Review Of "Fellow-Feeling And The Moral Life" By J. D. Filonowicz

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Filonowicz (Long Island Univ.) offers an excellent, vigorous defense of moral sentimentalism--once styled "moral sense theories"--roughly, that having a certain range of emotions, feelings, or sentiments is what taking something as good or right amounts to. Further, actions are good/bad or right/wrong not because of moral properties, but because they possess ordinary properties that tend to elicit certain pro/con emotions in nearly all human beings. This view has a long and distinguished philosophical history. Filonowicz takes readers through a large chunk of it, focusing on Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, and C. D. Broad, and highlighting a few central themes and difficulties. He addresses three puzzles open-mindedly and cautiously: Why should only benevolence evoke moral sentiments? Why is morality more a matter of affective rather than cognitive response? In what sense is one's moral sense innate? Filonowicz has thoughtful things to say to each, but he may draw too sharp a distinction between rationalists and sentimentalists. As the argument is set up, one is forced to choose, and the author does stack the deck against the rationalists. A useful antidote is Joseph Raz's Engaging Reason (1999), which does not so much bridge the chasm as bypass it. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level philosophy undergraduates and above.


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