• 424 pages
  • 6 x 9
  • 6 figs.

Beyond Morality

Richard Garner

"Morality and religion have failed because they are based on duplicity and fantasy. We need something new...." With this startling statement, Richard Garner begins to define a system of behavior that will nurture our capabilities for love and language, for creation and cooperation.

The satisfying personal and social strategy for living Garner proposes is "informed, compassionate amoralism." To do without morality, he argues, is to reject the idea that there are intrinsic values, objective duties, and natural rights. Leaving illusions behind us and learning to listen to others and to ourselves may be what we need to lead us out of the darkness.

Garner builds his case on a survey of moral definitions and arguments from ancient Greece forward. Beyond Morality revisits the tenets of Christianity and Eastern religious, providing readers with a meaningful overview of the history of moral thought.

Quotations illuminate and illustrate the text, adding to the value of Beyond Morality as a textbook for ethics courses.


"Garner is one of the first philosophers since Nietzsche to take seriously the idea that 'morality' might be nothing more than a sham.... In his hands, 'amoralism' turns out to be more appealing and humane than many thinkers' versions of 'morality'!"
James Rachels

"This work is a tremendous achievement. The author's erudition is overwhelming, yet it is expressed without overwhelming the reader. He goes easily from modern to ancient thought. Some of the most difficult areas of thought are explored with such clarity that readers unfamiliar with them can grasp them readily. One of the chief virtues of this highly informative book is that it sets the problems of ethics in the context of wider areas of through and brings them down to earth. Garner's main thesis, referred to as amoralism, is extremely important, not only to philosophy, but to all popular thinking about ethics, both theoretical and applied. He has done a magnificent job defending this important theme. This is a landmark work."
Richard Taylor, Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, University of Rochester

Read a review from Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Volume 57.3 (September 1997), written by David B. Wong (pdf).

About the Author(s)

Richard Garner is Professor of Philosophy at The Ohio State University.

In the Series

Ethics and Action

No longer active.