Originally posted May 22, 2018
Here are two excerpts:
Social psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists would not be baffled by this apparent contradiction. Many have long believed that morality is essentially a system of social regulation. As such it is in no more need of a divine foundation or a philosophical justification than folk dancing or tribal loyalty. Indeed, if ethics is just the management of the social sphere, it should not be surprising that as we live in a more globalized world, ethics becomes enlarged to encompass not only how we treat kith and kin but our distant neighbours too.
Philosophers have more to worry about. They are not generally satisfied to see morality as a purely pragmatic means of keeping the peace. To see the world muddling through morality is deeply troubling. Where’s the consistency? Where’s the theoretical framework? Where’s the argument?
There is then a curious combination of incoherence and vagueness about just what it is to be ethical, and a bogus precision in the ways in which organizations prove themselves to be good. All this confusion helps fuel philosophical ethics, which has become a vibrant, thriving discipline, providing academic presses with a steady stream of books. Looking over a sample of their recent output, it is evident that moral philosophers are keen to show that they are not just playing intellectual games and that they have something to offer the world.
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