Moral Grandstanding

Philosophy and Public Affairs 44 (3):197-217 (2016)
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Moral grandstanding is a pervasive feature of public discourse. Many of us can likely recognize that we have engaged in grandstanding at one time or another. While there is nothing new about the phenomenon of grandstanding, we think that it has not received the philosophical attention it deserves. In this essay, we provide an account of moral grandstanding as the use of public discourse for moral self-promotion. We then show that our account, with support from some standard theses of social psychology, explains the characteristic ways that grandstanding is manifested in public moral discourse. We conclude by arguing that there are good reasons to think that moral grandstanding is typically morally bad and should be avoided.

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Author Profiles

Brandon Warmke
Bowling Green State University
Justin Tosi
Texas Tech University

Citations of this work

Virtue signalling is virtuous.Neil Levy - 2020 - Synthese 198 (10):9545-9562.
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Moral outrage porn.C. Thi Nguyen & Bekka Williams - 2020 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 18 (2):147-72.
Enforcing social norms: The morality of public shaming.Paul Billingham & Tom Parr - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 28 (4):997-1016.

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References found in this work

On bullshit.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1986 - Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
The moral point of view.Kurt Baier - 1958 - Ithaca,: Cornell University Press.
The law of group polarization.Cass R. Sunstein - 2002 - Journal of Political Philosophy 10 (2):175–195.
The Nicomachean Ethics.Lesley Brown (ed.) - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
Second-hand moral knowledge.Karen Jones - 1999 - Journal of Philosophy 96 (2):55-78.

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