In this original study, Jonathan Jacobs provides a new account of ethical realism that combines both abstract meta-ethical issues defining the debate on realism and concrete topics in moral psychology. Jacobs argues that practical reasoners can both understand the ethical significance of facts and be motivated to act by that understanding. In that sense, objective considerations are prescriptive. In his discussion of the theory of practical realism, he extends themes and claims originating in Aristotelian ethics while engaging with the most important contemporary literature.
Arguing that desire and reason can agree on what is good, Jacobs explains how good action is naturally pleasing to the agent. In acting well, the agent affirms certain values and enjoys doing so. Jacobs grounds his explanation of ethical value in detailed explorations of the moral psychology of self-love, friendship, and respect. Students and scholars of philosophy will be intrigued by this integrated account of meta-ethics, practical reason, and moral psychology.