Praise and Blame: Moral Realism and Its Applications

Princeton University Press
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How should a prize be awarded after a horse race? Should it go to the best rider, the best person, or the one who finishes first? To what extent are bystanders blameworthy when they do nothing to prevent harm? Are there any objective standards of moral responsibility with which to address such perennial questions? In this fluidly written and lively book, Daniel Robinson takes on the prodigious task of setting forth the contours of praise and blame. He does so by mounting an important and provocative new defense of a radical theory of moral realism and offering a critical appraisal of prevailing alternatives such as determinism and behaviorism and of their conceptual shortcomings.

The version of moral realism that arises from Robinson's penetrating inquiry--an inquiry steeped in Aristotelian ethics but deeply informed by modern scientific knowledge of human cognition--is independent of cognition and emotion. At the same time, Robinson carefully explores how such human attributes succeed or fail in comprehending real moral properties. Through brilliant analyses of constitutional and moral luck, of biosocial and genetic versions of psychological determinism, and of relativistic-anthropological accounts of variations in moral precepts, he concludes that none of these conceptions accounts either for the nature of moral properties or the basis upon which they could be known. Ultimately, the theory that Robinson develops preserves moral properties even while acknowledging the conditions that undermine the powers of human will.

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About the author

Daniel N. Robinson is Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus, Georgetown University. He is Faculty Fellow in Philosophy at Oxford University where he has lectured annually since 1991. He is the author or editor of numerous books including Wild Beasts and Idle Humors: The Insanity Defense from Antiquity to the Present and Aristotle's Psychology.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Apr 11, 2009
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9781400825318
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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An Intellectual History of Psychology, already a classic in its field, is now available in a concise new third edition. It presents psychological ideas as part of a greater web of thinking throughout history about the essentials of human nature, interwoven with ideas from philosophy, science, religion, art, literature, and politics.
Daniel N. Robinson demonstrates that from the dawn of rigorous and self-critical inquiry in ancient Greece, reflections about human nature have been inextricably linked to the cultures from which they arose, and each definable historical age has added its own character and tone to this long tradition. An Intellectual History of Psychology not only explores the most significant ideas about human nature from ancient to modern times, but also examines the broader social and scientific contexts in which these concepts were articulated and defended. Robinson treats each epoch, whether ancient Greece or Renaissance Florence or Enlightenment France, in its own terms, revealing the problems that dominated the age and engaged the energies of leading thinkers.
Robinson also explores the abiding tension between humanistic and scientific perspectives, assessing the most convincing positions on each side of the debate. Invaluable as a text for students and as a stimulating and insightful overview for scholars and practicing psychologists, this volume can be read either as a history of psychology in both its philosophical and aspiring scientific periods or as a concise history of Western philosophy’s concepts of human nature.
An Intellectual History of Psychology, already a classic in its field, is now available in a concise new third edition. It presents psychological ideas as part of a greater web of thinking throughout history about the essentials of human nature, interwoven with ideas from philosophy, science, religion, art, literature, and politics.
Daniel N. Robinson demonstrates that from the dawn of rigorous and self-critical inquiry in ancient Greece, reflections about human nature have been inextricably linked to the cultures from which they arose, and each definable historical age has added its own character and tone to this long tradition. An Intellectual History of Psychology not only explores the most significant ideas about human nature from ancient to modern times, but also examines the broader social and scientific contexts in which these concepts were articulated and defended. Robinson treats each epoch, whether ancient Greece or Renaissance Florence or Enlightenment France, in its own terms, revealing the problems that dominated the age and engaged the energies of leading thinkers.
Robinson also explores the abiding tension between humanistic and scientific perspectives, assessing the most convincing positions on each side of the debate. Invaluable as a text for students and as a stimulating and insightful overview for scholars and practicing psychologists, this volume can be read either as a history of psychology in both its philosophical and aspiring scientific periods or as a concise history of Western philosophy’s concepts of human nature.
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