻是國際慣例)的個案,就族繁不及備載了。在實際生活上,如果我們倚賴法律,以它做為維持一個穩定社會的唯一機制,一般人的壽命可能不會超過40歲。

2.3 什麼樣的社會風氣下,便會產生什麼樣的公眾人物。不是群眾投票,怎麼會選出口出穢言的立法委員?

民主社會是一個多元社會。黃先生的說法,只有在「所有」的立法委員都口出穢言,或「所有」的電視台新聞主播都幹過「削凱子」的行為這些情況下,才能成立。換句話說,他犯了以偏概全的邏輯謬誤。上面已說過,就是因為99.99%的電視台新聞主播,都沒幹過或不會幹「削凱子」的行為,才凸顯薛楷莉事件的新聞性。至於社會大眾接受不接受這種行為,正是傳統社會設立道德機制的功能和目的。

2.4 她之所以是今天的她,難道社會都沒責任?」

「責任」和「道德」兩個概念,息息相通。如果黃先生不認為社會需要「道德」,我很奇怪黃先生為什麼會認為「社會」有「責任」?所謂「社會」,只是某些人或某類人的代名詞。

3. 建議

3.1 我建議黃先生在文章寫成之後,檢查幾遍再投稿。雖然文章是自己的好,多檢查幾遍,總會發現一些寫作時忽略了的地方。我也建議黃先生多讀幾本和倫理學相關科目的書(5)。讀書及思考,和寫作一樣,都是「文字工作」。孔子說:「學而不思則罔,思而不學則殆」。願共勉之!

3.2 一個報紙的編輯,也是社會的意見領袖。如果我是《時報廣場》的編輯(6),我會簡單列舉第12兩節的部分意見,退回黃先生的大作。請他做適當的修改後,再考慮是否刊登。不客氣的說,刊登黃先生這篇大作,顯出《時報廣場》編輯的水準,沒有做意見領袖的資格(7)


附註:

1. 請參考拙作《唯物人文觀》;我的論述當然也要接受大家的檢驗
2. 這四位總統中,尼克森口是心非,卡特和雷根大概相信自己說的話,小布希大概不知道自己在說些什麼。老布希知道自己在說些什麼,所以他是當代歷任美國總統中,唯一不太胡扯的。
3.
美國人中,偽君子當然不少,但誠誠懇懇的也很多。道德根基(moral fabric)
4. 法國和意大利的社會在兩性關係上比較開放。至少這是流行的刻板印象。
5. 我曾建議哲學系學生,主修倫理學的話,應加選生物心理學、進化心理學、社會心理學、基因學、和統計學。我認為文化人類學或文化研究應該已是哲學系的必選課(請參考拙作《我對哲學的了解》,2023/11/02)
6. 我在30多年前擔任《台大青年》編輯的時候有一位同學翻譯了一篇湯恩比的文章。我看過之後,覺得意思不很清楚。我到圖書館找出原書,花了兩個星期的時間,幾乎重新譯了一次,然後用他的名字發表。我每次看到內容不合該雜誌、該報紙應有水準的文章,我都會想:如果我是編輯,
7. 929日的《時報廣場》刊吳麗慧小姐的《好一個法律是非觀》內容相當中肯


參考資料:

胡卜凱,2002,《《縱欲與虛無之上:現代情境裡的政治倫理》讀後》,當時曾刊於知識和社會廣場,即將在2024重刊於本城市。

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