Book

Articulating the Moral Community

Henry Richardson

Published in print October 2018 | ISBN: 9780190247744
Published online August 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780190247768 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780190247744.001.0001

Series: Oxford Moral Theory

Articulating the Moral Community

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As this highly original work explains, morality is not fixed objectively, independently of all human judgment, nor is it something that we “invent.” Rather, working within zones of objective indeterminacy, the moral community—the community of all persons—has the authority to introduce new moral norms. These further specify the preexisting moral norms, making an objective difference to individuals’ moral rights and duties. The moral community, so-called, could not exercise authority unless it had some structure whereby it could act. Unlike political communities, which are centralized, noninclusive, and backed by coercion, the moral community is decentralized and inclusive. Its structure depends upon dyadic duties—ones that one individual owes to another. Such duties, the book argues, empower efforts by individuals to work out intelligently with one another how to respond to morally important concerns. The innovative moral input that these efforts can provide is initially authoritative only over the parties involved. Yet when such innovations gain sufficient uptake and have been reflectively accepted by the moral community, they become new moral norms. This account of the moral community’s moral authority is motivated by, and supports, a type of normative ethical theory, constructive ethical pragmatism (CEP), which rejects the consequentialist claim that rightness is to be defined as a function of goodness and the deontological claim that principles of right are fixed independently of the good. Rather, it holds instead that what we ought to do is fixed by our continuing efforts to specify the right and the good in light of each other.

Keywords: Moral authority; moral progress; constructive ethical pragmatism (CEP); consequentialism; deontology; personhood; directed duties; moral reasoning; moral psychology; moral objectivity

Book.  328 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy ; Philosophy

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Articulating the Moral Community

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Constructive Ethical Pragmatism in Articulating the Moral Community

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The Idea of the Moral Community in Articulating the Moral Community

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Authoritative Input in Articulating the Moral Community

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The Unity of the Moral Community in Articulating the Moral Community

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Introducing New Moral Norms in Articulating the Moral Community

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Working It Out together in Articulating the Moral Community

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Ratification of New Moral Norms in Articulating the Moral Community

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Reasons, Indeterminacy, and Compromise in Articulating the Moral Community

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Noneternal Moral Principles in Articulating the Moral Community

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