Moral Understandings: A Feminist Study in Ethics

Moral Understandings: A Feminist Study in Ethics

by Margaret Urban Walker
Pub. Date:
Taylor & Francis

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Moral Understandings: A Feminist Study in Ethics

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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780415914215
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 01/28/1998
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

The Mise en Scene: Moral Philosophy Now
The Subject of Moral Philosophy, with Postscript 2007     3
Where Do Moral Theories Come From? Henry Sidgwick and Twentieth-century Ethics     35
Clearer Views: An Expressive-Collaborative Model
Authority and Transparency: The Example of Feminist Skepticism     55
Charting Responsibilities: From Established Coordinates to Terra Incognita     83
Self- (and Other) Portraits: Who Are We, and How Do We Know?
Picking Up Pieces: Lives, Stories, and Integrity     109
Career Selves: Plans, Projects, and Plots in "Whole Life Ethics"     137
Made a Slave, Born a Woman: Knowing Others' Places     161
Unnecessary Identities: Representational Practices and Moral Recognition     185
Testing Sight Lines
The Politics of Transparency and the Moral Work of Truth     211
Peripheral Visions, Critical Practice     235
Epilogue: Some Questions about Moral Understandings     259
Notes     269
Bibliography     281
Index     299

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