Review Of "Value And Justification: The Foundations Of Liberal Theory" By G. F. Gaus

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Gaus argues that the foundations of moral and political theory must heed psychological studies of emotions, attitudes, and values. He develops an affective-cognitive account of valuings as dispositional emotions. Because emotions are about something and can, therefore, be appropriate or inappropriate, value judgments can be true or false nonrelatively. Further, as value judgments are impersonal and thus no respecters of persons, Gaus can use his account to ground moral justification and to develop a liberal, contractarian, political theory. The rational valuational self, he argues, will grasp that moral commitment is the basis of its character. Gaus's careful, rigorous, and integrative study refers to and uses to good purpose the work of nearly every major contemporary moral philosopher and political theorist. Its primary appeal will be to other professionals and their graduate students, but gifted undergraduates should also find the book well worth reading. Certainly Gaus addresses difficult and important issues clearly, rigorously, fairly, and imaginatively. Highly recommended for all college and university libraries.


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