The Moral Skeptic

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Overview

Anita Superson challenges the traditional picture of the skeptic who asks, "Why be moral?" While holding that the skeptic's position is important, she builds an argument against it by understanding it more deeply, and then shows what it would take to successfully defeat it. Superson argues that we must defeat not only the action skeptic, but the disposition skeptic, who denies that being morally disposed is rationally required, and the motive skeptic, who believes that merely going through the motions in acting morally is rationally permissible. We also have to address the amoralist, who is not moved by moral reasons he recognizes. Superson argues for expanding the skeptic's position from self-interest to privilege to include morally unjustified behavior targeting disenfranchised social groups, as well as revising the traditional expected utility model to exclude desires deformed by patriarchy as irrational. Lastly she argues that the challenge can be answered if it can be shown that it is, in an important way, inconsistent and therefore irrational to privilege oneself over others.

The Moral Skeptic makes an important contribution to both metaethics/moral theory and feminist philosophy, and brings feminist thinking into the larger discussion of the skeptical challenge.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Anita Superson's The Moral Skeptic is an impressive book in many ways. It covers a great number of important topics in contemporary ethics in a thorough way and from a novel feminist perspective.... Superson manages to cover all this ground with expertise and also weave an interesting narrative thread through the whole book.... Superson's book is clearly written and well structured."—Jussi Suikkanen, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195376616
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/13/2009
  • Series: Studies in Feminist Philosophy Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Anita Superson was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She became interested in medical ethics as an undergraduate majoring in biology. After completing a Master's Degree at the Univeristy of Tennessee in philosophy, with a concentration in medical ethics, Superson when on to the University of Illinois, Chicago, to study theoretical ethics. She is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Kentucky.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface
1. Introduction
2. The Self-Interest Based Contractarian Response to the Skeptic
3. A Feminist Ethics Response to the Skeptic
4. Deformed Desires
5. Self-Interest Versus Morality
6. The Amoralist
7. The Motive Skeptic
8. The Interdependency Thesis

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