Skepticism and Moral Theory in Contemporary Philosophy
Contribution to Book
Skepticism and Moral Principles: Modern Ethics in Review
Skepticism is the one problem above all others which has commanded the attention of moral philosophers in our century. Sometimes the problem is taken up explicitly, in full but uneasy consciousness; at others times it is treated indirectly, as in the troubled reflections from which emerge such questions as "Can moral principles be proved?" or "Is there a single 'right' point of view for confronting moral questions?" or "Why should I be moral at all?" In either case, skepticism as a moral view has never lacked vehement advocates or equally passionate and numerous opponents. Whereas earlier moral philosophers-such as nineteenth-century Idealists, whose views still influence thought in the twentieth century-proceeded on the assumption that moral values could be definitively established, contemporary British and American ethical theorists have tended to challenge that basic assumption. It may therefore, come as a surprise to many to find that the essays of this volume have been written in opposition to the generally dominant trend of twentieth -century skepticism.