Being Good: A Short Introduction To Ethics

Paperback | March 1, 2002

bySimon Blackburn

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It is not only in our dark hours that scepticism, relativism, hypocrisy, and nihilism dog ethics. Whether it is a matter of giving to charity, or sticking to duty, or insisting on our rights, we can be confused, or be paralysed by the fear that our principles are groundless. Many are afraidthat in a Godless world science has unmasked us as creatures fated by our genes to be selfish and tribalistic, or competitive and aggressive. Simon Blackburn, author of the best-selling Think, structures this short introduction around these and other threats to ethics. Confronting seven differentobjections to our self-image as moral, well-behaved creatures, he charts a course through the philosophical quicksands that often engulf us. Then, turning to problems of life and death, he shows how we should think about the meaning of life, and how we should mistrust the sound-bite sized absolutesthat often dominate moral debates. Finally he offers a critical tour of the ways the philosophical tradition has tried to provide foundations for ethics, from Plato and Aristotle through to contemporary debates.

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It is not only in our dark hours that scepticism, relativism, hypocrisy, and nihilism dog ethics. Whether it is a matter of giving to charity, or sticking to duty, or insisting on our rights, we can be confused, or be paralysed by the fear that our principles are groundless. Many are afraidthat in a Godless world science has unmasked u...

Simon Blackburn is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Until recently he was Edna J. Koury Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, and from 1969 to 1990 a Fellow and Tutor at Pembroke College, Oxford. His books include Spreading the Word (1984), Essays in Quasi-Realism (1993), T...

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Format:PaperbackPublished:March 1, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0192853775

ISBN - 13:9780192853776

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Table of Contents

PrefaceList of IllustrationsIntroductionSeven Threats to Ethics1. The Threat of the Death of God2. The Threat of Relativism3. The Threat of Egoism4. The Threat from Evolutionary Theory5. The Threat of Determinism and Futility6. The Threat of Unreasonable Demands7. The Threat of False ConsciousnessSome Ethical Ideas8. Birth9. Death10. Desire and the Meaning of Life11. Pleasure12. The Greatest Happiness of the Greatest Number13. Freedom from the Bad14. Freedom and Paternalism15. Rights and Natural RightsFoundations?16. Reasons and Foundations17. Living Well and Doing Good18. The Categorical Imperative19. Contracts and Discourse20. The Common Point of View21. Confidence RestoredFurther ReadingIndex

Editorial Reviews

`'a first rate and accessible guide which tackles the huge, perpetual questions''Nottingham Evaning Post