Integrated Moral Agency and the Practical Phenomenon of Moral Diversity


  • Michael Moehler Virginia Tech, United States



The practical phenomenon of moral diversity is a central feature of many contemporary societies and poses a distinct problem to moral theory building. Because of its goal to settle the moral question fully and exclusively and/or to provide better understanding of moral disagreement, traditional first-order moral theory often does not provide sufficient guidance to address this phenomenon and moral agency in deeply morally diverse societies. In this article, I move beyond traditional first-order moral theorizing and, based on multilevel social contract theory (Moehler 2018, 2020a), develop a practically sound notion of moral agency for morally diverse societies. The interrelational and dynamic notion of integrated moral agency developed in this article demands that agents actively exercise their rational and affective capacities, are receptive to the capacities of others, and are aware of the type of moral interaction in which they engage with others. The notion of integrated moral agency helps agents to reconcile conflicting first-order moral directives and to maximally protect agents’ autonomy in morally diverse societies.

Author Biography

Michael Moehler, Virginia Tech, United States

Michael Moehler is Founding Director and Core Faculty member of the Kellogg Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Virginia Tech. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the London School of Economics. His research and teaching expertise lie in the history of moral and political philosophy, rational choice theory, public reason theory, distributive justice, the welfare state, and political economy. He is author of Minimal Morality: A Multilevel Social Contract Theory (Oxford University Press) and Contractarianism (Cambridge University Press).




How to Cite

Moehler, M. (2021). Integrated Moral Agency and the Practical Phenomenon of Moral Diversity. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 14(2), 53–76.