Heart and Mind: The Varieties of Moral Experience

Heart and Mind: The Varieties of Moral Experience

Heart and Mind: The Varieties of Moral Experience

Heart and Mind: The Varieties of Moral Experience

Synopsis

Throughout our lives we are making moral choices. Some decisions simply direct our everyday comings and goings; others affect our individual destinies. How do we make those choices? Where does our sense of right and wrong come from, and how can we make more informed decisions? In clear, entertaining prose Mary Midgley takes us to the heart of the matter: the human experience that is central to all decision-making.

Excerpt

These essays all centre on a single point-the unity of that very complex creature, a human being, and the need to respect that unity in our view of morals. This is not a remote, theoretical matter, but one that presses on all of us. The way in which we think of ourselves-the picture we form of our essential nature-directly affects the way we live. But academic specialization continually fragments that picture. It has to be somebody's professional business to put the pieces together again. And this is, in fact, the job of moral philosophy.

Though it is a philosophical job, however, it is one that has to be done so far as possible in everyday speech. Any technical terminology is downright dangerous here, inviting us to be clever at the expense of being realistic. Dealing with practical choice, we must write, not as shadowy desk-persons, but as the people that we actually are most of the time. The sub-title of this book therefore invokes the blessing of William James, whose Varieties of Religious Experience is a splendid example of this vernacular, unsheltered thinking.

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