Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pg. 99: C.A.J. Coady's "Messy Morality"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Messy Morality: The Challenge of Politics by C.A.J. Coady.

About the book, from the publisher:
Tony Coady explores the challenges that morality poses to politics. He confronts the complex intellectual tradition known as realism, which seems to deny any relevance of morality to politics, especially international politics. He argues that, although realism has many serious faults, it has lessons to teach us: in particular, it cautions us against the dangers of moralism in thinking about politics and particularly foreign affairs. Morality must not be confused with moralism: Coady characterizes various forms of moralism and sketches their distorting influence on a realistic political morality. He seeks to restore the concept of ideals to an important place in philosophical discussion, and to give it a particular pertinence in the discussion of politics. He deals with the fashionable idea of "dirty hands," according to which good politics will necessarily involve some degree of moral taint or corruption. Finally, he examines the controversial issue of the role of lying and deception in politics.

Along the way Coady offers illuminating discussion of historical and current political controversies. This lucid book will provoke and stimulate anyone interested in the interface of morality and politics.
Read more about Messy Morality at the Oxford University Press website.

C. A. J. (Tony) Coady is one of Australia's best-known philosophers. He has an international reputation for his research in both epistemology and political and applied philosophy. His recent publications include Morality and Political Violence (Cambridge, 2007).

Learn more about Tony Coady at his webpage at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics.

The Page 99 Test: Messy Morality.

--Marshal Zeringue