Knowing Better

Knowing Better : Virtue, Deliberation, and Normative Ethics

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Knowing Better presents a novel solution to the problem of reconciling the seemingly conflicting perspectives of ordinary virtue and normative ethics. These two perspectives appear to tell us incompatible things about the practical reasons that guide our deliberation and justify our actions. Normative ethics is a sophisticated, open-ended philosophical enterprise that attempts to articulate and defend highly general ethical principles. Such principles aspire
to specify our reasons, and tell us what it is right to do. However, it is not attractive to suppose that virtuous people generally follow such principles, or that the reasons that they specify are familiar to them. These principles are difficult to articulate and assess, and we do not (or should not) think
that advanced philosophical expertise is a necessary requirement for virtue. At the same time, the virtuous do not only accidentally get things right; rather, they act well in a reliable fashion, and they do so by responding appropriately to genuine reasons. How is it possible for there to be genuine reasons that the virtuous are able to rely on to determine what they should do, given that they are, generally speaking, ignorant of fundamental ethical principles and the reasons that they specify?

Daniel Star argues that the solution to this problem requires a new approach to understanding the relation between ethical theory and ordinary deliberation, a new way of thinking about the nature of practical authority and normative reasons, a new account of the nature of virtue, and a rethinking of how best to understand the role that knowledge plays in deliberation and action.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 168 pages
  • 147 x 226 x 18mm | 340g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0199570418
  • 9780199570416
  • 2,283,455

Table of contents

Preface Acknowledgements 1: Two Levels of Ethical Thinking 2: The Authority of Reasons 3: Virtue 4: Knowing Better References
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Review quote

[Knowing Better] ranks alongside some of the best work in recent normative philosophy, stimulating readers with many new ideas and arguments, numerous of which I lacked space to address. The virtuous will know better than to give it a miss. * Kurt Sylvan, Journal of Moral Philosophy * ...he makes original and insightful contributions to an impressively wide range of independently important philosophical debates concerning - among other things - the structure of ethical theory, the analysis of reasons for action and belief, the nature of virtue, and the connections between knowledge, evidence and actionStar's book is a resounding success... * Alex Worsnip, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews Online * Knowing Better is a valuable contribution to moral psychology, virtue theory, and metaethics. It offers all that one wants in a work of philosophy: a novel and plausible solution to an intuitive and compelling puzzle. It's rewarding and insightful work that is well worth reading and reflecting on. * Nicolas Bommarito, Australasian Journal of Philosophy. *
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About Daniel Star

Daniel Star is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Boston University. He completed his BPhil and DPhil at the University of Oxford in 2007, and was a Research Fellow at the Australian National University for two years. He has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals, such as Analysis, Ethics, Hypatia, Journal of Moral Philosophy, Jurisprudence, Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Oxford Studies in
Metaethics, and Ratio. He is the editor of the Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity (OUP, forthcoming).
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