Radical Moral Imagination: Courage, Hope, and Articulation


  • Mavis Biss


This paper develops the basis for a new account of radical moral imagination, understood as the transformation of moral understandings through creative response to the sensed inadequacy of one's moral concepts or morally significant appraisals of lived experience. Against Miranda Fricker, I argue that this kind of transition from moral perplexity to increased moral insight is not primarily a matter of the “top-down” use of concepts. Against Susan Babbitt, I argue that it is not primarily a matter of “bottom-up” intuitive responsiveness to experience. Beyond courage and hope, radical moral imagination involves the articulation of inchoate experience, which allows individuals to make new kinds of moral moves and to lay claim to others' acknowledgment of the meaning of these moves.