Bringing abstract moral theory to bear on the diversity of cultures and outlooks fundamental to today’s world.
Moral diversity is a fundamental reality of today’s world, but moral theorists have difficulty responding to it. Some take it as evidence for skepticism - the view that there are no moral truths. Others, associating moral reasoning with the search for overarching principles and unifying values, see it as the result of error. In the former case, moral reasoning is useless, since values express individual preferences; in the latter, our reasoning process is dramatically at odds with our lived experience.
Moral Reasoning in a Pluralistic World takes a different approach, proposing an alternative way of thinking about moral reasoning and progress by showing how diversity and disagreement are compatible with theorizing and justification. Patricia Marino demonstrates that, instead of being evidence for skepticism and error, moral disagreements often arise because we value things pluralistically. This means that although people share multiple values such as fairness, honesty, loyalty, and benevolence, we interpret and prioritize those values in various ways. Given this pluralistic evaluation process, preferences for unified single-principle theories are not justified. Focusing on finding moral compromises, prioritizing conflicting values, and judging consistently from one case to another, Marino elaborates her ideas in terms of real-life dilemmas, arguing that the moral complexity and conflict we so often encounter can be part of fruitful and logical moral reflection.
Aiming to draw new connections and bridge the gap between theoretical ethics and applied ethics, Moral Reasoning in a Pluralistic World offers a sophisticated set of philosophical arguments on moral reasoning and pluralism with real world applications.