ISBN : 9780199570416
Knowing Better presents a novel solution to the problem of reconciling the seemingly conflicting perspectives of ordinary virtue and normative ethics. Normative ethics is a sophisticated, open-ended philosophical enterprise that attempts to articulate and defend highly general ethical principles. Such principles aspire to specify our reasons, and tell us what it is right to do. However, it is not plausible to suppose that virtuous people in general follow such philosophical principles. These principles are difficult to articulate and assess, and we do not (or should not) think that advanced philosophical expertise is a necessary requirement for virtue. At the same time, the virtuous do not only accidentally get things right; rather, they act well in a reliable fashion, and they do so by responding appropriately to genuine reasons. Daniel Star argues that the solution to this problem requires a new approach to understanding the relation between ethical theory and ordinary deliberation, a new way of thinking about the nature of practical authority and normative reasons, a new account of the nature of virtue, and a rethinking of how best to understand the role that knowledge plays in deliberation and action.
Preface Acknowledgements 1: Two Levels of Ethical Thinking 2: The Authority of Reasons 3: Virtue 4: Knowing Better References