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The Moral Point of View: A Rational Basis of Ethics.

Kurt Baier .

Published by Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1958
ISBN 10: 0801400252 / ISBN 13: 9780801400254
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Moral Point of View: A Rational Basis of...

Publisher: Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY

Publication Date: 1958

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Edition: First Edition; later printing [1974].


Near Fine: shows only the most minute indications of use: Mild rubbing to the corner tips; there is a small split about a third of the way down the inner front gutter, but the binding remains secure - and square; the text is clean. Very close to 'As New'. NOT a Remainder, Book-Club, or Ex-Library. 8vo. 326pp. First Edition; later printing [1974]. Hardback: Lacks DJ. Kurt Baier (1917 – 2010) was an Austrian moral philosopher. Born in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, Baier studied law at the University of Vienna. In 1938 he had to abandon his studies, and went to the United Kingdom as a refugee, where he was interned as a "friendly enemy alien" and sent to Australia where he began studying philosophy. Baier received his B.A. from the University of Melbourne in 1944, and his M.A. in 1947. In 1952, he received his DPhil at Oxford University. Baier taught at the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University. He joined the faculty of the in University of Pittsburgh in 1961 and remained at Pitt until his retirement in 1996. He became president of the Eastern Division and chair of the National Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association, Both Baiers gave the Paul Carus lectures. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1974. In 2001, Kurt was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the Karl Franzen University of Graz. He was also honored by the Humanist Society. Beginning with his first and best known book, The Moral Point of View (1958), Baier has been attempting to construct a justification of morality that is grounded in rationality. His original strategy was to find certain nonquestion-begging requirements of practical reason that then could be shown to favor morality over egoism. According to Baier, the very raison d'être of a morality is to yield reasons that overrule the reasons of self-interest in those cases when everyone following their own self-interest would be harmful to everyone. If we appeal to self-interested reasons to be moral, it would seem that such reasons cannot support morality over self-interest in cases of conflict. On the other hand, if we appeal to non-self-interested reasons to justify morality, those reasons seem to be implicitly moral, and so this would just be begging the question against egoistic opponents of morality. While making many contributions to the conceptual analysis of basic concepts in moral, political and legal philosophy such as those of obligation, responsibility, reason for action, egoism and the meaning of life, and also to applied ethics. Baier has struggled with the fundamental question of how to justify morality throughout his career. He inspired many other philosophers to do so as well. In The Rational and the Moral Order (1995), Baier attempted to answer the question by interpreting morality as a system of reasons of mutual benefit that are appropriate for contexts in which everyone's following self-interested reasons would have suboptimal results for everyone. So interpreted, moral reasons apply only when there exists an adequate enforcement system that makes acting against those reasons unprofitable. Morality so construed never requires any degree of altruism or self-sacrifice; it only requires that people act upon reasons of mutual benefit. Given this interpretation of morality, it is not possible for the egoist to do better by acting against morality. So construed, morality and egoism do not really conflict. This solution to the problem of the justification of morality bears some resemblance to the one offered by David Gauthier in Morals By Agreement (1986), a philosopher who was also inspired by Baier’s work and who later joined Baier as a colleague at the University of Pittsburgh in 1980. Bookseller Inventory # 43504

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