Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (2):169-184 (2011)

Authors
Samantha Vice
University of the Witwatersrand
Abstract
Our attitude towards cynicism is ambivalent: On the one hand we condemn it as a character failing and a trend that is undermining political and social life; on the other hand, we are often impressed by the apparent realism and honesty of the cynic. My aim in this paper is to offer an account of cynicism that can explain both our attraction and aversion. After defending a particular conception of cynicism, I argue that most of the work in explaining the fault of cynicism can be done by referring not to the cynic’s beliefs about humanity, but to the attitude cultivated as a response to that belief. This attitude is hostile to the virtues of faith, hope and charity, upon which relationships and our sense of moral community depend. In conclusion, I suggest that holding the cynical belief is itself immoral, and that cynicism is disrespectful and destructive of morality.
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-010-9250-y
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References found in this work BETA

Moral Saints.Susan Wolf - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (8):419-439.
The Fragility of Goodness.Martha Nussbaum - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (7):376-383.
Eating Meat and Eating People.Cora Diamond - 1978 - Philosophy 53 (206):465 - 479.
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A Common Humanity.Raimond Gaita - 2003 - Philosophical Quarterly 53 (212):468-470.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Three Varieties of Faith.Ryan Preston-Roedder - 2018 - Philosophical Topics 46 (1):173-199.
What Pessimism Is.Paul Prescott - 2012 - Journal of Philosophical Research 37:337-356.

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