Linda Zagzebski

Exemplarist Moral Theory

Oxford University Press 2017

New Books in PhilosophyNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network May 1, 2017 Robert Talisse

Many of the longstanding debates in moral philosophy concern the question of where more theorizing should begin. Some hold that moral theories should start...

Many of the longstanding debates in moral philosophy concern the question of where more theorizing should begin. Some hold that moral theories should start with definitions of moral terms like good; others contend instead that we should begin by identifying the conditions under which an action is right; still others maintain that one must start by developing a procedure for deciding what acts to perform. The thought is that once a theory accounts for whatever is properly first, the rest of morality simply falls into place.

In Exemplarist Moral Theory (Oxford University Press, 2017), Linda Zagzebski proposes a new starting place for moral theory, and thus a new approach to morality. Her view begins with an analysis of the phenomenon of admiring exemplars. Zagzebski argues that once we understand what it is to admire another and what exemplars are, we can account for the broad range of other moral concepts, including goodness, duty, and right action.

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