(Student Guide to World Philosophy)

As Annette Baier explains in the preface to Moral Prejudices: Essays on Ethics, she borrowed the title for her collection from an essay by David Hume called “Of Moral Prejudices,” in which he questions the traditional assumption that men are meant to be independent and women dependent on men. The title seemed appropriate, she continues, because she appreciates Hume’s willingness to attack stereotypes and because she not only studies moral prejudices but also recognizes them in herself, for example, her very real anger about the way women have been treated over the centuries. However, Baier knows that no society can be based on rage and confrontation. Philosophical inquiry, she believes, should look for ways to reconcile the genders, without making either of them subservient to the other. In the preface, Baier explains that because the fourteen essays in this volume were written for various audiences and on several different topics, which in some cases were assigned, the book should not be read as if it were a single entity, advancing a coherent philosophical system, even though there are stylistic similarities in the essays as well as thematic links.