Ethics Through History: An Introduction

ISBN : 9780199603701

Terence Irwin
320 ページ
153 x 234 mm

What is the human good? What are the primary virtues that make a good person? What makes an action right? Must we try to maximize good consequences? How can we know what is right and good? Can morality be rationally justified? In Ethics Through History, Terence Irwin addresses such fundamental questions, making these central debates intelligible to readers without an extensive background in philosophy. He provides a historical and philosophical discussion of major questions and key philosophers in the history of ethics, in the tradition that begins with Socrates onwards. Irwin covers ancient, medieval, and modern moral philosophers whose views have helped to form the agenda for contemporary ethical theory, paying attention to the strengths and weaknesses of their respective positions.


1 Introduction

2 Socrates: the Choice of Lives

3 Plato

4 Aristotle

5 Scepticism

6 Epicurus: Happiness as Pleasure

7 The Stoics: Happiness as Virtue

8 Christian Belief and Moral Philosophy: Augustine

9 Aquinas

10 Scotus and Ockham

11 Morality and Social Human Nature: Suarez and Grotius

12 Hobbes: Natural Law without Social Human Nature

13 Voluntarism, Naturalism and Moral Realism: Pufendorf, Shaftesbury, Cudworth, and Clarke

14 Sentimentalism: A Non-Rational Ground for Morality. Hutcheson and Hume

15 Rationalism: a Rational Ground for Morality. Butler, Price, and Reid

16 Kant and Some Critics

17 Schopenhauer: Kant's Insights and Errors

18 Hegel: Beyond Kantian Morality

19 Nietzsche: Against Kant and Morality

20 Utilitarianism: Mill and Sidgwick

21 Beyond Kantian and Utilitarian Morality: an Idealist Alternative. Green and Bradley

22 Meta-ethics: Objectivity and its Critics

23 Utilitarianism and its Critics: Some Further Questions


Terence Irwin is Emeritus Professor of Ancient Philosophy at the University of Oxford. He obtained his MA from Oxford and his PhD from Princeton University. He has taught at Harvard and Cornell. He is the author of The Development of Ethics (Oxford 2007-9), among numerous other publications.