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Book Cover
Author Greenspan, Patricia S., 1944-

Title Practical guilt : moral dilemmas, emotions, and social norms / P.S. Greenspan
Published New York : Oxford University Press, 1995
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource (xii, 246 pages)
Contents 1. Defusing Dilemmas -- 2. Practical Oughts and Prohibitions -- 3. Motivational Foundations of Conflict -- 4. Moral Residues -- 5. Unavoidable Guilt -- 6. Basing Ethics on Emotion
Summary "In this original contribution to the study of morality, P.S. Greenspan uses the treatment of moral dilemmas as the basis for an alternative view of the structure of ethics and its relation to human psychology. Greenspan argues that moral dilemmas may be regarded as possible consequences of a set of social rules designed to be simple enough to be teachable. Where these rules prohibit action either way, the problematic motivational force of dilemmas can be explained by reference to the role of emotion as a substitute for action." "Guilt is seen as a natural but contested candidate for the sort of emotional sanction for wrongdoing that might supply motivational force in dilemmas. It functions as a way of preserving virtue against moral luck. Greenspan defends guilt in the face of dilemmas on the basis of a "non-judgmentalist" account of emotions that accepts guilt as appropriate even in some cases of unavoidable wrongdoing." "In its treatment of the role of emotion in ethics, the argument of the book outlines a new way of packing motivational force into moral meaning that allows for a socially based version of moral realism. Since, on the proposed account, emotions underpin the teaching of moral language, human emotional capacities impose constraints on the nature of a viable moral code and thus affect the content of morality. Book jacket."--Jacket
Analysis Philosophy
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 235-242) and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Emotions (Philosophy)
Social norms.
Form Electronic book
LC no. 93040067
ISBN 019509090X (Paper)
1423764994 (electronic bk.)
9780195090901 (Paper)
9781423764991 (electronic bk.)
(acid-free paper)
(acid-free paper)