Common Morality: Deciding What to Do / Edition 1

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"Here distinguished philosopher Bernard Gert presents an introduction to what he calls "common morality" - the moral system that most thoughtful people implicitly use when making everyday, commonsense 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." The distillation of over 40 years of scholarship, this book is the most accessible version of Gert's influential theory of morality as well as an eye-opening look at the moral foundations of our everyday actions. Throughout the discussion is clear enough for a reader with little or no philosophy background.
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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: 9780195314212
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 2/3/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 655,526
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 0.60 (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

Pt. I The moral system 19
Features of the moral system 19
The moral rules 20
The moral ideals 22
General characteristics of moral rules 26
Interpreting the rules 29
Violations of moral rules involve liability to punishment 53
Justifying violations of the moral rules 55
The two-step procedure for justifying violations of the moral rules 58
Moral virtues and vices 76
Pt. II The moral theory 81
The justification of morality 81
Characteristics of moral agents 87
Knowledge or beliefs required of all moral agents 88
Irrationality and rationality 91
Rationality as maximizing satisfaction of desires 95
Objectively irrational actions 97
Personally irrational actions 99
Reasons versus motives 103
All reasons have justifying force 106
Reasons and desires 111
Adequate reasons 112
Rationality, morality, and self-interest 114
Impartiality 116
Two philosophical attempts to achieve moral impartiality 119
Justifying moral impartiality 122
Why act morally? 131
Morality as an informal public system 137
The role of governments in settling unresolvable moral disagreements 139
Rights 142
The consequences of morality not always providing a unique correct answer 145
A complete moral theory 148
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