The Methods of Ethics

Front Cover
Hackett Publishing, 1981 - Philosophy - 528 pages

This Hackett edition, first published in 1981, is an unabridged and unaltered republication of the seventh (1907) edition as published by Macmillan and Company, Limited.

From the forward by John Rawls:

In the utilitarian tradition Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900) has an important place. His fundamental work, The Methods of Ethics (first edition 1874, seventh and last edition 1907, here reprinted), is the clearest and most accessible formulation of what we may call 'the classical utilitarian doctorine.' This classical doctrine holds that the ultimate moral end of social and individual action is the greatest net sum of the happiness of all sentient beings. Happinesss is specified (as positive or negative) by the net balance of pleasure over pain, or, as Sidgwick preferred to say, as the net balance of agreeable over disagreeable consciousness. . . .

 

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This book renders a wonderful exposition with lucid analysis that covers most of the issues of ethics. Not only is it useful for a newbie, but also for one who has come a long way from that position, to deal with the serious ethical issues of the time. Even it can be taken as a point of departure for whom who is ready to mingle with the issues related to the applied ethics, i.e., the problems discussed in Business Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Medical Ethics etc.
Biswanath Swain
Research Scholar in Philosophy
Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
biswanath80@gmail.com
 

Contents

BOOK I
1
If however we include the Moral Sentiments among these motives
2
Nor is it easy to give a clear definition of the maxim of Puritybut
3
CHAPTER II
15
ETHICAL PRINCIPLES AND METHODS
77
In short all varieties of Method may conveniently be classed under
83
EGOISM AND SELFLOVE
89
CHAPTER WIII
95
it being admitted that its obligation is relative to the promisee
305
CHAPTER VII
312
CHAPTER VIII
320
CHAPTER IX
327
CHAPTER X
332
We require of an Axiom that it should be 1 stated in clear
338
nor can we state any clear absolute universallyadmitted axioms
345
nor can we state any clear absolute universallyadmitted axioms
349

stituting for right the wider notion good 105106
105
There are many other things commonly judged to be good but re flection shows that nothing is ultimately good except some mode
114
There are several methods of seeking this end but we may take
122
pleasure being defined as feeling apprehended as desirable by
129
EMPIRICAL HEDONISM continued
131
that the habit of introspectively comparing pleasures is unfavour
138
that there is a similar liability to error in appropriating the
147
and these judgments when closely examined are found to be per
153
CHAPTER V
160
166170
166
DEDUCTIVE HEDONISM
176
THE INTELLECTUAL VIRTUES
180
3 or biological 190192
190
BOOK III
199
It is certainly an essential condition that we should not believe
207
The existence of apparent cognitions of right conduct intuitively
214
The common conception of Wisdom assumes a harmony of the ends
231
CHAPTER IV
238
A similar result is reached by an examination singly and together
243
as claims may conflict but clearly binding rules cannot be obtained
246
5 and the wider duties of Neighbourhood Citizenship Universal
254
CHAPTER V
264
But at any rate the primary object of Ethics is not to determine what
278
Nor does the realisation of Freedom satisfy our common conception
279
CHAPTER
295
even the prohibition of Suicide so
355
Other maxims of social duty seem clearly subordinate to those
356
CHAPTER XII
362
CHAPTER XIII
373
Still there are certain abstract moral principles of real importance
379
which needs for its basis a selfevident
386
nor is it in accordance with Common Sense to regard Subjective
394
When these alternatives are fairly presented Common Sense seems
400
and also from any psychological theory as to the nature
411
CHAPTER II
418
We may observe first that Dispositions may often be admired
426
and in the case of other virtues 448450
448
SELFREGARDING VIRTUES
449
On the Utilitarian view the relation between Ethics and Politics
457
Ought a Utilitarian then to accept the Morality of CommonSense
467
CHAPTER
475
CONCLUDING CHAPTER
496
The Religious Sanction if we can show that it is actually attached
503
APPENDIX on KANTs CONCEPTION OF FREE WILL
511
INDEX
517
312315
518
295297
520
320324
522
327328
525
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1981)

Born at Skipton, Yorkshire, Henry Sidgwick studied at Trinity College, Cambridge University, where he was appointed a fellow in 1859. In 1869 he resigned his fellowship when growing religious doubts led him to decide that he could no longer subscribe to the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Anglican church (as fellows were required to do). He was subsequently reappointed when the religious requirements were abolished, becoming professor of moral philosophy in 1883 and continuing to teach at Trinity College until his death. Sidgwick was active in many fields: education, classics, literature, political theory, and history as well as philosophy. He was interested in the cause of women's education and was instrumental in the founding of Newnham College for women at Cambridge. Sidgwick's most important contributions to philosophy lie in the field of ethics, and his most important work is Methods of Ethics (1874). In ethical theory, he was a proponent of utilitarianism; he is generally regarded as the third great representative of that position, along with Bentham and John Stuart Mill (see also Vols. 1 and 3). He rejected the empiricism on which earlier utilitarians had grounded their theory and displayed much greater complexity and sophistication in treating the psychology of moral motivation. In political theory, Sidgwick was more conservative than either Bentham or Mill.

John Rawls, professor of philosophy at Harvard University, had published a number of articles on the concept of justice as fairness before the appearance of his magnum opus, A Theory of Justice (1971). While the articles had won for Rawls considerable prestige, the reception of his book thrust him into the front ranks of contemporary moral philosophy. Presenting a Kantian alternative to conventional utilitarianism and intuitionism, Rawls offers a theory of justice that is contractual and that rests on principles that he alleges would be accepted by free, rational persons in a state of nature, that is, of equality. The chorus of praise was loud and clear. Stuart Hampshire acclaimed the book as "the most substantial and interesting contribution to moral philosophy since the war."H. A. Bedau declared: "As a work of close and original scholarship in the service of the dominant moral and political ideology of our civilization, Rawls's treatise is simply without a rival." Rawls historically achieved two important things: (1) He articulated a coherent moral philosophy for the welfare state, and (2) he demonstrated that analytic philosophy was most capable of doing constructive work in moral philosophy. A Theory of Justice has become the most influential work in political, legal, and social philosophy by an American author in the twentieth century.

Bibliographic information