Review of Moral Aims: Essays on the Importance of Getting It Right and Practicing Morality with Others

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (2016)
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This collection of previously published essays by Cheshire Calhoun, with an original introduction, supplies an absorbing assemblage of some well-known and some lesser-known essays that hang together remarkably well. The overall effect is that of a robust and provocative approach to ethical theory. Calhoun builds a persuasive case for morality as an enterprise constituted as much by social practices as by abstract theorizing. Calhoun's is not merely the position that moral theory has feasibility constraints when applied. On the contrary, she offers these essays as multiple viewing angles on her position that, "absent a social practice, there is no morality, although there might be moral knowledge" (13). Conventionally, we conceive of morality as a correct action guide, a theory that aims for accuracy in an attempt to "get it right," which we then carry into application in the world. Calhoun argues that our critically reflective aim of theorizing toward accuracy supervenes on -- and often unwittingly presumes -- the backdrop of a social practice of morality (17).



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Kathryn J. Norlock
Trent University

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