Moral Motivation: A History

New York: Oxford University Press USA (2016)
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Abstract

Moral Motivation presents a history of the concept of moral motivation. The book consists of ten chapters by eminent scholars in the history of philosophy, covering Plato, Aristotle, later Peripatetic philosophy, medieval philosophy, Spinoza, Locke, Hume, Kant, Fichte and Hegel, and the consequentialist tradition. In addition, four interdisciplinary "Reflections" discuss how the topic of moral motivation arises in epic poetry, Cicero, early opera, and Theodore Dreiser. Most contemporary philosophical discussions of moral motivation focus on whether and how moral beliefs by themselves motivate an agent to act. In much of the history of the concept, especially before Hume, the focus is rather on how to motivate people to act morally as well as on what sort of motivation a person must act from in order to be a genuinely ethical person or even to have done a genuinely ethical action. The book shows the complexity of the historical treatment of moral motivation and, moreover, how intertwined moral motivation is with central aspects of ethical theory.

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Author's Profile

Iakovos Vasiliou
CUNY Graduate Center

Citations of this work

The Learner’s Motivation and the Structure of Habituation in Aristotle.Margaret Hampson - 2022 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 104 (3):415-447.

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References found in this work

Free Agency.Gary Watson - 1975 - In Free Will. Oxford University Press.
Moral judgment and reasons for action.Robert Audi - 1997 - In Garrett Cullity & Berys Nigel Gaut (eds.), Ethics and Practical Reason. Oxford University Press. pp. 125--160.
Scotus and the possibility of moral motivation.Terence Irwin - 2007 - In Paul Bloomfield (ed.), Morality and Self-Interest. Oxford University Press.

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