Is the practice of moral theorizing inherently misguided?Moral Theory and Anomaly considers and rejects the claim that moral theory is too utopian to apply properly to worldly pursuits like political office holding and business, and too patriarchal and speciesist to generate a theory of justice applicable to women and the non-human natural world.The idea that there are radical failures of application of moral theory - anomalies - might be taken to complement a very general scepticism about moral theory expressed recently by several philosophers including Bernard Williams, Annette Baier and Richard Rorty.Tom Sorell brings together moral theory and applied ethics in an unusual way, and while it is anti-sceptical it does concede that there is likely to be only slow progress from the current state of conflict between mainstream utilitarian, Kantian and virtue theories to something better that makes their different insights cohere. This volume is essential reading to anyone working in contemporary ethics and moral philosophy.
"In a spirited and wide-ranging defence of ethical theory, Sorell combines sympathetic understanding and penetrating criticism. Both sceptics about theory and proponents of new paradigms will need to engage with his arguments."
--Jimmy Altham, University of Cambridge
"Sorell convincingly shows how certain issues in applied ethics create anomalies. Do these anomalies result in a justified scepticism toward traditional ethical theory? No, but the claims of traditional theory must be more modest. A subtle and persuasive piece of philosophy."
--Norman Bowie, The London Business School
Part I: Doubts About Moral Theories.
1. Moral Theory and Anti-Theory: Uses for Moral Theory.
Scepticism about Moral Theory.
2. Theory versus Theories: Williams on Moral Theory.
A Rough Parallel: Normal Science and Standard Normative Ethical Theory.
Puzzles in Moral Theory.
Puzzles versus Anomalies.
The Argument of the Rest of the Book.
Part II: Some Sources of Anomaly?.
3. Business, the Ethical and Self-interest: Two Sources of Prima Facie Anomaly.
The Utopianism of Business Ethics.
Moral Sensibility and Insensibility in Business.
Moral Reasons Again.
The Deep Problem in Business Ethics.
4. Politics, Power and Partisanship: Political Morality: The Moral Risks of Power for the Public Good.
Public Morality, Private Morality and Moral Schizophrenia.
Hampshire's Anti-Theory of Political Morality.
The Difference Democracy Makes.
Democracy and Partisanship.
5. Feminism and Moral Theory: How Conventional Theories Let Women Down.
Moral Theory After Gilligan.
Beyond Care? Sarah Hoagland's Lesbian Ethics.
Theory Without Patriarchy?.
The Challenge of Practice: Two True Stories.
6. Environmentalism and Moral Theory: The Land Ethic and its Competitors.
Is the Land Ethic a Moral Theory?.
How Thoroughgoing is the Land Ethic?.
The Problem of Grounding Reconsidered.
From Deep Environmentalist Theory to Practice.
A Residual Anomaly.
Part III: Conclusion.
7. The Significance of Anomaly: Anomalies Reviewed.
Do Anomalies Have Anything in Common?.
The Significance of Anomaly.
Series: Aristotelian Society Monographs
Number Of Pages: 232
Published: 3rd February 2000
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 233.17 x 157.74 x 17.27
Weight (kg): 0.32
Edition Number: 1