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The Birth of Ethics – Reconstructing the Role and Nature of Morality - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Birth of Ethics: Reconstructing the Role and Nature of Morality

Philip Pettit and Kinch Hoekstra


The Birth of Ethics begins from a counterfactual world, Erewhon, where the residents are like us in various respects, including the use of natural language, but lack any sense of ethics or morality. The claim is that the inhabitants of that society would more or less inevitably develop certain practices and concepts, and that this development would effectively make them into moral creatures: agents versed in concepts like those of good and bad, right and wrong, and ready to apply them in assessing and regulating their own behavior and that of others. Anxious to establish their reputations with ... More

Keywords: Ethics, morality, conjectural history, commitment, avowals, pledges, desirability, responsibility, personhood

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780190904913
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190904913.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Philip Pettit, author
L.S. Rockefeller University Professor of Human Values and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University and Australian National University

Kinch Hoekstra, editor
Chancellor's Professor of Political Science and Law, University of California, Berkeley

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