Moral Progress and Human Agency

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (1):153-168 (2017)
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Abstract

The idea of moral progress is a necessary presupposition of action for beings like us. We must believe that moral progress is possible and that it might have been realized in human experience, if we are to be confident that continued human action can have any morally constructive point. I discuss the implications of this truth for moral psychology. I also show that once we understand the complex nature and the complicated social sources of moral progress, we will appreciate why we cannot construct a plausible comprehensive action-guiding theory of moral progress. Yet while the nature and sources of moral progress consistently thwart many theoretical hopes, the idea of moral progress is a plausible, critically important and morally constructive principle of historical interpretation.

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Michele Moody-Adams
Columbia University

References found in this work

Justice as fairness: a restatement.John Rawls (ed.) - 2001 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Practical Ethics.Peter Singer - 1979 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Susan J. Armstrong & Richard George Botzler.
The sociology of science: theoretical and empirical investigations.Robert King Merton - 1973 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Norman W. Storer.
Art as Experience.John Dewey - 2005 - Penguin Books.

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