Moral Understandings: A Feminist Study in Ethics / Edition 2

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Moral Understandings depends an expressive-collaborative model of morality that challenges common assumptions in philosophical ethics. Morality is best revealed in practice, the socially accepted patterns of assigning and deflecting responsibility. These practices express shared understandings about who we are, what we value, and to whom we are required to account for our actions. Morality is collaborative as we reproduce or shift our moral understandings together in many daily interactions of social life. For this reason, moral practices cannot be separated from other social practices, nor moral identities from social roles and institutions in particular ways of lite. In fact, not everyone has the same power to set or change moral understandings. Differently valued social-moral identities with different responsibilities and privileges are the rule in human societies.

Because morality is not socially modular, Walker argues for an empirically informed and politically critical ethics that reveals, rather than ignores or conceals, the moral significance of social differences, including gender differences. Moral Understandings responds to the work of major philosophers of the twentieth century such as Bernard Williams, John Rawls. Robert Goodin, Charles Taylor, and Alasdair MacIntyre, while putting the tools of feminist epistemology and ethics to use. It offers a view of feminist method in ethics that goes beyond concern with gender alone. Walker locates and challenges uncritical assumptions in academic moral philosophy about what we are in a position to know and for whom we are in a position to speak. The Second Edition contains an updated view of the state of moral philosophy in theten years since the book's original publication. It adds a new chapter on the moral and epistemological significance of public projects of truth-telling and a concluding response to some common questions about the book.

About the Author:
Margaret Urban Walker is Lincoln Professor of Ethics and Professor of Philosophy at Arizona State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195315400
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/13/2007
  • Series: Studies in Feminist Philosophy Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret Urban Walker is Lincoln Professor of Ethics and Professor of Philosophy at Arizona State University. She is author of Moral Contexts and Moral Repair: Reconstructing Moral Relations After Wrongdoing, and editor of Mother Time: Women, Aging and Ethics and Moral Psychology: Feminist Ethics and Social Theory, with Peggy DesAutels.

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Table of Contents

Part I The Mise en Scene: Moral Philosophy Now

1 The Subject of Moral Philosophy, with Postscript 2007 3

2 Where Do Moral Theories Come From? Henry Sidgwick and Twentieth-century Ethics 35

Part II Clearer Views: An Expressive-Collaborative Model

3 Authority and Transparency: The Example of Feminist Skepticism 55

4 Charting Responsibilities: From Established Coordinates to Terra Incognita 83

Part III Self- (and Other) Portraits: Who Are We, and How Do We Know?

5 Picking Up Pieces: Lives, Stories, and Integrity 109

6 Career Selves: Plans, Projects, and Plots in "Whole Life Ethics" 137

7 Made a Slave, Born a Woman: Knowing Others' Places 161

8 Unnecessary Identities: Representational Practices and Moral Recognition 185

Part IV Testing Sight Lines

9 The Politics of Transparency and the Moral Work of Truth 211

10 Peripheral Visions, Critical Practice 235

Epilogue: Some Questions about Moral Understandings 259

Notes 269

Bibliography 281

Index 299

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