Reason and Ethics defends the theoretical claim that all values are subjective and the practical claim that human affairs can be conducted fruitfully in full awareness of this.
Joel Marks goes beyond his previous work defending moral skepticism to question the existence of all objective values. This leads him to suggest a novel answer to the Companions in Guilt argument that the denial of morality would mean relinquishing rationality as well. Marks disarms the argument by conceding the irreality of both morality and logic, but is still able to rescue rationality while dispensing with morality on pragmatic grounds. He then offers a positive account of how life may be lived productively without recourse to attributions and assertions of right and wrong, good and bad, and even truth and falsity.
Written in an accessible and engaging style, Reason and Ethics will be of interest to scholars and students working in metaethics as well as to the generally intellectually curious.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Method and Plan of the Book
Chapter 1: Moralism
Chapter 2: From the Moral to the Amoral
Chapter 3: From Amorality to Desirism
Chapter 4: What Reason Can Do
Chapter 5: Companions in Guilt
Chapter 6: Further Objections and Replies
Chapter 7: What Is It Like to Be an Amoralist?
Chapter 8: The Divided Amoralist
Chapter 9: We Are the 99 Percent
Chapter 10: Still More Amoral Moments
Joel Marks is professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of New Haven and a Bioethics Center Scholar at Yale University. Among his many professional and popular publications are two previous monographs defending amorality, Ethics without Morals and Hard Atheism and the Ethics of Desire. His Website is www.docsoc.com.
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"If morality is a myth or an illusion, why persevere with moral judgments, moral language, and moralistic ways of thinking? Joel Marks offers a plausible alternative: desirism. This means thinking, speaking, and acting in accordance with our rationally scrutinized desires, rather than claiming the support of a mysterious, always-elusive, indefinable source of moral authority. Marks is now the foremost advocate for doing away with morality and replacing it with something more defensible, and—by most people’s lights—better." – Russell Blackford, University of Newcastle, Australia