A Companion to Moral Anthropology by Didier Fassin

By Didier Fassin

A spouse to ethical Anthropology is the 1st collective attention of the anthropological dimensions of morals, morality, and ethics. unique essays by way of foreign specialists discover a few of the currents, techniques, and concerns during this very important new self-discipline, reading themes resembling the ethnography of moralities, the examine of ethical subjectivities, and the exploration of ethical economies.

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A major interrogation for moral philosophers has long concerned the precedence of emotion or reason in the production of moral action: are we moved by pure compassion or do we decide after an internal deliberation? While the theory of moral sentiments provides one answer, highlighting the importance of empathy in the engendering of a moral sense, the concept of moral reasoning suggests an alternative, with the deployment of debates and contradictions. It is noteworthy that anthropologists have shifted this discussion on emotion and reason, which is typical of modern philosophy, to so-called traditional societies.

Glencoe, IL: Free Press, pp. 49–112. Weber, Max (2008 [1919]) Politics as a Vocation. In Max Weber’s Complete Writing on Academic and Political Vocations. New York: Algora, pp. 155–207. Westermarck, Edward (1917) The Origins and Development of the Moral Ideas. New York: Macmillan. Widlok, Thomas (2004) Sharing by Default? Outline of an Anthropology of Virtue. Anthropological Theory 4(1): 53–70. Zigon, Jarrett (2007) Moral Breakdown and the Ethical Demand: A Theoretical Framework to an Anthropology of Moralities.

The “true nature of society,” as Durkheim (2004: 95; English edn. 1974: 65) put it in his response to Darlu, can very well inhere in revolt against whatever rules are currently in effect – a certain state of the rules – if those rules are no longer linked to the particular ideal in accordance with which society wishes to be. In such a case, revolt, not conformity, is moral. This is due to a necessity that can be understood only at the level of action, as action is the real mode by which society produces itself.

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