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Human Morality / Edition 1

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Some people believe that the demands of morality coincide with the requirements of an enlightened self-interest. Others believe that morality is diametrically opposed to considerations of self-interest. Written by one of the most prominent moral philosophers working today, this important study argues that there is another position, intermediate between these extremes, which makes better sense of the totality of our moral thought and practice. Scheffler elaborates this position via an examination of morality's content, scope, authority, and deliberative role. Although conflicts between morality and self-interest do arise, according to this position, nevertheless morality is fundamentally a reasonable and humane phenomenon. Moreover, the psychological bases of effective moral motivation have sources deep within the self, and morally motivated individuals try to shape their own interests so as to avoid conflict with morality. Human practices and institutions help to determine the prevalence of these motives, and because in this and other ways they influence the degree to which conflicts between morality and self-interest actually occur, the extent of such conflict is not fixed or immutable, and is in part a social and a political issue.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Superb! Clear and accessible."—Chris Slupik, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh

"An immensely rich book....The book is extremely careful, resourceful, and reasonable. It is essential reading for everyone interested in ethics."—Mind

"This book shows us what shape a humane morality might take. The author does not shrink from noticing the zest with which humans regularly inflict pain and suffering on each other. Yet he resolutely holds out the hope for a form of life that is at once recognizably human and better than we have had. In its thoughtfulness and concern, this is a humane and admirable work."—Journal of Philosophy

"This concise, clear, and careful book raises a wide range of important issues about the relations between morality and self-interest. Scheffler raises old debates to a new level of precision and presents positions and arguments that are original, important, and persuasive.... A major contribution to ethics, and I recommend it strongly. Future discussions of all of these issues cannot ignore and should be improved by Scheffler's distinctions, arguments, and insights."—Philosophical Books

"Interesting, erudite, and very wide ranging."—Times Higher Education Supplement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195085648
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/16/1993
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

University of California, Berkeley
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Table of Contents

1 Introductory Themes 3
2 Morality's Demands and Their Limits: Competing Views 17
3 Assessment, Deliberation, and Theory 29
4 Overridingness, Human Correctness, and Motivational Naturalism 52
5 Reason, Psychology, and the authority of Morality 73
6 Purity and Humanity 98
7 The Case for Moderation 115
8 Morality, Politics, and the Self 133
Index 147
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