Stuart W. Mirsky, a former municipal bureaucrat, left government service in 2002 to write full time. Although it was his attraction to fiction that drew him back to writing, after a thirty year hiatus, his latest is in another genre entirely: contemporary moral philosophy. Choice and Action addresses classic concerns in the realm of ethics and its modern variant, metaethics, in light of the implications of Hume's moral skepticism which made moral judgments little more than expressions of sentiment. Mirsky, who studied philosophy before traveling to parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, spent his career in the halls of local government before writing his first book, The King of Vinland's Saga, an historical novel about Vikings and Indians in eleventh century North America (published in late 1998). It was followed, in 2006, by A Raft on the River, a novelized account of events surrounding a fifteen year old girl's efforts to survive the Nazis in war torn eastern Poland during World War II.
With Choice and Action, Mirsky takes on the contemporary questions of modern moral philosophy in an effort to show that the predominant role of feeling in moral judgment need not undermine the idea that, in making such claims, we are advancing assertions with compelling implications for what we do. Examining twentieth and twenty-first century efforts to come to terms with Hume's moral skepticism, Mirsky argues, based on a careful analysis of how valuing works as a human activity, for an expressivist account that leaves room for the meaningful promulgation and examination of reason-based judgment in our moral practices.
In 2000, Mirsky coordinated a viking ship extravaganza in New York Harbor in the wake of the publication of his viking novel and followed that by leading two literary arts festivals (2007 and 2008) in New York City's Gateway National Recreation Area. In 2004, he published a compendium of journalistic essays, written for a number of local newspapers over the preceding decade about cultural and political issues (Irregularities: Tidal Flows and Politics Along the Rockaway Shore) and, in 2005, he edited and wrote the foreword for the Holocaust memoir Bitter Freedom by Jafa Wallach (Hermitage Publishing, 2006). He has been actively engaged in philosophical discussions with a variety of philosophers across the ideological spectrum for over a decade and is now at work on another historical novel, this one an off-the-beaten-track American Western set mainly in pre-Civil War Oklahoma and Texas. "It's the true story of a forgotten group of people," he says, "whose long struggle to redeem a broken promise, given in the midst of a shabby and bloody conflict, produced a legend fit to stand with the greatest sagas of the old West."