A Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the Curtain

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Routledge, May 26, 2016 - Philosophy - 344 pages

In the first edition of A Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the Curtain – Nine Conversations, philosopher Tamler Sommers talked with an interdisciplinary group of the world’s leading researchers—from the fields of social psychology, moral philosophy, cognitive science, and primatology—all working on the same issue: the origins and workings of morality. Together, these nine interviews pulled back some of the curtain, not only on our moral lives but—through Sommers’ probing, entertaining, and well informed questions—on the way morality traditionally has been studied.

This Second Edition increases the subject matter, adding eight additional interviews and offering features that will make A Very Bad Wizard more useful in undergraduate classrooms. These features include structuring all chapters around sections and themes familiar in a course in ethics or moral psychology; providing follow-up podcasts for some of the interviews, which will delve into certain issues from the conversations in a more informal manner; including an expanded and annotated reading list with relevant primary sources at the end of each interview; presenting instructor and student resources online in a companion website.

The resulting new publication promises to synthesize and make accessible the latest interdisciplinary research to offer a brand new way to teach philosophical ethics and moral psychology.


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Researchers Interviewed
Preface to the Second Edition
The Power of the Situation
Virtue Honor Meaning and
Meaning and Objectivity
Navigating Our Moral Worlds
Codes of Honor
Honor and Moral Progress
Morality Behind the Curtain Introduction
Lessons from Our Primate Relatives
Comfortably Dumbfounded
Reason Restored
Relative Justice
The Morality of Violence
I Walk the Line
Trolley Problems

The Status of Morality
The Illusion of Objectivity in Ethics
A Gadfly for the Greater Good
Beyond the Knave

Other editions - View all

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About the author (2016)

Tamler Sommers is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Houston. His research focuses on moral responsibility, revenge, honor, and the philosophy of punishment. He is the author of Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will and Moral Responsibility (2012) and co-host of the Very Bad Wizards podcast. He is currently writing a book in defense of honor.

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