Rethinking the Good: Moral Ideals and the Nature of Practical Reasoning by Larry S. TemkinRethinking the Good: Moral Ideals and the Nature of Practical Reasoning by Larry S. Temkin

Rethinking the Good: Moral Ideals and the Nature of Practical Reasoning

byLarry S. Temkin

Paperback | January 15, 2015

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 298 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


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 manyforms 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 theseassumptions. 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 thismight 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 deeplyunsettling work of skeptical philosophy that mounts an important new challenge to contemporary ethics.
Larry S. Temkin is Distinguished Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
Title:Rethinking the Good: Moral Ideals and the Nature of Practical ReasoningFormat:PaperbackDimensions:640 pages, 9.21 × 6.1 × 1.5 inPublished:January 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190233710

ISBN - 13:9780190233716

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Aggregation and Problems about Trade-offs: Many-Person Spectrum3. A "New" Principle of Aggregation4. On the Separateness of Individuals, Compensation, and Aggregation5. Aggregation and Problems about Trade-offs Within Lives: Single- Person Spectrum Arguments6. Another Spectrum Argument: From Infant to Fertilized Ovum7. Exploring Transitivity: Part I8. Exploring Transitivity: Part II9. Expected Utility Theory/Expected Value Theory10. Spectrum Arguments: Objections and Replies11. On the Value of Utility and Two Models for Combining Ideals12. On the Nature of Moral Ideals, Part I13. On the Nature of Moral Ideals, Part II14. Juggling to Preserve Transitivity15. ConclusionAppendicesNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Rethinking the Good threatens to overturn some of our most deeply entrenched beliefs about our various values and practical reasoning.... [It is] an utterly original work of philosophy, almost breath-takingly so." --Shelly Kagan, Yale University