Introduction to Ethics

ISBN-10: 0521775973
ISBN-13: 9780521775977
Edition: 2010
Authors: John Deigh
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Description: This book examines the central questions of ethics through a study of theories of right and wrong that are found in the great ethical works of Western philosophy. It focuses on theories that continue to have a significant presence in the field. The  More...

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Book details

List price: $35.99
Copyright year: 2010
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 3/4/2010
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 254
Size: 7.00" wide x 9.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.100
Language: English

This book examines the central questions of ethics through a study of theories of right and wrong that are found in the great ethical works of Western philosophy. It focuses on theories that continue to have a significant presence in the field. The core chapters cover egoism, the eudaimonism of Plato and Aristotle, act and rule utilitarianism, modern natural law theory, Kant's moral theory, and existentialist ethics. Readers will be introduced not only to the main ideas of each theory but to contemporary developments and defenses of those ideas. A final chapter takes up topics in meta-ethics and moral psychology. The discussions throughout draw the reader into philosophical inquiry through argument and criticism that illuminate the profundity of the questions under examination. Students will find this book to be a very helpful guide to how philosophical inquiry is undertaken as well as to what the major theories in ethics hold.

Preface
What is ethics?
The problems of ethics: an example
Socrates and Thrasymachus
The subject of ethics
An alternative conception of morality
Two types of ethical theory
The problem of deontology
The idea of a moral community
Ethical theories and moral ideals
Egoism
The wise pursuit of happiness
The concept of happiness
The primary argument for egoism
Psychological egoism
An alternative argument for egoism
Psychological hedonism
The Hobbesian program
Troubles with the Hobbesian program's derivations
Troubles with the Hobbesian program's scope
Thrasymachus' challenge again
Eudaimonism
Egoism v. eudaimonism
The Platonic form of eudaimonism
Perfectionist objections to hedonism
Epicurus' answer
Mill's defense of hedonism
Plato's ethics
Rationalism v. naturalism
Aristotle's naturalism
A problem in Aristotle's program
Prospects for contemporary eudaimonism
Utilitarianism
Impartiality
Two problems
Consequentialism
Mill's restatement of utilitarianism
An inconsistency in Mill's restatement
Rule utilitarianism
Act utilitarianism revisited
Is act utilitarianism self-refuting?
When act utilitarianism ceases to be an ethical theory
The moral law
Two theories of moral law
Divine command theory
Rational intuitionism
Ethics and mathematics
Kant's way
Formalism in ethics
The problem with Kant's formalism
The ethics of self-determination
Kant's step into metaphysics
The formula of humanity
Is the formula of humanity an independent principle?
The formula of autonomy and the kingdom of ends
Answering the charge of excessive formalism
Rationalism revisited
Personal autonomy
Existentialist ethics
The excesses of existentialism
Existentialist ethics pruned of excess
Practical reason
Meta-ethics
Meta-ethical disputes: an illustration
Aristotle's answer and an existentialist response
Can there be motives that aim at doing evil for its own sake?
The obsolescence of Aristotle's answer
The eliminability of teleological explanations
Modern skepticism about practical reason
Hume's meta-ethics
Practical reason in modern philosophy
Kant's notion of practical reason
Freedom and reason
Appendix: Diagram of different teleological theories
Works cited
Suggested further readings
Index

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