The Case for Moderation

Samuel Scheffler

in Human Morality

Published in print January 1994 | ISBN: 9780195085648
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833634 | DOI:
The Case for Moderation

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According to Scheffler, the view that morality is stringent derives its appeal from the sharp contrast it draws between morality and prudence, and also from its grounding in a notion of radical self‐transcendence. In arguing for the competing view that morality is moderate, Scheffler points to a basic tenet of our commonsense moral outlook, which holds that individuals are justified in devoting attention to their own basic projects and commitments out of proportion to the value of those projects from an impersonal standpoint. Just as a stringent morality is responsive to a notion of radical self‐transcendence, a moderate morality is responsive to a certain conception of personal integration and to a conviction that living morally is a realistic possibility for most people. Scheffler points out that moral beliefs shape our projects, commitments, and, ultimately, even our interests themselves, and he argues that this illustrates the way in which moderate morality serves to promote integrated lives. He concludes that the construal of morality as moderate makes better sense of the totality of our moral thought than does the view that morality is stringent.

Keywords: commonsense; moderation; morality; personal integration; prudence; self‐transcendence; stringency

Chapter.  7423 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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