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Moral Epistemology

By Aaron Zimmerman

Routledge – 2010 – 256 pages

Series: New Problems of Philosophy

Purchasing Options:

  • Add to CartPaperback: $41.95
    978-0-415-48554-8
    May 19th 2010
  • Add to CartHardback: $165.00
    978-0-415-48553-1
    May 21st 2010

Description

How do we know right from wrong? Do we even have moral knowledge? Moral epistemology studies these and related questions about our understanding of virtue and vice. It is one of philosophy’s perennial problems, reaching back to Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Locke, Hume and Kant, and has recently been the subject of intense debate as a result of findings in developmental and social psychology.

In this outstanding introduction to the subject Aaron Zimmerman covers the following key topics:

  • What is moral epistemology? What are its methods? Including a discussion of Socrates, Gettier and contemporary theories of knowledge
  • skepticism about moral knowledge based on the anthropological record of deep and persistent moral disagreement, including contextualism
  • moral nihilism, including debates concerning God and morality and the relation between moral knowledge and our motives and reasons to act morally
  • epistemic moral scepticism, intuitionism and the possibility of inferring ‘ought’ from ‘is,’ discussing the views of Locke, Hume, Kant, Ross, Audi, Thomson, Harman, Sturgeon and many others
  • how children acquire moral concepts and become more reliable judges
  • criticisms of those who would reduce moral knowledge to value-neutral knowledge or attempt to replace moral belief with emotion.

Throughout the book Zimmerman argues that our belief in moral knowledge can survive sceptical challenges. He also draws on a rich range of examples from Plato’s Meno and Dickens’ David Copperfield to Bernard Madoff and Saddam Hussein.

Including chapter summaries and annotated further reading at the end of each chapter, Moral Epistemology is essential reading for all students of ethics, epistemology and moral psychology.

Reviews

'This volume is appropriate for a wide range of readers concerned with moral theory and moral epistemology. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty.' - CHOICE

'Zimmerman provides a lively and lucid yet precise and profound introduction to moral epistemology. Structured around responses to moral skepticism, Zimmerman deftly incorporates Dickens and Madoff, developmental and moral psychology, philosophy of language and theory of knowledge. This entertaining romp is highly recommended not only for students but also for experts and anyone who wants to learn more about moral epistemology.' - Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Duke University, USA

‘Written with verve and peppered with stimulating examples, Moral Epistemology provides an excellent introduction for the novice and plenty to engage experts. Zimmerman's critical assessment is accessible, balanced, rigorous, and richly informed by developmental and moral psychology, philosophy of language, and general epistemology. Anyone interested in moral skepticism and intuitionism, inferring 'ought' from 'is,' or the reliability of our moral judgments will find this book provocative and insightful.’ - Pekka Väyrynen, University of Leeds, UK

Contents

Preface 1. Moral epistemology: content and method 2. Moral disagreement 3. Moral nihilism 4. The skeptic and the intuitionist 5. Deductive moral knowledge 6. Abductive moral knowledge 7. The reliability of our moral judgments 8. Epilogue: challenges to moral epistemology Glossary Notes Bibliography Index

Author Bio

Aaron Zimmerman is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University California, Santa Barbara. His research is focused on the intersection between thought, language and reason and he writes and teaches on David Hume's philosophical work.

Name: Moral Epistemology (Paperback)Routledge 
Description: By Aaron Zimmerman. How do we know right from wrong? Do we even have moral knowledge? Moral epistemology studies these and related questions about our understanding of virtue and vice. It is one of philosophy’s perennial problems, reaching back to Plato,...
Categories: Epistemology, Ethics Philosophy