Chapter

Ethics and Common Sense

MARCUS GEORGE SINGER

in The Ideal of a Rational Morality

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780198250210
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681264 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198250210.003.0005
Ethics and Common Sense

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This chapter explores the relations between ethics and common sense. It argues that (1) common sense is essential to ethics, but not sufficient for it; (2) ethics is also essential to common sense, which is an inherently practical capacity; (3) common sense is basically conservative, not innovative, and can be oppressive, and consequently on its own terms requires supplementation and correction by ethical thinking; and (4) developments — improvements — in ethics that lead to improvements in morality lead to improvements in common sense by leading to improvements in common-sense morality.

Keywords: ethics; common sense; common-sense morality; positive morality; common knowledge

Chapter.  17696 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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