Tolstoy's Implicit Moral Theory: An Interpretation and Appraisal

Russian Literature (forthcoming)
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I sketch an interpretation of Tolstoy’s implicit moral theory on the basis of his masterpieces War and Peace and Anna Karenina. I suggest that Tolstoy is a theistic moral realist who believes that God’s will identifies the mind-independent truths of morality. He also thinks that, roughly, it suffices to heed natural moral emotions (like love and compassion) to know the right thing to do, that is, God’s will. In appraisal of Tolstoy’s interesting and original theory that I dub ‘theistic populist sentimentalism’, I argue that it prima facie runs into a string of fallacies and undertakes dubious assumptions that render it open to question.
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Archival date: 2016-12-08
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