Morality and Moral Theory: A Reappraisal and Reaffirmation

Morality and Moral Theory: A Reappraisal and Reaffirmation


Document Type



Contemporary philosophers have grown increasingly sceptical toward both morality and moral theory. Some argue that moral theory is a radically misguided enterprise which does not illuminate moral practice, while others simply deny the value of morality in human life. This book attempts to respond to the arguments of both “anti-morality” and “anti-theory” sceptics. Part One develops and defends an alternative conception of morality. On this book's model, morality is primarily a matter of what one does to oneself, rather than what one does or does not do to others. This model eliminates the gulf that many anti-morality critics say exists between morality's demands and the personal point of view. The book further argues that morality's primary focus should be on agents and their lives, rather than on right actions, and that it is always better to be morally better—i.e. it is impossible to be “too moral.” Part Two presents an alternative conception of moral theory. It reaffirms the necessity and importance of moral theory in human life, and shows that moral theories fulfill a variety of genuine and indispensable human needs.



Publication Date



Oxford University Press


New York


morality, moral theory, anti-morality, anti-theory sceptics, human life, human needs, agents

Morality and Moral Theory: A Reappraisal and Reaffirmation

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