Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke, Grandstanding: The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk, Oxford University Press, 2020, 226pp., $19.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780190900151.
Reviewed by Evan Westra, York University
Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke’s book aims to explain why contemporary public moral discourse feels so undeniably antagonistic, polarized, and cruel. Drawing on a wide range of evidence from philosophy, psychology, and political science, the authors argue that this unsavory state of affairs stems in part from the pervasive abuse of moral speech in the pursuit of social status, or moral grandstanding. The book is engagingly written, extensively researched, and it offers a clear philosophical analysis of a social phenomenon that we often encounter in our everyday lives. While I feel the pull of the overall thesis, I am not yet convinced that grandstanding is really a significant cause of the problems the book sets out to diagnose. I also worry that focusing…
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