Person, Polis, Planet: Essays in Applied Philosophy

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Overview

"This volume collects thirteen of David Schmidtz's essays on the question of what it takes to live a good life, given that we live in a social and natural world. Part one defends a non-maximizing conception of rational choice, explains how even ultimate goals can be rationally chosen, defends the rationality of concern and regard for others (even to the point of being willing to die for a cause), and explains why decision theory is necessarily incomplete as a tool for addressing such issues." "Part two uses the tools of analytic philosophy to explain what we can do to be deserving, what is wrong with the idea that we ought to do as much good as we can, why mutual aid is good (but why the welfare state does not work as a way of institutionalizing mutual aid), and why transferring wealth from those who need it less to those who need it more can be a bad idea even from a utilitarian perspective. Most ambitiously, part two offers an overarching, pluralistic moral theory that defines the nature and limits of our obligations to each other and to ourselves." Part three discusses the history and economic logic of alternative property institutions, both private and communal, and explains why economic logic is an indispensable tool in the field of environmental conflict resolution. In the final essay, Schmidtz brings the volume full circle by considering the nature and limits of our obligations to nonhuman species, and how the status of nonhuman species ought to enter into our deliberations about what sort of life is worth living.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199861705
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

David Schmidtz is Kendrick Professor of Philosophy, joint Professor of Economics, and founding Director of the Center for Philosophy of Freedom at the University of Arizona. He is author of Rational Choice and Moral Agency, Elements of Justice, and co-author of Social Welfare and Individual Responsibility.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 3

Person

2 Choosing Strategies 15

3 Choosing Ends 37

4 Reasons for Altruism 62

5 What Nozick Did for Decision Theory Sarah Wright Wright, Sarah 78

Polis

6 How to Deserve 93

7 Moral Dualism 117

8 Separateness, Suffering, and Moral Theory 145

9 Diminishing Marginal Utility 165

10 Guarantees 174

Planet

11 The Institution of Property 193

12 Reinventing the Commons: An African Case Study Elizabeth Willott Willott, Elizabeth 211

13 Natural Enemies: An Anatomy of Environmental Conflict 228

14 Are All Species Equal? 239

Works Cited 249

Index 257

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