Moral Motivation: A History

ISBN : 9780199316564

Iakovos Vasiliou
322 Pages
140 x 210 mm
Pub date
Jul 2016
Oxford Philosophical Concepts
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Moral Motivation presents a history of the concept of moral motivation. The book consists of ten chapters by eminent scholars in the history of philosophy, covering Plato, Aristotle, later Peripatetic philosophy, medieval philosophy, Spinoza, Locke, Hume, Kant, Fichte and Hegel, and the consequentialist tradition. In addition, four interdisciplinary "Reflections" discuss how the topic of moral motivation arises in epic poetry, Cicero, early opera, and Theodore Dreiser. Most contemporary philosophical discussions of moral motivation focus on whether and how moral beliefs by themselves motivate an agent (at least to some degree) to act. In much of the history of the concept, especially before Hume, the focus is rather on how to motivate people to act morally as well as on what sort of motivation a person must act from (or what end an agents acts for) in order to be a genuinely ethical person or even to have done a genuinely ethical action. The book shows the complexity of the historical treatment of moral motivation and, moreover, how intertwined moral motivation is with central aspects of ethical theory.


Iakovos Vasiliou
1. Plato and Moral Motivation
Iakovos Vasiliou
Reflection: Moral Motivation: Achilles and Homer's Iliad
Nancy Worman
2. Aristotle on Moral Motivation
Susan Sauve Meyer
3. A Later (and Non-Standard) Aristotelian Account of Moral Motivation
Brad Inwood
Reflection: Cicero on Moral Motivation and Seeing (How) To Be Good
Joy Connolly
4. Moral Motivation in Medieval Philosophy
Jonathan Jacobs
5. Act and Moral Motivation in Spinoza
Steven Nadler
Reflection: Moral Motivation and Music as Moral Judge
Chadwick Jenkins
6. Locke on Pleasure, Law, and Moral Motivation
Phillip Mitsis
7. Hume on Moral Motivation
Jacqueline Taylor
8. Kant and Moral Motivation: The Value of Free Rational Willing
Jennifer Uleman
9. Moral Motivation in Post-Kantian Philosophy: Fichte and Hegel
Angelica Nuzzo
Reflection: Moral Motivation and the Limits of Moral Agency in Literary Naturalism: Dreiser's Sister Carrie
Anne Diebel
10. Consequentialism, Moral Motivation, and the Deontic Relevance of Motives
Steven Sverdlik

About the author: 

Iakovos Vasiliou is currently Professor of Philosophy at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. He has published a number of articles on Plato and Aristotle, and is the author of Aiming at Virtue in Plato (Cambridge University Press, 2008). He has also taught at Brooklyn College, Georgia State University, and Johns Hopkins University.

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