The Second-Person Standpoint
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The Second-Person Standpoint : Morality, Respect, and Accountability

3.72 (33 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Why should we avoid doing moral wrong? The inability of philosophy to answer this question in a compelling manner-along with the moral skepticism and ethical confusion that ensue-result, Stephen Darwall argues, from our failure to appreciate the essentially interpersonal character of moral obligation. After showing how attempts to vindicate morality have tended to change the subject-falling back on nonmoral values or practical, first-person considerations-Darwall elaborates the interpersonal nature of moral obligations: their inherent link to our responsibilities to one another as members of the moral community.

As Darwall defines it, the concept of moral obligation has an irreducibly second-person aspect; it presupposes our authority to make claims and demands on one another. And so too do many other central notions, including those of rights, the dignity of and respect for persons, and the very concept of person itself. The result is nothing less than a fundamental reorientation of moral theory that enables it at last to account for morality's supreme authority-an account that Darwall carries from the realm of theory to the practical world of second-person attitudes, emotions, and actions.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 362 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 22.86mm | 521.63g
  • Cambridge, Mass, United States
  • English
  • 0674034627
  • 9780674034624
  • 255,211

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Table of contents

Preface Part I 1. The Main Ideas I 2. The Main Ideas II 3. The Second-Person Stance and Second-Personal Reasons Part II 4. Accountability and the Second Person 5. Moral Obligation and Accountability 6. Respect and the Second Person Part III 7. The Psychology of the Second Person 8. Interlude: Hume Versus Reid on Justice (with Contemporary Resonances) Part IV 9. Morality and Autonomy in Kant 10. The Second Person and Dignity: Variations on Fichtean Themes 11. Freedom and Practical Reason 12. A Foundation for Contractualism Works Cited Index
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Review quote

The Second-Person Standpoint, Stephen Darwall's innovative and engaging new book, contends that not only can we use Strawson's argument to develop a new line on free will; we can also employ it in developing a new perspective on moral obligations...It is a mine of insight into an aspect of morality that has escaped sustained exploration. Even if it overreaches in its claim to confound consequentialism, the elements it puts in place ought to figure prominently in every account of morality, and it should help to ensure that from now on they will. -- Philip Pettit Times Literary Supplement 20070302 The idea of a second-personal reason is a genuine and important advance in moral philosophy. -- Christine M. Korsgaard Ethics 20071001 The Second-Person Standpoint has quickly become one of the most discussed recent books in ethics. It richly deserves that honor, since it offers a thorough, intriguing and deeply thoughtful reconception of the entire sphere of morality...Darwall's book challenges the meta-ethical presuppositions of practically every going moral theory. Darwall remains, as he has been throughout his career, strongly committed to Kantianism. But his Kantianism is now one in which a certain relationship--the relationship between an I and a you--lies deeper than even the categorical imperative. If he is right, we will need to read Kant himself in a different light. -- Samuel Fleischacker Utilitas 20090301 Darwall's foray into this relatively untrampled philosophical terrain turns out to be enormously exciting. The result is a book which takes its place among the very best contemporary works on Kantian ethics and which ought to be regarded as required reading for any contemporary ethical theorist. -- Talbot Brewer Philosophical Quarterly 20090101 One of the main achievements of Darwall's book is that it provides an answer to [Anscombe's] challenge. The authorities to whom modern moral consciousness appeals are simply you and I. -- Gary Watson Ethics 20071001 A theory regarding the form and content of moral obligation requires attention to issues in both ethics and metaphysics. Darwall's construction of such a theory is historically informed, concisely written, and provocative in ways that extend far beyond the merely theoretical. -- H. Storl Choice 20070501 The Second-Person Standpoint is a rigorous and convincing volume of utmost importance to ongoing discussions of the foundations of rights and obligations in ethics and jurisprudence, as well as to the current debates on the foundations of practical rationality. Additionally, Darwall's book is likely to be a catalyst for a new and beneficial discussion of the long neglected ethical doctrines of early-modern theological voluntarism and German idealism and the contributions these rich traditions can offer to contemporary thinking about morality, responsibility, and the dignity of persons. -- Daniel M. Layman Review of Metaphysics 20080301
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About Stephen Darwall

Stephen Darwall is Andrew Downey Orrick Professor of Philosophy, Yale University.
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Rating details

33 ratings
3.72 out of 5 stars
5 27% (9)
4 36% (12)
3 24% (8)
2 6% (2)
1 6% (2)
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