Morality and Rationality

Michael Slote

in From Morality to Virtue

Published in print August 1995 | ISBN: 9780195093926
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833689 | DOI:
Morality and Rationality

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Commonsense views about practical rationality are self‐other asymmetric in a way diametrically opposed to the asymmetry involved in commonsense or Kantian morality. What is likely to harm others does not count as irrational in the same fundamental way that what is likely to harm oneself does. Commonsense or Kantian morality is agent sacrificingly asymmetrical, whereas commonsense rationality is agent favouringly asymmetrical. This means that these two parts of ordinary thinking tug in opposite directions, but a virtue‐ethical approach that focuses exclusively on commonsense thinking about what is admirable or counts as a virtue lacks this sort of tension, and such greater unity counts in its favor.

Keywords: admirable; agent‐favoring; agent‐sacrificing; asymmetric; common sense; ethics; morality; practical rationality; self‐other; tension; virtue; virtue

Chapter.  3959 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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