Many people believe that when it comes to moral questions, anyone's opinion is as good as anyone else's. Teachers of philosophy, by exposing students to the full panoply of moral theory, can reinforce this prejudice towards skepticism even when they intend to challenge it. Gary Michael Atkinson has taught introductory courses in philosophy for decades, and he has developed an effective approach to show that widespread skepticism based on the existence of persistent moral disagreement is mistaken. Our Search with Socrates for Moral Truth will appeal not only to students and teachers of philosophy but to any educated reader seeking to ascertain or defend the existence of moral truth.
Atkinson's method is to uncover the traits necessary for a person's being qualified to examine moral issues in a capable and competent manner. In the process he also discovers features which hinder a person being a competent thinker about moral questions. The reader is guided through this search by engaging Socrates as he appears in Plato's dialogues, not merely as a historical figure, but as an interlocutor. This path proceeds without begging any questions; its argument begins with no assumptions about which moral beliefs might be true, which false, or even if moral truth exists. On the contrary, the book begins only with the supposition that there might be moral truth. And yet, by following Socrates on the attempt to ascertain its existence, the reader is brought into the realm of moral knowledge and becomes acquainted with the ideal of a genuine seeker of moral truth, an ideal which can be embraced as a guidepost to becoming a better and more fulfilled human being.
The fundamental achievement of Our Search with Socrates for Moral Truth is to show that there exists a set of qualities which every moral thinker needs to possess, and that the necessity of this set of qualities can be recognized by everyone.
"Atkinson's work would be welcome in any university or college library. It provides great insight to the existence of moral truth and a refreshing analysis of the works of Socrates."~Garrett Trott, Catholic Library World