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On Moralism

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The term ‘moralism’ is often used to pick out a set of vices in judgment, such as hypocrisy, officiousness, arrogance, presumption, and sanctimony. I relate these vices to notions of standing and office and the roles they play in proper moral judgment. Behind these notions, I suggest, lie broad moral injunctions to think generously of our fellows and sternly of ourselves. These injunctions are manifested in both serious discourse and popular opinion. Finally, I explore the possibility that the distinction I urge between moralism (the counterfeit) and morality (the genuine) can't ultimately be sustained, and conclude that the distinction stands.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2005-08-01

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