Rational Choice and Moral Agency

ISBN 10: 0691029180 / ISBN 13: 9780691029184
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Is it rational to be moral? How do rationality and morality fit together with being human? These questions are at the heart of David Schmidtz's exploration of the connections between rationality and morality. This inquiry leads into both metaethics and rational choice theory, as Schmidtz develops conceptions of what it is to be moral and what it is to be rational. He defends a fairly expansive conception of rational choice, considering how ends as well as means can be rationally chosen and explaining the role of self-imposed constraints in a rational life plan. His moral theory is dualistic, ranging over social structure as well as personal conduct and building both individual and collective rationality into its rules of recognition for morals.


To the "why be moral" question, Schmidtz responds that being moral is rational, but he does not assume we have reasons to be rational. Instead, Schmidtz argues that being moral is rational in a particular way and that beings like us in situations like ours have reasons to be rational in just that way. This approach allows him to identify decisive reasons to be moral; at the same time, it explains why immorality is as prevalent as it is. This book thus offers a set of interesting and realistic conclusions about how morality fits into the lives of humanly rational agents operating in an institutional context like our own.


Review: "An exceptionally clear, well-argued, and blessedly jargon-free book to answer the question `Why be moral?'. . . This book . . . far richer than can be detailed here, should be read by anyone interested in contemporary ethics and/or rational choice theory. Highly recommended."--Choice

"A compelling, commonsensical look at a difficult issue. . . . The book is clearly written. . . . It avoids obscurity and technical terminology so as to render it intelligible even to those unfamiliar with the issues."--Canadian Philosophical Review

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Title: Rational Choice and Moral Agency
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Book Description 1883. Soft cover. Book Condition: As New. David Schmidtz. Rational Choice and Moral Agency. Princeton UP 1993. 283-page paperback in as new condition. Shipping $8.00 US, $40.00 international. Bookseller Inventory # ABE-1501934250312

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Book Description Princeton Univ Pr, Ewing, New Jersey, U.S.A., 1997. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: No Dj. 8vo pp. 283, "Is it rational to be moral? How do rationality and morality fit together with being human? These questions are at the heart of David Schmidtz's exploration of the connections between rationality and morality. This inquiry leads into both metaethics and rational choice theory, as Schmidtz develops conceptions of what it is to be. book. Bookseller Inventory # 139331

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Book Description Princeton University Press, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. Great condition with minimal wear, aging, or shelf wear. Bookseller Inventory # P020691029180

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