Ruling Passions: A Theory of Practical Reasoning

Paperback | October 1, 2000

bySimon Blackburn

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Simon Blackburn puts forward a compelling original philosophy of human motivation and morality. He maintains that we cannot get clear about ethics until we get clear about human nature. So these are the sorts of questions he addresses: Why do we behave as we do? Can we improve? Is our ethicsat war with our passions, or is it an upshot of those passions? Blackburn seeks the answers in an exploration of guilt, shame, disgust, and other moral emotions; he draws also on game theory and cognitive science in his account of the structures of human motivation. Many philosophers have wanted a naturalistic ethics a theory that integrates our understanding of human morality with the rest of our understanding of the world we live in. What is special about Blackburn's naturalistic ethics is that it does not debunk the ethical by reducing it to thenon-ethical. At the same time he banishes the spectres of scepticism and relativism that have haunted recent moral philosophy. Ruling Passions sets ethics in the context of human nature: it offers a solution to the puzzle of how ethics can maintain its authority even though it is rooted in the veryemotions and motivations that it exists to control.

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Simon Blackburn puts forward a compelling original philosophy of human motivation and morality. He maintains that we cannot get clear about ethics until we get clear about human nature. So these are the sorts of questions he addresses: Why do we behave as we do? Can we improve? Is our ethicsat war with our passions, or is it an upshot ...

Simon Blackburn is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Previously he was the Edna J. Koury Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Adjunct Professor at the Australian National University's Research School of Social Sciences. From 1969 to 1990 he was Fellow and Tut...

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Format:PaperbackPublished:October 1, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199241392

ISBN - 13:9780199241392

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Organizing Practice: The Elements of Ethics2. Things That Concern Us3. The Ethical Proposition: What It Is Not4. Naturalizing Norms5. Looking Out For Yourself6. Game Theory and Rational Actors7. The Good, the Right, and the Common Point of View8. Self-Control, Reason, and Freedom9. Relativism, Subjectivism, KnowledgeAppendixBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This is a rich, erudite and wonderful book, written with lots of human warmth and a keen eye for philosophical hubris. The discussion is exceptional in the way it brings to life the adventure of ideas." --Robert Dunn, Australasian Journal of Philosophy Vol. 79 03/04/2001