Common Morality: Deciding What to Do / Edition 1

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Moral problems do not always come in the form of great social controversies. More often, the moral decisions we make are made quietly, constantly, and within the context of everyday activities and quotidian dilemmas. Indeed, these smaller decisions are based on a moral foundation that few of us ever stop to think about but which guides our every action.

Here distinguished philosopher Bernard Gert presents a clear and concise introduction to what he calls "common morality"—the moral system that most thoughtful people implicitly use when making everyday, common sense moral decisions and judgments. Common Morality is useful in that—while not resolving every disagreement on controversial issues—it is able to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable answers to moral problems.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"There are many ways in which Gert's description of common morality is illuminating, and his justification of common morality is challenging. I admire the clarity and rigour of this book. I also welcome Gert's dismissal of artificially constructed moral theories that try to shape common morality rather than be shaped by it. This is a stimulating and intelligent book that anyone interested in these issues should read."—Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"Highly recommended."—Choice

"I have admired and been excited by Bernard Gert's account of the moral system ever since I became acquainted with it. His account has made much good sense, and has seemed to correct much that has been problematic about past moral theories. Professor Gert's work is exciting because it presents a clear answer to one of the broadest questions in philosophy—What is the nature of morality?—and it does so in a way that has some of us beginning to think that, after all these centuries, someone has actually gotten it right."—Timm Triplett, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of New Hampshire

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195173710
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 8/19/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 5.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Bernard Gert is Stone Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy, Dartmouth College. He is also the author of Morality: Its Nature and Justification, and co-author of Bioethics, and Morality and the New Genetics.

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Table of Contents

Some Areas of Widespread Agreement
Distinguishing Features of Moral Judgements
Rationality and Human Nature
Areas of Moral Disagreement
Analogy between Morality and Grammar
Part I: The Moral System
Features of the Moral System
The Moral Rules
The Moral Ideals
General Characteristics of Moral Rules
Interpreting the Rules
Violations of Moral Rules Involve Liability to Punishment
Justifying Violations of the Moral Rules
The Two-Step Procedure for Justifying Violations of the Moral Rules
Moral Virtues and Vices
Summary and Test
Part II: The Moral Theory
The Justification of Morality
Characteristics of Moral Agents
Knowledge or Beliefs Required of All Moral Agents
Irrationality and Rationality
Rationality as Maximizing Satisfaction of Desires
Objectively Irrational Actions
Personally Irrational Actions
Reasons Versus Motives
All Reasons Have Justifying Force
Reasons and Desires
Adequate Reasons
Rationality, Morality, and Self-Interest
Two Philosophical Attempts to Achieve Moral Impartiality
Justifying Moral Impartiality
Why Act Morally?
Morality as an Informal Public System
The Role of Governments in Settling Unresolvable Moral Disagreements
The Consequences of Morality Not Always Providing a Unique Correct Answer
A Complete Moral Theory
Flow Charts

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