Hypocrisy is Vicious, Value-Expressing Inconsistency

The Journal of Ethics 25 (1):57-80 (2020)
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Hypocrisy is a ubiquitous feature of moral and political life, and accusations of hypocrisy a ubiquitous feature of moral and political discourse. Yet it has been curiously under-theorized in analytic philosophy. Fortunately, the last decade has seen a boomlet of articles that address hypocrisy in order to explain and justify conditions on the so-called “standing” to blame (Wallace 2010; Friedman 2013; Bell 2013; Todd 2017; Herstein 2017; Roadevin 2018; Fritz and Miller 2018). Nevertheless, much of this more recent literature does not adequately address the question, “what is hypocrisy?” In this paper, I develop and defend an account of hypocrisy as vicious, value-expressing inconsistency. I show how this account solves some traditional and some novel philosophical puzzles concerning hypocrisy and affords a deeper understanding of the features of hypocrisy emphasized by other prominent accounts.

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Benjamin Rossi
Duke University


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