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Moral Perception and Particularity

Most contemporary moral philosophy is concerned with issues of rationality, universality, impartiality, and principle. By contrast Laurence Blum is concerned with the psychology of moral agency. The essays in this collection examine the moral import of emotion, motivation, judgment, perception, and group identifications, and explore how all these psychic capacities contribute to a morally good life. Blum takes up the challenge of Iris Murdoch to articulate a vision of moral excellence that provides a worthy aspiration for human beings. Drawing on accounts of non-Jewish rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust Blum argues that impartial principle can mislead us about the variety of forms of moral excellence.
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Table of Contents

Part I. Particularity: 1. Introduction; 2. Iris Murdoch and the domain of the moral; 3. Moral perception and particularity; Part II. Moral Excellence: 4. Moral exemplars: reflections on Scindler, the Trocmes, and others; 5. Vocation, friendship, community: limitations of the personal/impersonal framework; 6. Altruism and the moral value of rescue: Resisting persecution, racism, and genocide; 7. Virtue and community; Part III. The Morality of Care: 8. Compassion; 9. Moral development and conceptions of morality; 10. Gilligan and Kohlberg: implications for moral theory; 11. Gilligan's two voices and the moral status of group identity.


"His [Blum's] examples are illuminating, and he gives a useful step-by-step summary of how a person moves from moral perception to action based on principle." Ethics "This is a complex book, and it raises important challenges to traditional moral theories... all moral theorists, regardless of their preferences, will benefit from this work." Philosophical Books "If there are any doubts that the writings of Iris Murdoch have spawned creative work in moral philosophy, Lawrence Blum's recent collection of essays should put them to rest...Blum's collection has much to commend it." The Journal of Religion

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