Beyond Morality

Temple University Press (1994)


"Morality and religion have failed because they are based on duplicity and fantasy. We need something new." This bold statement is the driving force behind Richard Garner's "Beyond Morality." In his book, Garner presents an insightful defense of moral error theory-the idea that our moral thought and discourse is systemically flawed. Establishing his argument with a discerning survey of historical and contemporary moral beliefs from around the world, Garner critically evaluates the plausibility of these beliefs and ultimately finds them wanting. In response, Garner suggests that humanity must "get beyond morality" by rejecting traditional language and thought about good and bad, right and wrong. He encourages readers to adhere to an alternative system of thought: "informed, compassionate amoralism," a blend of compassion, non-duplicity, and clarity of language that Garner believes will nurture our capability for tolerance, creation, and cooperation. By abandoning illusion and learning to listen to others and ourselves, Garner insists that society can and will find harmony. Richard Garner's, "Beyond Morality" delves deep into the thoughts and codes that inform the actions of humanity and offers a solution to the embedded error of these forces. An essential text for students of philosophy, "Beyond Morality" provides a groundwork for improving human action and relationships. Richard Garner is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Ohio State University. "One can discern the influence of the moral skeptic upon philosophy for as far back as one can gather any solid evidence at all, yet all too often the skeptical case has been articulated by opponents only with an eye to its refutation. All the more important it is, then, that forms of moral skepticism are sympathetically developed and advocated in the intellectual community. When first published in 1994, "Beyond Morality" was one of very few books that intelligently championed a radical type of moral skepticism; here Garner threw down the gauntlet in a firm, level-headed, and engaging manner. In so doing, he showed amoralism to have many attractions and a rich cultural history. Garner's position remains very much a live option in metaethics, and the importance of "Beyond Morality" has not diminished." -Richard Joyce, Professor of Philosophy, Victoria University of Wellington "This work is a tremendous achievement. The author's erudition is overwhelming, yet it is expressed without overwhelming the reader. He goes easily from modern to ancient thought. Some of the most difficult areas of thought are explored with such clarity that readers unfamiliar with them can grasp them readily. One of the chief virtues of this highly informative book is that it sets the problems of ethics in the context of wider areas of thought and brings them down to earth. Garner's main thesis, referred to as amoralism, is extremely important, not only to philosophy, but to all popular thinking about ethics, both theoretical and applied. He has done a magnificent job defending this important theme. This is a landmark work." -Richard Taylor, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Rochester "Garner is one of the first philosophers since Nietzsche to take seriously the idea that 'morality' might be nothing more than a sham. . . . In his hands, 'amoralism' turns out to be more appealing and humane than many thinkers' versions of 'morality'!" -James Rachels, Professor of Philosophy, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Download options


    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,856

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

70 (#168,007)

6 months
4 (#162,461)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work

The Error in the Error Theory.Stephen Finlay - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (3):347-369.
Moral Anti-Realism.Richardn D. Joyce - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Nihilism, Nietzsche and the Doppelganger Problem.Charles R. Pigden - 2007 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (5):441-456.
Metaethics After Moore.Terry Horgan & Mark Timmons (eds.) - 2006 - Oxford University Press UK.

View all 16 citations / Add more citations