Drawing Morals: Essays in Ethical Theory

ISBN : 9780199743094

Thomas Hurka
288 Pages
175 x 241 mm
Pub date
Aug 2011
Oxford Moral Theory
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This volume contains selected essays in moral and political philosophy by Thomas Hurka. The essays address a wide variety of topics, from the well-rounded life and the value of playing games to proportionality in war and the ethics of nationalism. They also share a common aim: to illuminate the surprising richness and subtlety of our everyday moral thought by revealing its underlying structure, which they often do by representing that structure on graphs. More specifically, the essays all give what the first in the volume calls "structural" as against "foundational" analyses of moral views. Eschewing the grander ambition of grounding our ideas about, say, virtue or desert in claims that use different concepts and concern some other, allegedly more fundamental topic, they examine these ideas in their own right and with close attention to their details. As well as illuminating their individual topics, the essays illustrate the insights this structural method can yield.


I. Methodology
1 Normative Ethics: Back to the Future
II. Comparing and Combining Goods
2 Value and Population Size
3 The Well-Rounded Life
4 Monism, Pluralism, and Rational Regret
5 How Great a Good is Virtue?
6 Two Kinds of Organic Unity
7 Asymmetries in Value
III. Individual Goods
8 Why Value Autonomy?
9 Desert: Holistic and Individualistic
10 Virtuous Act, Virtuous Disposition
11 Games and the Good
IV. Principles of Right
12 Rights and Capital Punishment
13 Two Kinds of Satisficing
14 The Justification of National Partiality
15 Proportionality in the Morality of War

About the author: 

Thomas Hurka is Jackman Distinguished Professor of Philosophical Studies at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Perfectionism, Principles: Short Essays on Ethics, Virtue, Vice, and Value, and The Best Things in Life, as well as of many articles in moral and political philosophy. For two years he wrote a philosophy column for the Globe and Mail newspaper.

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