The Cosmos of Duty: Henry Sidgwick's Methods of Ethics

ISBN : 9780198716358

Roger Crisp
256 Pages
163 x 239 mm
Pub date
Jun 2015
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Roger Crisp presents a comprehensive study of Henry Sidgwick's The Methods of Ethics, a landmark work first published in 1874. Crisp argues that Sidgwick is largely right about many central issues in moral philosophy: the metaphysics and epistemology of ethics, consequentialism, hedonism about well-being, and the weight to be given to self-interest. He holds that Sidgwick's long discussion of 'common-sense' morality is probably the best discussion of deontology we have. And yet The Methods of Ethics can be hard to understand, and this is perhaps one reason why, though it is a philosophical goldmine, few have ventured deeply into it. What does Sidgwick mean by a 'method'? Why does he discuss only three methods? What are his arguments for hedonism and for utilitarianism? How can we make sense of the idea of moral intuition? What is the role of virtue in Sidgwick's ethics? Crisp addresses these and many other questions, offering a fresh view of Sidgwick's text which will assist any moral philosopher to gain more from it.


Acknowledgements Note on References List of Key Passages Preface Summary by Chapter 1: The Nature of Ethics 2: Free Will 3: Hedonism and the Ultimate Good 4: Intuitionism 5: Virtue 6: The Virtues 7: Egoism, Utilitarianism, and the Dualism of Practical Reason Bibliography Index

About the author: 

Roger Crisp is Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford and Uehiro Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at St Anne's College, Oxford. He is the author of Mill on Utilitarianism and Reasons and the Good, editor of The Oxford Handbook of the History of Ethics, and has translated Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics for Cambridge University Press.

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