The Phenomenology of Moral Normativity

Comparative and Continental Philosophy 9 (3):274-279 (2017)
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This symposium collects together five essays reflecting on The Phenomenology of Moral Normativity by William H. Smith. This work is an original monograph bridging the phenomenological tradition and contemporary moral theory in an attempt to articulate a phenomenological theory of moral normativity. The first piece in the symposium, by Smith, offers a précis of the book’s argumentative structure, including its central theses, methodological commitments, and pluralistic orientation. The next three pieces provide critical assessments of the book’s major narrative turns: Therese Cory writes in defense of moral realism and the third-person perspective, in response to Smith’s use of Korsgaard in the opening chapters of his book; Apple Igrek wonders whether the post-modern radicality of Levinas’s ethics have been compromised by Smith’s appropriation of Levinas; and Matthew Rellihan contends that Smith’s purported phenomenological theory of morality is inconsistent with a rigorous application of the phenomenological method. In the final piece, Smith responds to each critic in turn. This last offering defends Smith’s two-fold grounding of morality in a phenomenological account of the self and our responsibility to others, a reimagining of Heidegger’s fundamental ontology in light of Levinas’s ethical metaphysics. The theory unites authenticity with the face-to-face encounter, resoluteness with first-person reflective endorsement, and infinite responsibility to the other with second-personal address. These essays were first delivered at an author-meets-critics session hosted at Seattle University in the winter of 2012, then substantially revised and updated for this publication.



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William Smith
Rice University

Citations of this work

The Phenomenology of Moral Normativity.William Hosmer Smith - 2017 - Comparative and Continental Philosophy 9 (3):274-279.
Revising Resoluteness: Confronting the Moral Problem of Others in Being and Time.Min Seol - 2021 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 53 (3):298-314.
Can Phenomenology Ground Moral Normativity?Matthew Rellihan - 2017 - Comparative and Continental Philosophy 9 (3):285-290.
A Brief Defense of the Third Person Perspective in Moral Philosophy.Therese Scarpelli Cory - 2017 - Comparative and Continental Philosophy 9 (3):279-283.

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References found in this work

Totality and Infinity.Emmanuel Levinas - 1961/1969 - Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.
The Phenomenology of Moral Normativity.William Hosmer Smith - 2017 - Comparative and Continental Philosophy 9 (3):274-279.

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