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The Moral Fool


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction: Is It Good to Be Good? Part 1. On Amorality 1. The Moral Fool 2. Negative Ethics Part 2. A Pathology of Ethics 3. The Redundancy of Ethics 4. The "Morality of Anger" 5. Ethics and Aesthetics 6. The Presumptions of Philosophical Ethics 7. The Myth of Moral Progress Part 3. Ethics in Contemporary Society 8. For the Separation of Morality and Law 9. Morality and Civil Rights 10. How to Get a Death Verdict 11. Masters of War 12. Ethics and the Mass Media Conclusion: Applied Amorality Notes Index

Promotional Information

The Moral Fool fully and easily engages the philosophical issues that are present in contemporary life. Hans-Georg Moeller moves naturally from more theoretical discussions to the analysis of concrete social phenomena. His facility with applying philosophical discussions is what makes his book important, relevant, and engaging, not to mention provocative, remarkably clear, and even funny. In fact, this book is the best attempt I have read to bring Chinese philosophy into contemporary philosophical discussion. -- Franklin Perkins, DePaul University

About the Author

Hans-Georg Moeller is senior lecturer in the Philosophy Department at University College Cork, Ireland. His publications on Daoism and social systems theory include Choice Outstanding Academic Title The Philosophy of the Daodejing as well as a translation of the Daodejing, Daoism Explained: From the Dream of the Butterfly to the Fishnet Allegory, and Luhmann Explained: From Souls to Systems.


This engaging and often difficult study is a well-conceived critique of ethical and moral thinking from an amoral perspective or standpoint. Moeller (philosophy, Univ. College Cork, Ireland) argues that a case for amorality can occasionally be found in prior philosophical writing, but that it is found more pertinently in Chinese Daoist and Zen Buddhist writing. The thinking there is that we cannot ultimately know if ethical or moral statements are correct or incorrect in an absolute sense. For this, Moeller writes, is the position of the "moral fool," who thinks philosophically in terms of ontology, or being, or existence: he thinks that there can be no philosophical answers to the correctness of ethical or moral statements since they cannot be shown to exist or to be answered philosophically. Throughout this study Moeller considers controversial ethical and moral problems from his amoral perspective: civil rights, abortion, religious and just wars, capital punishment, ethnic cleansing, segregation, sexual orientation, political purges, and more. Verdict The author's amoral slant on these subjects is difficult to contest; this is a landmark study that anyone who champions ethics and morality must confront. Very highly recommended.-Leon H. Brody, Falls Church, VA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Moeller shows just how germane and engaging public philosophy can be. Booklist (starred review) This is a landmark study that anyone who champions ethics and morality must confront. Very highly recommended Library Journal (starred review) Highly recommended. Choice Succint and savory, The Moral Fool poses a number of interesting and complex questions... By proceeding from a highly original blend of insightful Asian and Western perspetives, it is an engaging piece of work that should serve to initiate and stimulate fruitful discussion on what morality is supposed to do for us in our modern world. Philosophy East and West

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