Even those among us who think that morality is rooted in timeless normative truths will acknowledge that the overall moral fabric that binds us to one another is subject to various kinds of renovation and expansion. To take a simplistic example, the advent of the Internet has occasioned a host of new moral concepts attuned to the new ways in which people are able to treat each other -- think of “friending,” “blocking,” trolling, “sub-tweeting,” doxing, and such. These are new concepts introduced into the moral vernacular for the sake of identifying novel kinds of moral behavior. That our moral vernacular expands in these ways is obvious enough. But there’s a distinct question concerning how more innovations become authoritative
– that is, how new moral concepts come to bind us in that distinctive way that morality is binding.
In Articulating the Moral Community: Toward a Constructive Ethical Pragmatism
(Oxford University Press, 2018), Henry S. Richardson
develops a fascinating account of how new, authoritative moral norms can be introduced. The book treats core topics in metaethics, moral psychology, and the theory of practical reasoning.