The Quest for Moral Foundations

cover art
192 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9780878406135 (0878406131)

July 1996
LC: 95-42088


Table of Contents

The Quest for Moral Foundations
An Introduction to Ethics
Montague Brown
A concise, yet engaging introduction to the field of ethics, this volume offers a systematic study of the foundations of moral responsibility. Montague Brown guides the reader on an examination of a wide range of ethical positions, including relativism, emotivism, egoism, utilitarianism, Kantian formalism, and natural law.

Brown explains not only the history behind the development of each position, but also the roles science, democracy, and religion play in moral thinking today.

Students and teachers of philosophy, ethics, and religion, as well as the general reader, will find that this book tackles the serious issues and offers an insightful, accessible introduction to major ethical positions and the great moral philosophers.
Montague Brown is a professor of philosophy at St. Anselm College.

Table of Contents

1. Anything Goes: Relativism
Religion and Ethics
Cultural Relativism
Historical Relativism
Implications of Groups
Subjective Relativisim
Theoretical vs. Moral Relativism
Moral Responsibility

2. Do What You Feel: Emotivism
Emotivisim According to Hume
Later Development of Emotivism

3. Me First: Egoism and the Social Contract
Social Contract Theory
Social Contract Morality Since Hobbs

4. All's Well That Ends Well: Utilitarianism
Pleasure, Pain, and Morality
Utilitarianism of J.S. Mill
Rule Utilitarianism
Scientific Approach
Foundation for Moral Judgment
Conclusions about Pleasure/Pain Theories

5. Duty Calls: Kant's Formalism
Kant's Reevaluation of Reason
Determinism or Freedom
Practical Reason

6. Do Good and Avoid Evil: Natural Law
Comparison with Other Theories
Moral Responsibility
Relationships among Traditions
Synthesis of Cicero
Freedom and Natural Law

7. Retrospective and Reevaluation
Utilitarian Theory
Social Construct Theory
Natural Law and Pluralism

8. Ethics and Religion Revisited
Ethics Derived from Religion
Religion as an Ethical Obligation
Moral Importance of Religion

9. Epilogue: To Care or Not to Care