Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics by Simon Blackburn PDF

By Simon Blackburn

ISBN-10: 0192853775

ISBN-13: 9780192853776

Writing with wit and style, Simon Blackburn tackles the elemental questions of ethics during this vigorous ebook, highlighting the issues and troubling matters that spring from the extremely simple query of the way we should reside. Blackburn dissects the various universal purposes for why we're skeptical approximately ethics. Drawing on examples from historical past, politics, faith and daily own event, he exhibits how cynicism and self-consciousness can paralyze us into contemplating ethics a hopeless pursuit. He assures us that ethics is neither futile nor inappropriate, yet an intimate a part of crucial problems with living-of delivery, demise, happiness, wish, freedom, excitement, and justice. certainly, from ethical dilemmas approximately abortion and euthanasia, to our obsession with own rights, to our eager for a feeling of which means in existence, our daily struggles are rife with moral concerns. Blackburn distills the arguments of Hume, Kant and Aristotle right down to their essences, to underscore the undying relevance of our voice of sense of right and wrong, the pitfalls of complacency, and our issues approximately fact, wisdom and human progress.

Blackburn's infrequent mixture of intensity, rigor, and gleaming prose, together with his wonderful rating between modern philosophers, mark Being Good as a major assertion on our present disenchantment with ethics. It demanding situations us to take a extra considerate analyzing of our moral weather and to think about extra rigorously our personal criteria of habit.

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Extra resources for Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics

Example text

There must be a course between the soggy sands of relativism and the cold rocks of dogmatism. 3. EGOISM We are pretty selfish animals. Perhaps it is worse than that: perhaps we are totally selfish animals. Perhaps concern for others, or 29 • S E V E N T H R E A T S TO E T H I C S • concern for principle, is a sham. Perhaps ethics needs unmasking. It is just the whistle on the engine, not the steam that moves it. How can we tell? Let us think about method for a moment. On the face of it, there are two fairly good methods for finding what people actually care about.

There is a trick to be guarded against at this point. Someone might read the last paragraph and complain: 'That is all very well if we think of someone's self-interest only in terms of money, or career, or even health. Certainly, people sacrifice these to other concerns. But then we just have agents whose real interest or full self-interest includes these other things: the revenge or the rain forest or the third-world debt. ' The reason this is a trick is that it empties the view of all content.

It appears to add a cynical reinterpretation of the agent, but in fact it adds nothing. 36 • EVOLUTIONARY THEORY • Perhaps surprisingly, we can see the general falsity of egoism by thinking of particular cases where it is indeed true. These are cases where an appearance of some larger concern does in fact disguise self-interest. Suppose two people give to a charity. Suppose it comes out that the charity is corrupt, and proceeds do not go to the starving poor but to the directors. And suppose that on receiving this news the first person is irritated and angry, not so much at the directors of the charity, but at the person bringing the news ('Why bring this up?

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Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics by Simon Blackburn


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