De-moralization as emancipation: Liberty, progress, and the evolution of invalid moral norms


Journal Article

© 2017 Social Philosophy & Policy Foundation. Printed in the USA. Liberal thinkers of the Enlightenment understood that surplus moral constraints, imposed by invalid moral norms, are a serious limitation on liberty. They also recognized that overcoming surplus moral constraints - what we call proper demoralization - is an important dimension of moral progress. Contemporary philosophical theorists of liberty have largely neglected the threat that surplus moral constraints pose to liberty and the importance of proper de-moralization for human emancipation. This essay examines the phenomena of surplus moral constraints and proper de-moralization, utilizing insights from biological and cultural evolutionary thinking.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Buchanan, A; Powell, R

Published Date

  • January 1, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 34 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 108 - 135

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1471-6437

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0265-0525

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/S0265052517000231

Citation Source

  • Scopus