Who Holds the Moral High Ground? (Societas)

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9781845401030: Who Holds the Moral High Ground? (Societas)
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Meta-ethical attempts to define concepts such as 'goodness', ‘right and wrong’, ‘ought’ and ‘ought not’, have proved largely futile, even over-ambitious. Morality, it is argued, should therefore be directed primarily at the reduction of suffering, principally because the latter is more easily recognisable and accords with an objective view and requirements of the human condition. All traditional and contemporary perspectives are without suitable criteria for evaluating moral dilemmas and without such guidance we face the potent threat of sliding to a destructive moral nihilism. This book presents a possible set of defining characteristics for the foundation of future moral evaluations and engagements, taking into consideration that the historically maligned female gender may be better disposed to ethical leadership.

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This excellent book asks if there are universal moral principles, or if what counts as ‘good' is simply a matter of personal opinion; if morals are the product of a particular society or culture; to what ethical criteria modern secular societies should defer; if religion can be considered a reliable authority; and if women are more virtuous than men.
Brief but good summaries of common misconceptions, criteria, the religious legacy, ethical diversity in religion, their interpreters and syncretic religions are followed by equally admirable discussions of Kant, Hume, Utilitarianism, negative utilitarianism and the psychological evidence, attitudes to other species, relativism, virtue ethics (with a revisit to Aristotle), the gender issue and the ethical stew, and key essentials, ending with a concise chronology of major ethical perspectives and a very useful glossary The fissiparousness of religions is well brought out.
One striking sentence deserving quotation is: ‘Being obedient is not necessarily being moral; as individuals, we must take responsibility for our own actions and decisions' - bringing to mind the ‘I was just obeying orders' plea which was deemed unacceptable for war criminals.
To someone of my age (63), who has seen apparently enormous changes in attitudes to sex roles, the chapter on gender is particularly interesting - if only to show that things are different elsewhere: 67% of illiterate adults are women; 1% of the titled land in the world is owned by women; worldwide, 85 million girls and 45 million boys are unable to attend school; and a woman dies in childbirth every minute. The index could be better - despite the attention paid to the subject, there is no entry under Gender, or under Women, Men, Girls or Boys. This book is nowhere near the final word on the subject, nor do the authors claim so, but it is a most interesting and articulate concise discussion which can be recommended. Ray Ward, Skeptical Adversaria

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Book Description IMPRINT ACADEMIC, United Kingdom, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Meta-ethical attempts to define concepts such as goodness , right and wrong , ought and ought not , have proved largely futile, even over-ambitious. Morality, it is argued, should therefore be directed primarily at the reduction of suffering, principally because the latter is more easily recognisable and accords with an objective view and requirements of the human condition. All traditional and contemporary perspectives are without suitable criteria for evaluating moral dilemmas and without such guidance we face the potent threat of sliding to a destructive moral nihilism. This book presents a possible set of defining characteristics for the foundation of future moral evaluations and engagements, taking into consideration that the historically maligned female gender may be better disposed to ethical leadership. Seller Inventory # AAO9781845401030

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