Anita M. Superson

in The Moral Skeptic

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780195376623
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199871551 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Feminist Philosophy Series


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This chapter introduces the topic of the book: to define the position of the moral skeptic about practical reason. It justifies the project on theoretical and practical grounds, highlights the ways in which philosophers need to alter the traditional view of the skeptic, and provides a chapter summary. The traditional view of the skeptic is one who adopts the expected utility theory of rational choice, and demands that we show that acting in morally required ways, rather than self‐interestedly, is rationally required. The chapter previews the arguments in favor of (1) expanding this view beyond defeating action skepticism, to defeating disposition skepticism, motive skepticism, and to addressing the amoralist; (2) modifying the expected utility theory to exclude desires deformed by patriarchy; and (3) covering immoral actions that are not best characterized as self‐interested but which fit better under the umbrella of privilege, thereby making the traditional skeptic's position sensitive to issues of gender and the like.

Keywords: action skepticism; amoralism; deformed desires; disposition skepticism; expected utility; motive skepticism; practical reason; privilege; self‐interest; skeptic

Chapter.  7920 words. 

Subjects: Feminist Philosophy

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