Morality, the Common Interest and the Common Good

  • Les Brown


The central concern of this book is the problem of whether conservation may be regarded as a practical moral activity, but like morality and education (as well as many other activities in which we engage in relation with others, such as politics, business administration, law and so forth) there is always a body of theory to enlarge our understanding of practice and in some ways to guide it. We therefore begin by asking in the widest sense what morality means, and what its purpose is. In this undertaking we shall be setting certain boundaries of moral activity. The need to do this may not be immediately obvious, but will be made so as soon as the understanding of morality is applied to a specific problem such as conservation where vaguenesses and misunderstandings are not uncommon. To use the customary language of moral philosophy, our approach will be both normative and meta-ethical: that is, we shall propose a coherent moral outlook as a system of ideas, beliefs or judgements to use as a standard in subsequent discussions; and we shall enquire into the nature of our thinking as we make our moral judgements, decisions or conclusions prior to moral action. The meta-ethical explanation we make is independent of the normative position we take on morality, but by throwing light on mental states and processes during and preceding our practical judgements on what we ought (morally) to do, we have an opportunity to increase self-understanding and thereby facilitate moral relationships with others.


Moral Agent Common Interest Common Good Individual Interest Moral Duty 
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Copyright information

© Leslie Melville Brown 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Les Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.University of New South WalesAustralia

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