Moralities of Everyday Life

Review of Metaphysics 38 (3):686-688 (1985)

Abstract

Philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, Mill, and even Russell have had much to say about love, friendship, honesty, and integrity, all of which are of daily relevance to the good and virtuous life. By contrast, today's practical moralists seem to be almost exclusively preoccupied with questions of social policy. Moralities of Everyday Life is a welcome exception. Most people do not have abortions, execute criminals, or perform recombinant DNA research; they do gossip, procrastinate, get angry, and feel envy. It is these everyday foibles, as well as familiar human activities such as flirtation, moral reproach, and character evaluation that Sabini and Silver try to understand. Their method is to combine some of the discoveries of contemporary social psychology with ordinary language analysis techniques of contemporary philosophy. In their words: "We agree with Austin that the proper starting point of analysis is ordinary language and that ordinary language is likely to provide the- important distinctions that are necessary to understand the social life."

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