Chapter

2. ‘Whose Justice? Which Rationality?’<sup>1</sup>

David Fisher

in Morality and War

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199599240
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725692 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599240.003.0003
2. ‘Whose Justice? Which Rationality?’1

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Echoing the title of MacIntyre's critique of modern moral philosophy, this chapter considers whether in our postmodern liberal society we could ever agree what morality should govern our public actions. Liberal philosophers have taught us to embrace a multiplicity of values, while moral philosophers have cast doubt on whether morality has any rational foundation. The combination of liberal toleration of values with philosophical scepticism about their basis has promoted a widespread moral scepticism and even relativism, affecting all areas of society and undermining confidence in our ability to teach morality. Recruits now joining the armed forces may have received no prior grounding in moral values. The chapter seeks to rebut both liberal doubts and moral scepticism. A liberal toleration of values does not need to presume they are all of equal worth, while the flaws in the sceptics' arguments are exposed, including the ‘fallacy of difficult cases’.

Keywords: difficult cases fallacy; liberalism; Alasdair MacIntyre; rationality of morality; relativism; scepticism; teaching ethics; values

Chapter.  6045 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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