Desires, Right & Wrong: The Ethics of Enough

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Adler, author of The Dialectic of Morals and America's philosopher for everyman, presents a thorough study of morality in the modern age, examining ``real'' and ``apparent'' good (defined respectively as needs and wants) and ``right'' versus ``wrong'' desires. Stating his positions clearly for the general reader, he reaffirms his Aristotelian roots by defining moral virtue as ``the habit of right desire.'' Excessive desires--for example, gluttony and lust--mistake means for ends; these, like the desire for fame or power, cannot in themselves produce happiness; only by acting out higher moral values that contribute to the total good can one really be happy. Adler, chairman of Encyclopaedia Britannica 's editorial board, is comfortable with Western philosophy from Plato to Kant and gifted at making his arguments understandable. His treatise will reward readers weary of 20th-century materialism. BOMC dividend. (Nov.)
Library Journal
This book has three parts: a 16-page summary of how it came to be written and of its presuppositions and objectives; a 106-page essay on morality proposing that recognizing what ought to be desired enables all normal people to attain a good life, provided that luck does not prevent it; and two appendixes of about 70 pages of relevant material. Adler regards happiness, not as an experienceable state, but as a well-lived life that attains everything that is really good. Accordingly, during our lifetime, we should distinguish real from apparent goods and desire them appropriately, i.e., neither too much nor too little. After discussing what he believes are specific right and wrong desires, he criticizes other moral philosophers such as Plato, Hume, Mill, and Dewey. Adler intends the book for the lay reader. It is often simplistic and sometimes dogmatic, but its clear exposition and concrete examples should help the reader separate the good from the bad in it.--Robert Hoffman, York Coll., CUNY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780025002814
  • Publisher: Macmillan Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/28/1991
  • Pages: 384

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