Utilitarianism: a Very Short Introduction


Author: Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek,Peter Singer
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198728794
Category: Philosophy
Page: 144
View: 1619

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In this Very Short Introduction Peter Singer and Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek provide an authoritative account of the nature of utilitarianism, from its nineteenth-century origins, to its justification and its varieties. Considering how utilitarians can respond to objections that are often regarded as devastating, they explore the utilitarian answer to the question of whether torture can ever be justified. They also discuss what it is that utilitarians should seek to maximize, paying special attention to the classical utilitarian view that only pleasure or happiness is of intrinsic value. Singer and de Lazari-Radek conclude by analysing the continuing importance of utilitarianism in the world, indicating how it is a force for new thinking on contemporary moral challenges like global poverty, the treatment of animals, climate change, reducing the risk of human extinction, end-of-life decisions for terminally-ill patients, and the shift towards assessing the success of government policies in terms of their impact on happiness.

Utilitarianism: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek,Peter Singer
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0191044520
Category: Philosophy
Page: 144
View: 4338

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Utilitarianism may well be the most influential secular ethical theory in the world today. It is also one of the most controversial. It clashes, or is widely thought to clash, with many conventional moral views, and with human rights when they are seen as inviolable. Would it, for example, be right to torture a suspected terrorist in order to prevent an attack that could kill and injure a large number of innocent people? In this Very Short Introduction Peter Singer and Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek provide an authoritative account of the nature of utilitarianism, from its nineteenth-century origins, to its justification and its varieties. Considering how utilitarians can respond to objections that are often regarded as devastating, they explore the utilitarian answer to the question of whether torture can ever be justified. They also discuss what it is that utilitarians should seek to maximize, paying special attention to the classical utilitarian view that only pleasure or happiness is of intrinsic value. Singer and de Lazari-Radek conclude by analysing the continuing importance of utilitarianism in the world, indicating how it is a force for new thinking on contemporary moral challenges like global poverty, the treatment of animals, climate change, reducing the risk of human extinction, end-of-life decisions for terminally-ill patients, and the shift towards assessing the success of government policies in terms of their impact on happiness. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Utilitarianism: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek,Peter Singer
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0191044539
Category: Philosophy
Page: 144
View: 8721

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Utilitarianism may well be the most influential secular ethical theory in the world today. It is also one of the most controversial. It clashes, or is widely thought to clash, with many conventional moral views, and with human rights when they are seen as inviolable. Would it, for example, be right to torture a suspected terrorist in order to prevent an attack that could kill and injure a large number of innocent people? In this Very Short Introduction Peter Singer and Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek provide an authoritative account of the nature of utilitarianism, from its nineteenth-century origins, to its justification and its varieties. Considering how utilitarians can respond to objections that are often regarded as devastating, they explore the utilitarian answer to the question of whether torture can ever be justified. They also discuss what it is that utilitarians should seek to maximize, paying special attention to the classical utilitarian view that only pleasure or happiness is of intrinsic value. Singer and de Lazari-Radek conclude by analysing the continuing importance of utilitarianism in the world, indicating how it is a force for new thinking on contemporary moral challenges like global poverty, the treatment of animals, climate change, reducing the risk of human extinction, end-of-life decisions for terminally-ill patients, and the shift towards assessing the success of government policies in terms of their impact on happiness. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Understanding Utilitarianism


Author: Tim Mulgan
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317493397
Category: Philosophy
Page: 200
View: 6332

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Utilitarianism - a philosophy based on the principle of the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people - has been hugely influential over the past two centuries. Beyond ethics or morality, utilitarian assumptions and arguments abound in modern economic and political life, especially in public policy. An understanding of utilitarianism is indeed essential to any understanding of contemporary society. "Understanding Utilitarianism" presents utilitarianism very much as a living tradition. The book begins with a summary of the classical utilitarianism of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Subsequent chapters trace the development of the central themes of utilitarian thought over the twentieth century, covering such questions as: What is happiness? Is happiness the only valuable thing? Is utilitarianism about acts or rules or institutions? Is utilitarianism unjust, or implausibly demanding, or impractical? and Where might utilitarianism go in the future?

The Point of View of the Universe

Sidgwick and Contemporary Ethics
Author: Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek,Peter Singer
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0199603693
Category: Philosophy
Page: 403
View: 9563

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Tests the views and metaphor of 19th-century utilitarian philosopher Henry Sidgwick against a variety of contemporary views on ethics, determining that they are defensible and thus providing a defense of objectivism in ethics and of hedonistic utilitarianism.

Animal Rights: A Very Short Introduction


Author: David DeGrazia
Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks
ISBN: 9780192853608
Category: Nature
Page: 131
View: 4729

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Do animals have moral rights? If so what does this mean? What sorts of mental lives do animals have, and how should we understand their welfare? This fascinating introduction to the rights of animals addresses these perplexing questions, and explores their implications in contexts such as food consumption, zoos, and research.

Being Good

A Short Introduction to Ethics
Author: Simon Blackburn
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191647314
Category: Philosophy
Page: 172
View: 4666

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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.

Humanism: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Stephen Law
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191614009
Category: Religion
Page: 168
View: 3214

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Religion is currently gaining a much higher profile. The number of faith schools is increasingly, and religious points of view are being aired more frequently in the media. As religion's profile rises, those who reject religion, including humanists, often find themselves misunderstood, and occasionally misrepresented. Stephen Law explores how humanism uses science and reason to make sense of the world, looking at how it encourages individual moral responsibility and shows that life can have meaning without religion. Challenging some of the common misconceptions, he seeks to dispute the claims that atheism and humanism are 'faith positions' and that without God there can be no morality and our lives are left without purpose. Looking at the history of humanism and its development as a philosophical alternative, he examines the arguments for and against the existence of God, and explores the role humanism plays in moral and secular societies, as well as in moral and religious education. Using humanism to determine the meaning of life, he shows that there is a positive alternative to traditional religious belief. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Economics: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Partha Dasgupta
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191578281
Category: Business & Economics
Page: 192
View: 1416

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Economics has the capacity to offer us deep insights into some of the most formidable problems of life, and offer solutions to them too. Combining a global approach with examples from everyday life, Partha Dasgupta describes the lives of two children who live very different lives in different parts of the world: in the Mid-West USA and in Ethiopia. He compares the obstacles facing them, and the processes that shape their lives, their families, and their futures. He shows how economics uncovers these processes, finds explanations for them, and how it forms policies and solutions. Along the way, Dasgupta provides an intelligent and accessible introduction to key economic factors and concepts such as individual choices, national policies, efficiency, equity, development, sustainability, dynamic equilibrium, property rights, markets, and public goods. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Complexity

A Very Short Introduction
Author: John H. Holland
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0199662541
Category: History
Page: 95
View: 3943

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In this Very Short Introduction, John Holland presents an introduction to the science of complexity. Using examples from biology and economics, he shows how complexity science models the behaviour of complex systems.

Objectivity: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Stephen Gaukroger
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191642096
Category: Philosophy
Page: 128
View: 7238

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- Is objectivity possible? - Can there be objectivity in matters of morals, or tastes? - What would a truly objective account of the world be like? - Is everything subjective, or relative? - Are moral judgments objective or culturally relative? Objectivity is both an essential and elusive philosophical concept. An account is generally considered to be objective if it attempts to capture the nature of the object studied without judgement of a conscious entity or subject. Objectivity stands in contrast to subjectivity: an objective account is impartial, one which could ideally be accepted by any subject, because it does not draw on any assumptions, prejudices, or values of particular subjects. Stephen Gaukroger shows that it is far from clear that we can resolve moral or aesthetic disputes in this way and it has often been argued that such an approach is not always appropriate for disciplines that deal with human, rather than natural, phenomena. Moreover, even in those cases where we seek to be objective, it may be difficult to judge what a truly objective account would look like, and whether it is achievable. This Very Short Introduction demonstrates that there are a number of common misunderstandings about what objectivity is, and explores the theoretical and practical problems of objectivity by assessing the basic questions raised by it. As well as considering the core philosophical issues, Gaukroger also deals with the way in which particular understandings of objectivity impinge on social research, science, and art. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Cambridge Companion to Utilitarianism


Author: Ben Eggleston,Dale E. Miller
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139867482
Category: Philosophy
Page: N.A
View: 2401

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Utilitarianism, the approach to ethics based on the maximization of overall well-being, continues to have great traction in moral philosophy and political thought. This Companion offers a systematic exploration of its history, themes, and applications. First, it traces the origins and development of utilitarianism via the work of Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Henry Sidgwick, and others. The volume then explores issues in the formulation of utilitarianism, including act versus rule utilitarianism, actual versus expected consequences, and objective versus subjective theories of well-being. Next, utilitarianism is positioned in relation to Kantianism and virtue ethics, and the possibility of conflict between utilitarianism and fairness is considered. Finally, the volume explores the modern relevance of utilitarianism by considering its practical implications for contemporary controversies such as military conflict and global warming. The volume will be an important resource for all those studying moral philosophy, political philosophy, political theory, and history of ideas.

Philosophy of Law

A Very Short Introduction
Author: Raymond Wacks
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199687005
Category: Law
Page: 150
View: 2609

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The concept of law lies at the heart of our social and political life, shaping the character of our community and underlying issues from racism and abortion to human rights and international war. The revised edition of this Very Short Introduction examines the central questions about law's relation to justice, morality, and democracy.

Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Edward Craig
Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks
ISBN: 0192854216
Category: Philosophy
Page: 132
View: 3483

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Examines how philosophers including Plato, Descartes, Hobbes, Darwin, and de Beauvoir responded to real life situations, and how their responses continue to influence people today.

Continental Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Simon Critchley
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191578320
Category: Philosophy
Page: 168
View: 2466

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Simon Critchley's Very Short Introduction shows that Continental philosophy encompasses a distinct set of philosophical traditions and practices, with a compelling range of problems all too often ignored by the analytic tradition. He discusses the ideas and approaches of philosophers such as Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Habermas, Foucault, and Derrida, and introduces key concepts such as existentialism, nihilism, and phenomenology by explaining their place in the Continental tradition. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Logic: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Graham Priest
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192539701
Category: Philosophy
Page: 152
View: 9560

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Logic is often perceived as having little to do with the rest of philosophy, and even less to do with real life. In this lively and accessible introduction, Graham Priest shows how wrong this conception is. He explores the philosophical roots of the subject, explaining how modern formal logic deals with issues ranging from the existence of God and the reality of time to paradoxes of probability and decision theory. Along the way, the basics of formal logic are explained in simple, non-technical terms, showing that logic is a powerful and exciting part of modern philosophy. In this new edition Graham Priest expands his discussion to cover the subjects of algorithms and axioms, and proofs in mathematics. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Routledge Philosophy GuideBook to Mill on Utilitarianism


Author: Roger Crisp
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1134837232
Category: Philosophy
Page: 256
View: 6640

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Mill was one of the most important British philosophers of the nineteenth century; his Utilitarianism is a pivotal work in ethical thought. This book, written specifically for students coming to Mill - and perhaps philosophy - for the first time, will be an ideal guide. Mill on Utilitarianism introduces and assesses: * Mill's life and the background of Utilitarianism * the ideas and text of Utilitarianism * the continuing importance of Mill's work to philosophy This is the first book dedicated to Utilitarianism itself. Concisely written and engaging, it is perfect reading for those studying Mill or moral philosophy.

Habermas: A Very Short Introduction


Author: James Gordon Finlayson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192840959
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
Page: 156
View: 3712

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This book provides a clear and readable overview of the works of today's most influential German philosopher. It analyses the theoretical underpinnings of Habermas's social theory, and its applications in ethics, politics, and law. Finally, it examines how his social and political theory informs his writing on contemporary, political, and social problems.

The Expanding Circle

Ethics, Evolution, and Moral Progress
Author: Peter Singer
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400838431
Category: Philosophy
Page: 232
View: 4503

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What is ethics? Where do moral standards come from? Are they based on emotions, reason, or some innate sense of right and wrong? For many scientists, the key lies entirely in biology--especially in Darwinian theories of evolution and self-preservation. But if evolution is a struggle for survival, why are we still capable of altruism? In his classic study The Expanding Circle, Peter Singer argues that altruism began as a genetically based drive to protect one's kin and community members but has developed into a consciously chosen ethic with an expanding circle of moral concern. Drawing on philosophy and evolutionary psychology, he demonstrates that human ethics cannot be explained by biology alone. Rather, it is our capacity for reasoning that makes moral progress possible. In a new afterword, Singer takes stock of his argument in light of recent research on the evolution of morality.