The Quest For Moral Foundations

Overview

A concise, yet engaging introduction to the field of ethics, this volume offers a systematic study of the foundations of moral responsibility. Montague Brown guides the reader on an examination of a wide range of ethical positions, including relativism, emotivism, egoism, utilitarianism, Kantian formalsim, and natural law.

The discussion progresses from the weakest relativistic positions to the strongest absolutist postions, weighing the merits of each and ultimately arguing in ...

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Overview

A concise, yet engaging introduction to the field of ethics, this volume offers a systematic study of the foundations of moral responsibility. Montague Brown guides the reader on an examination of a wide range of ethical positions, including relativism, emotivism, egoism, utilitarianism, Kantian formalsim, and natural law.

The discussion progresses from the weakest relativistic positions to the strongest absolutist postions, weighing the merits of each and ultimately arguing in favor of an absolute morality based on natural law. The book incorporates the voices of the major moral philosophers, from ancient to contemporary. It explains not only the history behind the development of each position, but also the roles science, democracy, and religion play in moral thinking today.

Students and teachers of philosophy, ethics, and religion, as well as the general reader, will find that The Quest for Moral Foundations tackles the serious issues, yet offers an accessible introduction to the study of ethics.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878406135
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press
  • Publication date: 8/22/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 589,590
  • Product dimensions: 0.44 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Montague Brown is a professor of philosophy at St. Anselm College.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Anything Goes: Relativism 1
Religion and Ethics 2
Cultural Relativism 4
Historical Relativism 5
Implications of Groups 7
Subjective Relativism 9
Theoretical vs. Moral Relativism 10
Moral Responsibility 21
2 Do What You Feel: Emotivism 23
Emotivism According to Hume 24
Later Development of Emotivism 31
Summary 33
3 Me First: Egoism and the Social Contract 35
Social Contract Theory 37
Social Contract Morality Since Hobbes 43
Conclusions 48
4 All's Well That Ends Well: Utilitarianism 50
Pleasure, Pain, and Morality 50
Utilitarianism of J. S. Mill 56
Rule Utilitarianism 60
Scientific Approach 62
Foundation for Moral Judgment 64
Conclusions About Pleasure/Pain Theories 65
5 Duty Calls: Kant's Formalism 68
Kant's Reevaluation of Reason 68
Determinism or Freedom 81
Practical Reason 84
6 Do Good and Avoid Evil: Natural Law 87
Comparison with Other Theories 89
Moral Responsibility 96
Relationships Among Traditions 100
Synthesis of Cicero 106
Freedom and Natural Law 108
7 Retrospective and Reevaluation 115
Utilitarian Theory 115
Social Contract Theory 119
Egoism 120
Emotivism 120
Relativism 121
Natural Law and Pluralism 123
Historicism 127
Conclusions 133
8 Ethics and Religion Revisited 134
Ethics Derived from Religion 134
Religion as an Ethical Obligation 135
Moral Importance of Religion 140
9 Epilogue: To Care or Not to Care 142
Notes 147
Index 165
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