Morality Made Visible: Edward Westermarck’s Moral and Social Theory, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Morality Made Visible

Edward Westermarck’s Moral and Social Theory, 1st Edition

By Otto Pipatti


170 pages

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Hardback: 9780815347439
pub: 2019-03-12
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While highly respected among evolutionary scholars, the sociologist, anthropologist and philosopher Edward Westermarck is now largely forgotten in the social sciences. This book is the first full study of his moral and social theory, focusing on the key elements of his theory of moral emotions as presented in The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas and summarised in Ethical Relativity. Examining Westermarck’s evolutionary approach to the human mind, the author introduces important new themes to scholarship on Westermarck, including the pivotal role of emotions in human reciprocity, the evolutionary origins of human society, social solidarity, the emergence and maintenance of moral norms and moral responsibility. With attention to Westermarck’s debt to David Hume and Adam Smith, whose views on human nature, moral sentiments and sympathy Westermarck combined with Darwinian evolutionary thinking, Morality Made Visible highlights the importance of the theory of sympathy that lies at the heart of Westermarck’s work, which proves to be crucial to his understanding of morality and human social life. A rigorous examination of Westermarck’s moral and social theory in its intellectual context, this volume connects Westermarck’s work on morality to classical sociology, to the history of evolutionism in the social and behavioural sciences, and to the sociological study of morality and emotions, showing him to be the forerunner of modern evolutionary psychology and anthropology. In revealing the lasting value of his work in understanding and explaining a wide range of moral phenomena, it will appeal to scholars of sociology, anthropology and psychology with interests in social theory, morality and intellectual history.

Table of Contents


1. Research Programme on Morality

2. The Evolution of Westermarck’s Theory of Moral Emotions

3. Westermarck’s Mature Account of Morality

4. Sympathy in Westermarck’s Sociology (I): Evolutionary Roots and Expansion

5. Sympathy in Westermarck’s Sociology (II): The Genesis and Maintenance of Moral Norms

6. The Anatomy of Moral Responsibility

7. The Origin and Development of Moral Sentimentalism: Westermarck on Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, and Hume

8. The Smithian Roots of Westermarck’s Theory of Morality

Concluding Remarks

About the Author

Otto Pipatti is a researcher in the Department of Social Research at the University of Helsinki, Finland.

About the Series

Classical and Contemporary Social Theory

Classical and Contemporary Social Theory
Classical and Contemporary Social Theory publishes rigorous scholarly work that re-discovers the relevance of social theory for contemporary times, demonstrating the enduring importance of theory for modern social issues. The series covers social theory in a broad sense, inviting contributions on both 'classical' and modern theory, thus encompassing sociology, without being confined to a single discipline. As such, work from across the social sciences is welcome, provided that volumes address the social context of particular issues, subjects, or figures and offer new understandings of social reality and the contribution of a theorist or school to our understanding of it. The series considers significant new appraisals of established thinkers or schools, comparative works or contributions that discuss a particular social issue or phenomenon in relation to the work of specific theorists or theoretical approaches. Contributions are welcome that assess broad strands of thought within certain schools or across the work of a number of thinkers, but always with an eye toward contributing to contemporary understandings of social issues and contexts.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General