Ethics is a broad and complex field of study. That human experience involves ethical experience is uncontroversial. The question is not whether or not human beings experience morality, but rather, how do humans account for and make sense of their ethical experiences. In other words, what is the foundation for our moral theory?

People cannot escape involvement in a moral community. Their lives are enveloped by what we may call “the moral sphere.” [Halverson, A Concise Introduction to Philosophy]

Moral theory necessarily begins with the question of the highest good, or the summum bonum. What does “the highest good” actually mean? Moreover, what are the necessary conditions that must obtain in order for one to make the very idea of morality rational? What is “good” and how do we know? What absolutely has to be the case in order for the experience of human morality to be made intelligible? As one might imagine, there is no shortage of competing theories regarding the question of ethics in human experience.

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