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This difficult, highly abstract, yet extremely closely reasoned study touches on so many topics and ideas that the reader may come away from it wondering whether Eagleton (English literature, Univ. of Manchester; The Meaning of Life: A Very Short Introduction) has made a convincing argument for his main thesis, which is that "most ethical theories can be assigned to one of Jacques Lacan's three psychoanalytical categories of the imaginary, the symbolic and the Real, or in some combination of the three." Eagleton starts by adumbrating the aforementioned aspect of Lacan's thought, then goes on to examine the ethical theories found in Hume, Kant, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Levinas, Derrida, and Badiou, among others. He finds that the thought in each of these theories pales in comparison with "the richer ethics of socialism and the Judeo-Christian tradition," which he then considers in detail. Because of the fecundity of the ideas here, this study is recommended for advanced academic ethics and Christianity collections.
—Leon H. Brody