1st Edition

Moral Concepts and their History

Edited By Edward Skidelsky Copyright 2022
    124 Pages
    by Routledge

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    This edited volume is devoted to the history of moral concepts, including shame, contempt, happiness, conscience, cleanliness and 'the brick'.

    The chapters in this book are written from the diverse perspectives of the philosopher, theologian, linguist and historian of ideas. However, they are united in the conviction that these concepts are illuminated by being treated historically; or even, more strongly, that we cannot fully understand what they are now without knowing the history of how they have come to be. Viewed in this way, the history of moral concepts is a crucial preliminary to moral self-understanding, as well as an interesting enquiry in its own right.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the History of European Ideas.


    Edward Skidelsky

    1. Hans in Luck or the moral economy of happiness in the modern age

    Ute Frevert

    2. What moral philosophers can learn from the history of moral concepts

    Edward Skidelsky

    3. Conscience: what is its history and does it have a future?

    John Cottingham

    4. What’s wrong with subjective rights?

    Nigel Biggar

    5. How contempt became a passion

    Ross Carroll

    6. Shame in early modern thought: from sin to sociability

    Hannah Dawson

    7. ‘Next to godliness?’ exploring cleanliness in peace and war

    Lynda Mugglestone

    8. ‘You’re a brick’: colloquialism and the history of moral concepts

    Nikhil Krishnan


    Edward Skidelsky is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Exeter, UK.