Beginning by posing the question of what it is that marks the difference between something like terrorism and something like civil society, Brassington argues that commonsense moral arguments against terrorism or political violence tend to imply that the modern democratic polis might also be morally unjustifiable. At the same time, the commonsense arguments in favour of something like a modern democratic polis could be co-opted by the politically violent as exculpatory. In exploring this prima facie problem and in the course of trying to substantiate the commonsense distinction, Brassington identifies a tension between the primary values of truth and normativity in the standard accounts of moral theory which he ultimately resolves by adopting lines of thought suggested by Martin Heidegger and concluding that the problem with mainstream moral philosophy is that, in a sense, it tries too hard.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; 'There are no innocents': why we should be worried about moral philosophy; Independentism: moral truth and the lack thereof; Dependentism: buying truth and pawning normativity; The reality of values: Heidegger and moral thought; Oughtobiography: Heidegger and ethical thought; Bibliography; Index.
Iain Brassington is Lecturer in Bioethics at the School of Law, University of Manchester, UK.