This widely anticipated volume offers a systematic introduction to
and striking analysis of the central issues animating current
debate in moral philosophy. It will be of interest to anyone with a
serious interest in the philosophical foundations of ethics.Topics
discussed include: realist vs anti-realist accounts of moral truth,
cognitivist vs expressivist accounts of moral judgement:
internalist vs externalist accounts of the relation between moral
judgement and the will: Humean vs anti-Humean theories of
motivation: and the debate between those who think that morality is
a system of hypothetical imperatives and those who think that moral
requirements are categorical.In 2000, The Moral Problem received
The American Philosophical Association's first APA Book Prize
for excellence in scholarship.
"Vigorous, engaging, and marvelously sophisticated, Michael Smith's The Moral Problem faces head-on the challenge of reconciling morality's motivational relevance with its claims to objectivity and categorical force - without abandoning a Humean account of human action and without metaphysical extravagance." Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, University of North Carolina "Extraordinarily clear and well organised. Reading this book takes you right into the centre of the intense contemporary debate on moral theory. Smith knows exactly what he is doing, and slowly puts together a redoubtable argument for the broadly realist position he favours." Jonathan Dancy, University of Reading "An intelligent, clear, and engaging book" Times Literary Supplement "An outstanding and ambitious work, it serves at once as a lucid introduction to metaethics and a wide-ranging inquiry into some of its hardest problems." Brad Hooker, University of Reading "A marvelous volume: it is not only an important contribution to philosophical ethics, but also an exciting introduction to the subject. The book is an excellent model of how to do philosophy, a model I hope students (and their teachers) will adopt for themselves." Gilbert Harman, Princeton University
Michael Smith is Reader in Philosophy at Monash University, Australia, having taught previously at the University of Oxford and Princeton University. He is the author of several essays in ethics and moral philosophy.
1. What is the Moral Problem? 2. The Expressivist Challenge. 3. The Externalist Challenge. 4. The Humean Theory of Motivation. 5. An Anti-Humean Theory of Normative Reasons. 6. How to Solve the Moral Problem.