Morality without Foundations: A Defense of Ethical Contextualism by Mark TimmonsMorality without Foundations: A Defense of Ethical Contextualism by Mark Timmons

Morality without Foundations: A Defense of Ethical Contextualism

byMark Timmons

Paperback | April 4, 2005

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Morality Without Foundations investigates fundamental metaethical questions about the meaning, truth, and justification of moral thought and discourse. Mark Timmons maintains that all versions of descriptivism in ethics, particularly certain accounts of moral realism, fail. He argues insteadthat a correct metaethical theory should embrace some version of non-descriptivism. Timmons defends what he calls "assertoric non-descriptivism" which, unlike traditional non-descriptivist views, holds that moral sentences are typically used to make genuine assertions. In defending this view, heexploits contextual semantics, providing him with the semantic flexibility to develop an irrealist account of moral discourse. Timmons goes on to support a contextualist moral epistemology, completing his overall version of contextualism in ethics. Like his foundationalist rivals, Timmons recognizes that there are moral beliefs that are epistemically basic in providing a basis for the justification of non-basic moralbeliefs. Yet, he agrees with the coherentist in maintaining that there are no intrinsically justified beliefs that can serve as a single foundation for a system of moral knowledge. Timmons ultimately finds that regresses of justification of moral belief end with contextually basic beliefs--moralbeliefs which, in the relevant context, are responsibly held, but in other contexts might not be suitable as regress stoppers. Timmons' novel defense of morality without foundations offers provocative reading for philosophers working in the areas of ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics. Yet, written with the student in mind, his lucid presentation of difficult ideas makes this book accessible to students and newcomers tothe field of metaethics.
Mark Timmons is at University of Memphis.
Title:Morality without Foundations: A Defense of Ethical ContextualismFormat:PaperbackDimensions:280 pages, 6.1 × 9.21 × 0.71 inPublished:April 4, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195176545

ISBN - 13:9780195176544

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Editorial Reviews

"Timmons' study makes easily available some of the most telling objections to moral realism and presents the most fully developed version of moral contextualism to date. This is a significant contribution to the field." --Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Dartmouth College