Barbara Herman: Moral Literacy (2008)

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Barbara Herman: Moral Literacy (2008)

Post by jserraglio » Sun Oct 06, 2019 6:06 am

Roll over, Aristotle and G.E. Moore! This is the best book on the theoretical underpinnings and practical consequences of moral agency I've ever read. It is a work of normative ethics in the broad tradition of analytic philosophy as influenced by Kant and Rawls.

The newbie who comes to this work of professional analysis, as I did, may find it daunting, but Herman has the gift of bringing ethical theory down to actual cases. There are incisive chapters on character, virtue, the will, autonomy and moral competence, plus extremely interesting comments on moral improvisation and obligatory ends. The final chapter analyzes and resolves the tension between political necessity and moral justification in the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Herman is professor of philosophy and law at UCLA. I knew her only peripherally in university but well enough to state that even as a student, she was legendary for her brilliance, beneficence, humor and common sense. She certainly went out of her way to be nice to me, a strange creature she happened upon stranded on a beach so to speak, and I shall never forget her kindness.

On beneficence and gratitude:

On negligence and non-negligence:

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