REASONS AND PERSONS

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Reasons And Persons

Author : Derek Parfit
ISBN : 9780191622441
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 41.15 MB
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This book challenges, with several powerful arguments, some of our deepest beliefs about rationality, morality, and personal identity. The author claims that we have a false view of our own nature; that it is often rational to act against our own best interests; that most of us have moral views that are directly self-defeating; and that, when we consider future generations the conclusions will often be disturbing. He concludes that moral non-religious moral philosophy is a young subject, with a promising but unpredictable future.
Category: Philosophy

Rethinking The Good

Author : Larry S. Temkin
ISBN : 9780190208653
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 20.58 MB
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In choosing between moral alternatives -- choosing between various forms of ethical action -- we typically make calculations of the following kind: A is better than B; B is better than C; therefore A is better than C. These inferences use the principle of transitivity and are fundamental to many forms of practical and theoretical theorizing, not just in moral and ethical theory but in economics. Indeed they are so common as to be almost invisible. What Larry Temkin's book shows is that, shockingly, if we want to continue making plausible judgments, we cannot continue to make these assumptions. Temkin shows that we are committed to various moral ideals that are, surprisingly, fundamentally incompatible with the idea that "better than" can be transitive. His book develops many examples where value judgments that we accept and find attractive, are incompatible with transitivity. While this might seem to leave two options -- reject transitivity, or reject some of our normative commitments in order to keep it -- Temkin is neutral on which path to follow, only making the case that a choice is necessary, and that the cost either way will be high. Temkin's book is a very original and deeply unsettling work of skeptical philosophy that mounts an important new challenge to contemporary ethics.
Category: Philosophy

On What Matters

Author : Derek Parfit
ISBN : 9780191620225
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 21.57 MB
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On What Matters is a major work in moral philosophy. It is the long-awaited follow-up to Derek Parfit's 1984 book Reasons and Persons, one of the landmarks of twentieth-century philosophy. Parfit now presents a powerful new treatment of reasons, rationality, and normativity, and a critical examination of three systematic moral theories - Kant's ethics, contractualism, and consequentialism - leading to his own ground-breaking synthetic conclusion. Along the way he discusses a wide range of moral issues, such as the significance of consent, treating people as a means rather than an end, and free will and responsibility. On What Matters is already the most-discussed work in moral philosophy: its publication is likely to establish it as a modern classic which everyone working on moral philosophy will have to read, and which many others will turn to for stimulation and illumination.
Category: Philosophy

Utilitarianism Hedonism And Desert

Author : Fred Feldman
ISBN : 0521598427
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 27.5 MB
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Fred Feldman has made a substantial contribution to utilitarian moral philosophy. In this collection, ten previously published essays plus a new introductory essay reveal the striking originality and unity of his views. Feldman's utilitarianism differs from traditional forms in that it evaluates behavior by appeal to the values of accessible worlds. He also deals with problems of justice affecting standard forms of utilitarianism. The collection is suited for courses on contemporary utilitarian theory.
Category: Philosophy

Introducing Philosophy Through Film

Author : Richard Fumerton
ISBN : 9781405171021
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 33.25 MB
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Philosophy Through Film offers a uniquely engaging and effective approach to introductory philosophy by combining an anthology of classical and contemporary philosophical readings with a discussion of philosophical concepts illustrated in popular films. Pairs 50 classical and contemporary readings with popular films - from Monty Python and The Matrix to Casablanca and A Clockwork Orange Addresses key areas in philosophy, including topics in ethics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, free will and determinism, the problem of perception, and philosophy of time Each unit begins with an extensive introduction by the editors and ends with study questions linking readings to films Features chapter by chapter discussion of clips from films that vividly illustrate the critical philosophical arguments and positions raised in the readings
Category: Philosophy

The Point Of View Of The Universe

Author : Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek
ISBN : 9780191022432
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 29.77 MB
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What does the idea of taking 'the point of view of the universe' tell us about ethics? The great nineteenth-century utilitarian Henry Sidgwick used this metaphor to present what he took to be a self-evident moral truth: the good of one individual is of no more importance than the good of any other. Ethical judgments, he held, are objective truths that we can know by reason. The ethical axioms he took to be self-evident provide a foundation for utilitarianism. He supplements this foundation with an argument that nothing except states of consciousness have ultimate value, which led him to hold that pleasure is the only thing that is intrinsically good. Are these claims defensible? Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek and Peter Singer test them against a variety of views held by contemporary writers in ethics, and conclude that they are. This book is therefore a defence of objectivism in ethics, and of hedonistic utilitarianism. The authors also explore, and in most cases support, Sidgwick's views on many other key questions in ethics: how to justify an ethical theory, the significance of an evolutionary explanation of our moral judgments, the choice between preference-utilitarianism and hedonistic utilitarianism, the conflict between self-interest and universal benevolence, whether something that it would be wrong to do openly can be right if kept secret, how demanding utilitarianism is, whether we should discount the future, or favor those who are worse off, the moral status of animals, and what is an optimum population.
Category: Philosophy

Explaining The Reasons We Share

Author : Mark Schroeder
ISBN : 9780191022920
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 32.75 MB
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Normative ethical theories generally purport to be explanatory—to tell us not just what is good, or what conduct is right, but why. Drawing on both historical and contemporary approaches, Mark Schroeder offers a distinctive picture of how such explanations must work, and of the specific commitments that they incur. According to Schroeder, explanatory moral theories can be perfectly general only if they are reductive, offering accounts of what it is for something to be good, right, or what someone ought to do. So ambitious, highly general normative ethical theorizing is continuous with metaethical inquiry. Moreover, he argues that such explanatory theories face a special challenge in accounting for reasons or obligations that are universally shared, and develops an autonomy-based strategy for meeting this challenge, in the case of requirements of rationality. Explaining the Reasons We Share pulls together over a decade of work by one of the leading figures in contemporary metaethics. One new and ten previously published papers weave together treatments of reasons, reduction, supervenience, instrumental rationality, and legislation, to paint a sharp contrast between two plausible but competing pictures of the nature and limits of moral explanation—one from Cudworth and one indebted to Kant. A substantive new introduction provides a map to reading these essays as a unified argument, and qualifies their conclusions in light of Schroeder's current views. Along with its sister volume, Expressing Our Attitudes, this volume advances the theme that metaethical inquiry is continuous with other areas of philosophy.
Category: Philosophy

Reasons For Action

Author : B.C. Postow
ISBN : 9789401728508
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 68.65 MB
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2 first-person point of view, I acknowledge these possible handicaps and try to overcome them. Other people may coherently judge that I am incapable of figuring out correctly what I rationally ought to do, or they may inform me of reasons of which I had heretofore been ignorant, or they may try to help me overcome intellectual hindrances. Like me, these people would be assuming that the goal is to identify what I really rationally ought to do. Nevertheless, we are concerned with reasons for the agent to act in a certain way, rather than with reasons, say, for someone to want it to be the case that the agent act. Thus to be a reason in our sense is to be a consideration which has an appropriate guiding role to play in the. agents deliberation. (An agent is guided by reasons if she determines what to do in light of the reasons. ) Suppose then that a nor mative theory says that it is supremely desirable, or that it rationally ought to be the case, that agents act in a way that maximizes the general utility, but that (since the general utility is never in fact maximized by those who pay attention to it) considerations of the general utility should play no role in the agents' deliberation. Such a theory would not be said to ascribe to agents a reason to maximize the general utility on our usage.
Category: Philosophy