This book is the first to introduce readers to contemporary philosophical works on moral judgement stemming from France, Germany and the Anglo-American world – many of which remain untranslated. By integrating Kantian and Aristotelian reflections on this subject, the author combines historiography and critical reflection to offer a rich picture of what it means to make good moral decisions.
As both Kantians and Aristotelians argue, moral judgements are ultimately grounded in the normativity of practical identities. Thus, it is by identifying the obligations tied to the multiple dimensions of our identities (e.g., friend, teacher, romantic partner, citizen) that we can ultimately understand how we ought to act. Yet, Aristotle and Kant also remind us that doing so requires the acquisition of moral virtues which allow us to better discern practical reasons in concrete situations.
Étienne Brown is assistant professor in the department of philosophy at San José State University, where he teaches digital ethics to the aspiring computer scientists of Silicon Valley. In addition to his writings on moral judgement, his work focuses on political philosophy and the philosophy of technology. He has lived and worked in Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Part I. The Neo-Aristotelian Critique of Kantian Judgement
Chapter 1. Moral Judgement in An Aristotelian Communitarian Perspective
Chapter 2. German Neo-Aristotelianism and the Normativity of Ethos
Chapter 3. A French Aristotelian Perspective on Deliberation
Part II. Three Perspectives on the Foundations of Moral Judgement
Chapter 4. Habermassian Discourse Ethics and the Grounds of Moral Judgement
Chapter 5. Kantian Constructivism and the Normativity of Practical Identities
Chapter 6. Contemporary Aristotelianism and the Normativity of Nature
Part III. Principles, Skills and Actions
Chapter 7. From Principles to Actions
Chapter 8. Kantian Virtues
(A Merleau-Pontian) Conclusion
In this concise and insightful book, Étienne Brown tells the contemporary story of an important historical debate. The author offers an impressive historical exploration of Kantian and Aristotelian understandings or moral judgement in different philosophical and cultural contexts, but his greatest merit lies in its relentless effort to find a philosophical truce between the two opposing camps.
This book carefully reconstructs an enduring and unresolved debate between moral theories rooted in the thought of Aristotle and Kant. This is neither a partisan intervention nor a simple synthesis. Instead, Brown uses historiography to build a novel conception of practical rationality nourished by two great philosophical traditions.
In this judicious and enormously helpful book, Étienne Brown has bridged the Continental-Analytic divide to present the first-ever account of the controversies between Aristotelians and Kantians that have shaped much of moral philosophy in Germany, France, and the Anglo-American world over the past 100 years. A must-read for philosophers.