Eight Theories of Ethics by Gordon Graham

By Gordon Graham

Is it attainable to check ethics objectively, or are ethical decisions unavoidably subjective? Are historic theories of ethics of any modern relevance? Which moral thought deals the main convincing rationalization of ways top to stay one's life?

Eight Theories of Ethics is a entire creation to the theories of ethics encountered by means of first-time scholars. Gordon Graham introduces the elemental strategies that underpin ethics, resembling relativism and objectivity, after which devotes his realization to every of the 8 significant theories of ethics:

* egoism
* hedonism
* naturalism and advantage theory
* existentialism
* Kantianism
* utilitarianism
* contractualism
* religion.

Throughout the e-book, Gordon Graham attracts on examples from nice ethical philosophers reminiscent of Aristotle, Kant and Mill, and in addition from modern debates over human nature, the surroundings and citizenship.

Eight Theories of Ethics is written in an enticing and student-friendly sort, with particular feedback for additional examining on the finish of every bankruptcy - together with unique resources and modern discussions. it's perfect for somebody coming to this region of philosophy for the 1st time, and for these learning ethics in similar disciplines equivalent to politics, legislations, nursing and drugs.

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Mill himself, however, did not appeal to quantity but to quality. He thought that higher pleasures brought a different and better quality of pleasure. Yet, it is difficult to know whether this appeal provides any solution at all. Does the idea of a better quality of pleasure not already invoke a standard of better and worse other than pleasure itself? Even if it does not, the suggestion is unhelpful in another way, because the way Mill explains it, we cannot actually tell higher quality pleasures from lower quality ones.

That is to say, it says that all human actions must, ultimately, be explained in terms of the desires of the people whose actions they are. If people didn’t want to do what they do, they wouldn’t do it. 22 EGOISM It is often thought that this last sentence has the status of a truism, something it is impossible to deny. Yet at first glance psychological egoism appears to be false. Surely there are countless examples of people doing something other than what they want? These range from simple domestic examples – I continue to make polite conversation with guests when what I really want to do is go to bed – to momentous events – the torture victim persists in his silence out of loyalty to his comrades when he longs for the pain to stop.

Another effect is that honour and disgrace are values highly dependent upon the customs and practices of particular times and places. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Woman, which recounts the story of an unmarried mother in Puritan New England, describes a degree of shame and social ostracism that simply does not occur in contemporary Britain, say, where 40 per cent of 40 HEDONISM children are born out of wedlock. By contrast the world of natural values remains constant. In these two ways pain and pleasure differ from other values.

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