Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics

Front Cover
OUP Oxford, Mar 14, 2002 - Philosophy - 172 pages
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 afraid that 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 different objections 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 absolutes that 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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User Review  - reganrule - LibraryThing

This book is not specific enough about trends in ethics to be of good use in an Intro to Philosophy class, but it provides a sophisticated and non-condescending account of the subject fit for intelligent people looking for the lay of the land. Read full review

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User Review  - True54Blue - LibraryThing

This introduction to ethics is more a platform for Blackburn to explain why all attempts to create a ethical system fail. He spends considerable time considering "threats to ethics" before looking at ... Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
PART I SEVEN THREATS TO ETHICS
9
PART II SOME ETHICAL IDEAS
56
PART III FOUNDATIONS
108
APPENDIX THE UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
136
NOTES AND FURTHER READING
145
PICTURE CREDITS
153
BIBLIOGRAPHY
155
INDEX
161
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

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), The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (1994), Ruling Passions (1998), Truth (co-edited with Keith Simmons, 1999), and the best-selling Think (1999). He edited the journal Mind from 1984 to 1990.

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