"Anxious Morality"
Jesse S. Summers (Duke University, Duke University)

March 16, 2021, 1:00pm - 2:00pm

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Figuring out the morally best thing to do can be hard. It’s hard to know what charity to donate to or whether a particular career is acceptable. But the little things are also hard: whether to make a joke, like a post, recommend a movie, when to talk, and when to be quiet. Life can seem fraught with moral pitfalls, and the more you think about the moral implications of each and every one of your actions, the harder it is to see how to do or enjoy much of anything without guilt. Is it the plight of the morally serious, therefore, to be anxious all the time about doing the wrong thing? To answer, I will examine what it means to be anxious about one’s moral obligations and consider how moral anxiety is different from moral contemplation and deliberation more generally. I’ll then directly address one part of my original question: is it ok to enjoy life when there are so many moral demands on us? The answer will be yes, but with an important qualification.

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March 16, 2021, 1:00am EST

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