Moral Failure: On the Impossible Demands of Morality by Lisa TessmanMoral Failure: On the Impossible Demands of Morality by Lisa Tessman

Moral Failure: On the Impossible Demands of Morality

byLisa Tessman

Paperback | October 15, 2016

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Moral Failure: On the Impossible Demands of Morality asks what happens when the sense that "I must" collides with the realization that "I can't." Bringing together philosophical and empirical work in moral psychology, Lisa Tessman here examines moral requirements that are non-negotiable andthat contravene the principle that "ought implies can." In some cases, it is because two non-negotiable requirements conflict that one of them becomes impossible to satisfy, and yet remains binding. In other cases, performing a particular action may be non-negotiably required - even if it isimpossible - because not performing the action is unthinkable. After offering both conceptual and empirical explanations of the experience of impossible moral requirements and the ensuing failures to fulfill them, Tessman considers what to make of such experience, and in particular, what role such experience has in the construction of value and of moralauthority. According to the constructivist account that the book proposes, some moral requirements can be authoritative even when they are impossible to fulfill. Tessman points out a tendency to not acknowledge the difficulties that impossible moral requirements and unavoidable moral failures create in morallife, and traces this tendency through several different literatures, from scholarship on Holocaust testimony to discussions of ideal and nonideal theory, from theories of supererogation to debates about moral demandingness and to feminist care ethics.
Lisa Tessman is Professor of Philosophy at Binghamton University. Her previous publications have been in ethics, feminist philosophy, and related areas. Her more recent work integrates philosophical ethics with empirical moral psychology. She is the author of Burdened Virtues: Virtue Ethics for Liberatory Struggles.
Title:Moral Failure: On the Impossible Demands of MoralityFormat:PaperbackDimensions:296 pages, 9.25 × 6.14 × 0.03 inPublished:October 15, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190650915

ISBN - 13:9780190650919

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Editorial Reviews

"Moral Failure is an intricate book that makes use of many more complicated and interconnected arguments than can be covered in much detail here, but Tessman expertly navigates the relevant prominent debates and carefully assembles the component pieces of her overall argument by drawing upon awide range of philosophical and empirical resources." --Metapsychology Online Reviews