Read more about Metaethics from a First Person Standpoint: An Introduction to Moral Philosophy

Metaethics from a First Person Standpoint: An Introduction to Moral Philosophy

(3 reviews)

Catherine Wilson, University of York

Copyright Year: 2016

ISBN 13: 9781783742004

Publisher: Open Book Publishers

Language: English

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Reviewed by Meredith Gunning, Full Professor, Northern Essex Community College on 6/14/21

Wilson's book provides a solid introduction to key questions which surface in metaethics. Creatively, she models Descartes' own hyberbolic doubt by exploring from a first person perspective whether morality is just made up nonsense. She strikes... read more

Reviewed by Matthew Shadle, Associate Professor, Marymount University on 7/30/20

The book provides a unique and thorough consideration of some of the key questions of metaethics, such as whether moral claims (this is good/right, that is bad/wrong) describe something real or are rather expressions of our likes or feelings, how... read more

Reviewed by Lisa Kemmerer, professor, TRAILS on 12/13/19

A fabulous read. Metaethics has never been so entertaining. read more

Table of Contents

  • Introduction and Acknowledgements
  • Enquiry I
  • Enquiry II
  • Enquiry III
  • Enquiry IV
  • Enquiry V
  • Enquiry VI
  • Enquiry VII
  • Enquiry VIII
  • Enquiry IX

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  • About the Book

    Metaethics from a First Person Standpoint addresses in a novel format the major topics and themes of contemporary metaethics, the study of the analysis of moral thought and judgement. Metathetics is less concerned with what practices are right or wrong than with what we mean by ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’
    Looking at a wide spectrum of topics including moral language, realism and anti-realism, reasons and motives, relativism, and moral progress, this book engages students and general readers in order to enhance their understanding of morality and moral discourse as cultural practices. Catherine Wilson innovatively employs a first-person narrator to report step-by-step an individual’s reflections, beginning from a position of radical scepticism, on the possibility of objective moral knowledge. The reader is invited to follow along with this reasoning, and to challenge or agree with each major point. Incrementally, the narrator is led to certain definite conclusions about ‘oughts’ and norms in connection with self-interest, prudence, social norms, and finally morality. Scepticism is overcome, and the narrator arrives at a good understanding of how moral knowledge and moral progress are possible, though frequently long in coming.
    Accessibly written, Metaethics from a First Person Standpoint presupposes no prior training in philosophy and is a must-read for philosophers, students and general readers interested in gaining a better understanding of morality as a personal philosophical quest.

    About the Contributors


    Catherine Wilson is the Anniversary Professor of Philosophy at the University of York. Catherine has worked in the history of philosophy, moral theory and aesthetics and has taught and published extensively in these fields. Her publications include A Very Short Introduction to Epicureanism, Epicureanism at the Origins of Modernity (2008 and 2010), Moral Animals: Ideals and Constraints in Moral Theory (2004 and 2007) and (with C. Wilson and D. Clarke), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Early Modern Europe (2011).

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