Patterns of Moral Complexity
Larmore aims to recover three forms of moral complexity that have often been neglected by moral and political philosophers. First, he argues that virtue is not simply the conscientious adherence to principle. Rather, the exercise of virtue apply. He argues - and this is the second pattern of complexity - that recognizing the value of constitutive ties with shared forms of life does not undermine the liberal ideal of political neutrality toward differing ideals of the good life. Finally Larmore agrues for what he calls the heterogeneity of morality. Moral thinking need not be exclusively deontological or consequentialist, and we should recognize that the ultimate sources of moral value are diverse. The arguments presented here do not attack the possibility of moral theory. But in addressing some of the central issues of moral and political thinking today thay attempt to restore to that thinking greater flexibility and a necessary sensitivity to our common experience.
Perfectionism and Neutrality
Editors provide a substantive introduction to the history and theories of perfectionism and neutrality, expertly contextualizing the essays and making the collection accessible.
Moral Perception and Particularity
This collection of Laurence Blum's essays examines the moral import of emotion, motivation, judgement, perception, and group identifications.
The Morals of Modernity
The essays collected in this volume all explore the problem of the relation between moral philosophy and modernity. The book argues against recent attempts to return to the virtue-centered perspective of ancient Greek ethics. As well as exploring the differences between ancient and modern ethics, the author treats such topics as the roles of reason and history in our moral understanding, the inadequacy of philosophical naturalism, and the foundations of modern liberalism. These essays will be of interest both to professional scholars and to general readers concerned with ethics and politics.
The Morality of Pluralism
Controversies about abortion, the environment, pornography, AIDS, and similar issues naturally lead to the question of whether there are any values that can be ultimately justified, or whether values are simply conventional. John Kekes argues that the present moral and political uncertainties are due to a deep change in our society from a dogmatic to a pluralistic view of values. Dogmatism is committed to there being only one justifiable system of values. Pluralism recognizes many such systems, and yet it avoids a chaotic relativism according to which all values are in the end arbitrary. Maintaining that good lives must be reasonable, but denying that they must conform to one true pattern, Kekes develops and justifies a pluralistic account of good lives and values, and works out its political, moral, and personal implications.
Toleration Neutrality and Democracy
This book brings together a group of international scholars, many of whom have already contributed to the debate on toleration, and who are offering fresh thoughts and approaches to it. The essays of this collection are written from a variety of perspectives: historical, analytical, normative, and legal. Yet, all authors share a concern with the sharpening of our understanding of the reasons for toleration as well as with making them relevant to the way in which we live with others in our modern and diverse societies.
Morality and Politics
Divisions abound as to whether politics should be held responsible to a higher moral standard or whether pragmatic considerations, or realpolitik, should prevail. The two poles are represented most conspicuously by Aristotle (for whom the proper aim of politics is moral virtue) and Machiavelli (whose prince exalted political pragmatism over morality). The fourteen contributions to this volume address perennial concerns in political and moral theory. They underscore the rekindled yearning of many to hold the political realm to a higher standard despite the skepticism of dissenters who question the likelihood, or even the desirability, of success.
The Right to Justification
Contemporary philosophical pluralism recognizes the inevitability and legitimacy of multiple ethical perspectives and values, making it difficult to isolate the higher-order principles on which to base a theory of justice. Rising up to meet this challenge, Rainer Forst, a leading member of the Frankfurt School's newest generation of philosophers, conceives of an "autonomous" construction of justice founded on what he calls the basic moral right to justification. Forst begins by identifying this right from the perspective of moral philosophy. Then, through an innovative, detailed critical analysis, he ties together the central components of social and political justice—freedom, democracy, equality, and toleration—and joins them to the right to justification. The resulting theory treats "justificatory power" as the central question of justice, and by adopting this approach, Forst argues, we can discursively work out, or "construct," principles of justice, especially with respect to transnational justice and human rights issues. As he builds his theory, Forst engages with the work of Anglo-American philosophers such as John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, and Amartya Sen, and critical theorists such as Jürgen Habermas, Nancy Fraser, and Axel Honneth. Straddling multiple subjects, from politics and law to social protest and philosophical conceptions of practical reason, Forst brilliantly gathers contesting claims around a single, elastic theory of justice.
Bioethics as Practice
Those who work in bioethics and the medical humanities come from many different backgrounds, such as health care, philosophy, law, the social sciences, and religious studies. The work they do also varies widely: consulting on ethical issues in patient care, working with legislatures, dealing with the media, teaching, speaking, writing and more. Writing as a participant in this developing field, Judith Andre offers a model to unify its diversity. Using the term "bioethics" broadly, to include all the medical humanities, she articulates ideals for the field, identifies its temptations and moral pitfalls, and argues for the central importance of certain virtues. Perhaps the most original of these is the virtue of choosing projects well, which demands not only broadening the field's focus but also understanding the forces that have kept it too narrow. Andre offers an imaginative analysis of the special problems presented by interdisciplinary work and discusses the intellectual virtues necessary for its success. She calls attention to the kinds of professional communities that are necessary to support good work. The book draws from interviews with many people in the field and from the findings of social scientists. It includes the author's personal reflections, several extended allegories, and philosophical analysis.
Relativism and the Foundations of Liberalism
Moral relativism is often regarded as both fatally flawed and incompatible with liberalism. This book aims to show why such criticism is misconceived. First, it argues that relativism provides a plausible account of moral justification. Drawing on the contemporary relativist and universalist analyses of thinkers such as Harman, Nagel and Habermas, it develops an alternative account of ‘coherence relativism’. Turning to liberalism, the book argues that moral relativism is not only consistent with the claims of contemporary liberalism, but underpins those claims. The political liberalism of Rawls and Barry is founded on an unacknowledged commitment to a relativist account of justification. In combining these two elements, the book offers a new understanding of relativism, and demonstrates its relevance for contemporary liberal thought.