This collection of 15 essays illustrates how philosophy could apply to evaluating economics and encouraging policy debates. The writers, distinguished philosophers with interdisciplinary backgrounds, cover a wide range of topics, including: rationality and human values; economic desert; ethics and efficiency; choice, consent, and morality; the future and issues of equality and fairness; and policy, ethics, and economics. The book's concept is an interesting and thought-provoking approach to the integration of a variety of disciplines. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
Gerald Gaus shows how we can achieve a moral and political order that treats all as free and equal moral persons. The first part of this work analyses social morality as a system of authoritative moral rules. Drawing on an earlier generation of moral philosophers such as Kurt Baier and Peter Strawson as well as current work in the social sciences, Gaus argues that our social morality is an evolved social fact, which is the necessary foundation of a mutually beneficial social order. The second part considers how this system of social moral authority can be justified to all moral persons. Drawing on the tools of game theory, social choice theory, experimental psychology, and evolutionary theory, Gaus shows how a free society can secure a moral equilibrium that is endorsed by all, and how a just state respects, and develops, such an equilibrium.
In his provocative new book, The Tyranny of the Ideal, Gerald Gaus lays out a vision for how we should theorize about justice in a diverse society. Gaus shows how free and equal people, faced with intractable struggles and irreconcilable conflicts, might share a common moral life shaped by a just framework. He argues that if we are to take diversity seriously and if moral inquiry is sincere about shaping the world, then the pursuit of idealized and perfect theories of justice--essentially, the entire production of theories of justice that has dominated political philosophy for the past forty years--needs to change.Drawing on recent work in social science and philosophy, Gaus points to an important paradox: only those in a heterogeneous society--with its various religious, moral, and political perspectives--have a reasonable hope of understanding what an ideally just society would be like. However, due to its very nature, this world could never be collectively devoted to any single ideal. Gaus defends the moral constitution of this pluralistic, open society, where the very clash and disagreement of ideals spurs all to better understand what their personal ideals of justice happen to be.Presenting an original framework for how we should think about morality, The Tyranny of the Ideal rigorously analyzes a theory of ideal justice more suitable for contemporary times.
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