Good and Evil / Edition 1

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The discussion of good and evil must not be confined to the sterile lecture halls of academics but related instead to ordinary human feelings, needs, and desires, says noted philosopher Richard Taylor. Efforts to understand morality by exploring human reason will always fail because we are creatures of desire as well. All morality arises from our intense and inescapable longing. The distinction between good and evil is always clouded by rationalists who convert the real problems of ethics into complex philosophical puzzles.
In the first part of Good and Evil, Taylor looks for a more meaningful conception by reexamining and rejecting the whole rationalistic tradition that dominates philosophical ethics. The second part provides an empirical explanation of good and evil, noting that one does not have to look too far to find prime examples of the failure of fixed moral rules.
Including important commentary on Joseph Fletcher's groundbreaking situation ethics, and Aristotle's virtues (e.g., magnanimity and pride), Taylor rounds out the book by developing a philosophy of aspiration—personal worth as an ethical ideal—to replace the morality of duty. He offers a modified form of situation ethics to fit the contemporary problems we face.

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Editorial Reviews

American Rationalist
Taylor's book is written with great clarity. I recommend it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573927529
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 11/28/1999
  • Series: Great Minds Series
  • Edition description: REVISED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 325
  • Sales rank: 1,002,838
  • Product dimensions: 5.34 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Taylor (Interlaken, NY) has held professorships in philosophy at Brown University, the graduate faculty of Columbia University, and the University of Rochester. He is the author of Restoring Pride; Love Affairs: Marriage & Infidelity; and Freedom, Anarchy, and the Law.

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Table of Contents

Preface 13
Pt. 1 The Background: Reason and Will
1 Ethics and Human Nature 17
2 Nature vs. Convention 33
3 The Issue Joined: True vs. Pragmatic Morality 52
4 Socratic Ethics 68
5 Is Justice Good for Its Own Sake? 86
6 Hedonism, the Doctrine of Pleasure 101
7 A Modern Version of Hedonism 121
8 Kantian Morality 139
Pt. 2 Good and Evil
9 Good and Evil 159
10 The Common Good 177
11 Some Fundamental Questions Revisited 189
Pt. 3 Human Goodness
12 Casuistry 207
13 Judicial Casuistry 228
14 The Incentives of Action 238
15 The Virtue of Compassion 262
16 Love and Friendship 284
17 Love and Aspiration 305
18 The Meaning of Life 319
Index 335
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