This chapter focuses on discussing the foundations of moral philosophy by exploring three possible foundations that seem to exhaust the field of inquiry: the religious, the natural and the social. Should people place ethics primarily on a religious footing? Should we therefore look to the natural rather than the supernatural? In this chapter, why religion alone provides an insufficient foundation for an adequate account of moral theory and so of applied ethics is illustrated. Two contemporary versions of naturalism are discussed and argued to be insufficient alone for moral theory. This chapter demonstrates how the most appropriate foundation for moral philosophy and applied ethics is ‘social humanism’.
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