Foundations for Moral Relativism: Second Expanded Edition

Foundations for Moral Relativism: Second Expanded Edition J. David Velleman
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78374-032-1 £14.95
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78374-033-8 £29.95
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The first edition of this book was viewed 3,585 times.

Velleman’s book is a very welcome addition to recent literature that reconsiders moral relativism as a viable moral view. The field of moral philosophy benefits from his willingness to stake out bold and engaging positions that neither conventional defenders of robust, universalist forms of moral realism or of moral relativism find comfortable. His choice of venue, Open Book Publishers, makes this work more accessible to a broader range of scholars and the interested public. His status in the discipline will hopefully influence others to consider a more accessible venue for their work.
David B. Wong, Mind (2016) 125 (497): 284-90

It comes as no surprise that David Velleman's brief but dense new book is original, provocative, erudite, and seductive. Drawing on a characteristically broad range of non-philosophical sources such as game studies, anthropology, and ethnomethodology he presents novel arguments in defense of moral relativism. [...] The exciting ideas it contains should nevertheless provide fresh impetus to metaethical debates about relativism. Velleman's admirable decision to publish the book for free online (as well as in paperback and hardback versions) will, I hope, further encourage anyone interested in the issues to study them.
Antti Kauppinen, Notre Dame Philosophical Review, 9 May 2015

There is much to praise in these thought provoking essays and they are highly recommended to anyone working on agency and metaethics. They are lucid, succint and full of novel insights about how best to understand agency and moral relativism.

Christos Kyriacou, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice(2015) 18: 209-214 (Review of First Edition)

In this new edition of Foundations for Moral Relativism a distinguished moral philosopher tames a bugbear of current debate about cultural difference. J. David Velleman shows that different communities can indeed be subject to incompatible moralities, because their local mores are rationally binding. At the same time, he explains why the mores of different communities, even when incompatible, are still variations on the same moral themes. The book thus maps out a universe of many moral worlds without, as Velleman puts it, "moral black holes”. The six self-standing chapters discuss such diverse topics as online avatars and virtual worlds, lying in Russian and truth-telling in Quechua, the pleasure of solitude and the fear of absurdity. Accessibly written, this book presupposes no prior training in philosophy.

Foundations for Moral Relativism: Second Expanded Edition

J. David Velleman | November 2015
xii + 144 | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781783740321
ISBN Hardback: 9781783740338
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781783740345
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781783740352
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781783740369
ISBN Digital (XML): 9781783746378
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0086
BIC subject codes: HPQ (Ethics and moral philosophy), HPS (Social and political philosophy), HR (Religion and beliefs); BISAC: PHI000000 (PHILOSOPHY / General), PHI005000 (PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy); OCLC Number: 993979402.


I. Introduction

II. Virtual Selves

III. Morality Here and There
      1. Kant Among the Sherpas
      2. Aristotle in Bali

IV. Doables

V. Foundations for Moral Relativism

VI. Sociality and Solitude

VII. Life Absurd? Don’t Be Ridiculous



J. David Velleman
is a professor of philosophy at New York University. He is the author of seven previous volumes, including Self to Self (Cambridge, 2006), How We Get Along (Cambridge, 2009) and Beyond Price: Essays on Birth and Death, published by OBP in 2015. He is a co-founder of the Open Access journal Philosophers' Imprint.