- Hardcover: 119 pages
- Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1st ed. 2015 edition (January 4, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1137562692
- ISBN-13: 978-1137562692
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,262,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Mystery of Moral Authority 1st ed. 2015 Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
"The mystery of moral authority is that we persist in attributing objective and inescapable authority to moral judgments even though there are so many reasons not to do so. The Mystery of Moral Authority is an accessible, up-to-date, thorough, convincing, and fair-minded attempt to show that the 'mystery of moral authority' has not been, and most likely will not be, solved. To solve it one would need to explain the source of the allegedly inescapable objective authority that is commonly thought to characterize moral judgments. In this book Blackford recommends that we replace the idea of morality as a collection of truths about how we ought to live with the idea that it is a modifiable social technology aimed at finding ways to live in groups. This realization frees us to replace outmoded moral norms with practical ones more appropriate to our present needs and circumstances." - Richard Garner, Emeritus Professor at The Ohio State University, US, and author of Beyond Morality
From the Back Cover
The Mystery of Moral Authority argues for a sceptical and pragmatic view of morality as an all-too-human institution. Searching, intellectually rigorous, and always fair to rival views, it represents the state of the art in a tradition of moral philosophy that includes Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, and J.L. Mackie.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Thus, Blackford frames the question in terms of moral authority rather than morality as such. The position of out-and-out amoralists is that morality is a myth, that strictly speaking there is no such thing as right and wrong and maybe not good and bad either. But everything depends on what is meant by these terms and concepts, and Blackford defines the issue as whether they must imply some metaphysical or objective realm of ethical values that underpin morality’s supposed authority to direct our lives.
Blackford argues that, although moral terms may and do indeed often mean this in the minds of many people, they also have other meanings that are more plausibly retained for use in the real world. And this implies, further, that we need not reject morality utterly (or at least not ethics – p. 112) but can instead understand it or interpret it as something beneficial and perhaps even necessary for our existence even though it lacks absolute authority.
This position brings Blackford into conflict not only with thinkers who would retain some kind of full-blown morality, such as religious ethicists who conceive moral truths and injunctions as dictates handed down by God, but also with moral skeptics who occupy positions at two extremes relative to Blackford’s position. One extreme, called moral fictionalism and identified with Richard Joyce (among others), is that morality is a myth but is nevertheless a useful myth, and so we should pretend that morality exists. The other extreme, called moral abolitionism and identified with Richard Garner (and Moeller and Hinckfuss and myself among others), is that morality is a myth and worse than useless, so let’s just chuck it.
Blackford does an able job of articulating and countering all of these positions, as well as others more in the moral-theoretical mainstream, such as Kantianism, moral naturalism, and moral relativism. In the end, however, Blackford orients himself solidly but nuancedly in the middle of the moral skeptics by denying the objectivity of moral authority yet acknowledging the usefulness of a nonfictionalist reliance on some moralist ways of speaking. Thus he concludes, “some acts may be cruel, appalling, or bad, using plausible interpretations of those words, but none are, strictly and literally speaking, morally wrong or immoral …” (p. 112).
“The Mystery of Moral Authority” covers a wide range of material in a very short space, and does so clearly, adequately, and fairly. Anyone in a hurry looking to learn about moral skepticism, or even moral theory more generally, would do well to pick up this book.