At CRASSH I shall be working on my new monograph, ‘Natural Perfectionism: A Teleological Theory of Goods’. Its main thesis is that there is such a thing as human nature, and that we can understand the goods of and for humans as perfections or completions of that nature. The fundamental inspiration for this view is Aristotle’s notion of a human function or ‘ergon’, which devolves into various different functions that reflect our vegetative, bodily and intellectual nature. I shall however be going beyond Aristotle, not only in my positive account, but also by defending that account against challenges that have arisen since the scientific revolution. Older challenges are the supposed dichotomy between facts and values and post-Darwinian understandings of our nature, while newer challenges include transhumanism, anti-natalism and anti-‘ableism’. My strongly metaphysical and perfectionist approach constitutes a challenge to the long-standing anti-metaphysical and anti-perfectionist consensus in analytic moral philosophy.
Tom Angier is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cape Town. His research focuses on Aristotelian and Neo-Aristotelian ethical and political theory. He has published many journal articles and book chapters, along with several edited collections, including ‘Skill in Ancient Ethics’ (2021), ‘The Cambridge Companion to Natural Law Ethics’ (2019) and ‘The History of Evil’ (2018). His most recent monograph is entitled ‘Natural Law Theory’ (Cambridge 2021).