Nineteenth Century Philosophy


What is moral theory?

Moral theory is the intellectual assessment and comparison of different moral or ethical systems. For instance, if we compare consequentialism and deontology, then we are working within moral theory. To some extent, anyone who argues for their own moral system does some amount of moral theory. For example, Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832) in his dismissal of human rights as “nonsense upon stilts,” wanted to replace discourse about rights with calculations about pleasure, and Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) in distinguishing between hypothetical and categorical judgments and elevating the latter, were both engaged in moral theory.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Philosophy Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App