Being Good by Simon Blackburn
An Introduction to Ethics

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Simon Blackburn

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Simon Blackburn is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Until recently he was Edna J. Doury Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, and from 1969 to 1999 was a Fellow and Tutor at Pembroke College, Oxford. He is the author of The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (1994) and the best-selling Think (OUP, 1999), among other books.
 
Published March 14, 2002 by Oxford Paperbacks. 170 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Law & Philosophy, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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His lively narrative examines what he considers to be the principal threats to ethical behavior, key ideas such as “the greatest happiness of the greatest number” and “freedom from the bad,” and the foundations for a modern theory of ethics.

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Publishers Weekly

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When faced with an ethical dilemma, should we seek solutions that offer the greatest good or happiness to the greatest number of people? Are there any universal laws or principles by which ethical

Jun 11 2001 | Read Full Review of Being Good: An Introduction t...

Publishers Weekly

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Next, Blackburn discusses several ethical theories, including deontology (the theory that our ethical actions must be governed by rules) and utilitarianism (the theory that our ethical actions must be governed by their consequences), as well as rights theories and Kant's categorical imperative, w...

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