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Common Morality : Deciding What to Do - Bernard Gert

Common Morality

Deciding What to Do

Hardcover

Published: 1st September 2004
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Moral problems do not always come in the form of great social controversies. More often, the moral decisions we make are made quietly, constantly, and within the context of everyday activities and quotidian dilemmas. Indeed, these smaller decisions are based on a moral foundation that few of us ever stop to think about but which guides our every action.
Here distinguished philosopher Bernard Gert presents a clear and concise introduction to what he calls "common morality" -- the moral system that most thoughtful people implicitly use when making everyday, common sense 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.
In the first part of the book Gert lays out the fundamental features of common morality: moral rules, moral ideals, and a two-step procedure for determining when a violation of a moral rule is justified. Written in a non-technical style, the ten general moral rules include rules on which everyone can agree, such as "do not kill," "do not deceive," and "keep your promises." The moral ideals include similarly uncontroversial precepts such as "Relieve pain" and "Aid the needy." In the second part of the book Gert examines the underlying concepts that justify common morality, such as the notions of rationality and impartiality.
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.

"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 "Highly recommended."--Choice "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 "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

Introduction Some Areas of Widespread Agreement Distinguishing Features of Moral Judgements Rationality and Human Nature Areas of Moral Disagreement Analogy between Morality and Grammar Part I: The Moral System Features of the Moral System The Moral Rules The Moral Ideals General Characteristics of Moral Rules Interpreting the Rules Violations of Moral Rules Involve Liability to Punishment Justifying Violations of the Moral Rules The Two-Step Procedure for Justifying Violations of the Moral Rules Moral Virtues and Vices Summary and Test Part II: The Moral Theory The Justification of Morality Characteristics of Moral Agents Knowledge or Beliefs Required of All Moral Agents Irrationality and Rationality Rationality as Maximizing Satisfaction of Desires Objectively Irrational Actions Personally Irrational Actions Reasons Versus Motives All Reasons Have Justifying Force Reasons and Desires Adequate Reasons Rationality, Morality, and Self-Interest Impartiality Two Philosophical Attempts to Achieve Moral Impartiality Justifying Moral Impartiality Why Act Morally? Morality as an Informal Public System The Role of Governments in Settling Unresolvable Moral Disagreements Rights The Consequences of Morality Not Always Providing a Unique Correct Answer A Complete Moral Theory Conclusion Flow Charts Notes Index

ISBN: 9780195173710
ISBN-10: 0195173716
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 202
Published: 1st September 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 18.4 x 13.4  x 2.0
Weight (kg): 0.3