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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.
|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|
|5||Is Justice Good for Its Own Sake?||86|
|6||Hedonism, the Doctrine of Pleasure||101|
|7||A Modern Version of Hedonism||121|
|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|
|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|