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Knowing what is the right thing to do is one thing. Bringing yourself to do it is often quite another. This book is addressed to those who ask, 'Why should I be moral?'. It explores strategies and tactics for evoking moral responses from people, especially in political contexts where so much is at stake. A central theme is how rarely we need for people to act upon unabashedly moral motives. For most purposes cold calculations of self-interest, in some suitably extended sense, are all that is really needed to induce people to behave as morality would require. Reciprocity - the threat that others will do as they are done by - will often suffice to make people behave fairly. Uncertainty - the prospect of soon finding yourself in the position of the other - is often enough to induce people to weigh impartially the interests of all. However, there inevitably remains a subset of frightfully vulnerable people whom others have no self-interested reasons not to exploit. To secure decent treatment for them, we must appeal directly and exclusively to people's sense of morality.
Robert Goodin explores these themes through the imaginative use of anecdotes and examples in a way that will make this book a treasury of political wisdom for academics, policymakers and citizens alike.
Robert E. Goodin taught government at the University of Essex for eleven years before becoming Professorial Fellow in Philosophy at the Australian National Universitya s Research School of Social Sciences. Sometime co--editor of the British Journal of Political Science, Goodin has for the past decade served as Associate Editor of the journal Ethics. He is author of, most recently, Reasons for Welfare and No Smoking and, together with Philip Pettit, is editing the Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy.