Download An Introduction to Ethics: Cambridge Introductions to by John Deigh PDF

By John Deigh

This e-book examines the significant questions of ethics via a research of theories of correct and fallacious which are present in the nice moral works of Western philosophy. It specializes in theories that proceed to have an important presence within the box. The middle chapters disguise egoism, the eudaimonism of Plato and Aristotle, act and rule utilitarianism, smooth usual legislation thought, Kant's ethical idea, and existentialist ethics. Readers might be brought not just to the most rules of every conception yet to modern advancements and defenses of these rules. a last bankruptcy takes up subject matters in meta-ethics and ethical psychology. The discussions all through draw the reader into philosophical inquiry via argument and feedback that light up the profundity of the questions lower than exam. scholars will locate this booklet to be a truly worthwhile advisor to how philosophical inquiry is undertaken in addition to to what the foremost theories in ethics carry.

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Extra info for An Introduction to Ethics: Cambridge Introductions to Philosophy

Example text

Hence, giving a hedonistic interpretation to the theory’s central concept yields the more coherent and therefore the more powerful version of egoism. Consider, for example, the situation of someone who has decided to seek happiness in music. She has a talent for the violin, let us suppose, and would regret not pursuing it. At the same time, she may be unsure of how high to aim in this pursuit. What degree of virtuosity should she strive to achieve? Of course, she can expect to achieve a greater degree the more talent she has, but even knowing how talented she is, she may still be uncertain.

If one is pursuing, as an ultimate end, something of which one can enjoy more or less, it is not rational to opt for less when one knows one can get more without Egoism additional cost. When this requirement is combined with the identification of one’s experiencing pleasure or escaping from pain as the ultimate end of every right action, it follows that the only ultimate end of every right action is one’s experiencing as much pleasure and as little pain as one can. In other words, given the hedonistic account of happiness, one’s own happiness is the only ultimate end of every right action.

Once our survey is complete, we will turn to an important twentiethcentury skeptical attack on these theories and the alternative ethics it offers. Our examination of the latter will lead to general questions about practical reason and ethical knowledge, whether either is possible and if it is, how shall we understand it. The final chapter will deal with these issues. 2 Egoism 1. The wise pursuit of happiness The question that leads us into the study of different ethical theories concerns the reasons we have to be honest and just in circumstances that invite dishonesty or injustice without risk of disrupting social peace, tarnishing one’s reputation, or losing the goodwill of others.

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