Moral Anxiety and Moral Agency

Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics 5:171-195 (2015)
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Abstract

A familiar feature of moral life is the distinctive anxiety that we feel in the face of a moral dilemma or moral conflict. Situations like these require us to take stands on controversial issues. But because we are unsure that we will make the correct decision, anxiety ensues. Despite the pervasiveness of this phenomenon, surprisingly little work has been done either to characterize this “ moral anxiety” or to explain the role that it plays in our moral lives. This paper aims to address this deficiency by developing an empirically informed account of what moral anxiety is and what it does.

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Charlie Kurth
Western Michigan University

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