A History of Western Ethics

A History of Western Ethics

A History of Western Ethics

A History of Western Ethics


This newly revised and updated edition of A History of Western Ethics is a coherent and accessible overview of the most important figures and influential ideas of the history of ethics in the Western philosophical tradition.


The chapters of this book were first published in the Encyclopedia of Ethics, 2nd Edition (Routledge, 2001). They are republished here with minimal typographic and bibliographic changes. We extend our deep appreciation to the eleven distinguished authors who contributed these twelve articles for the Encyclopedia, and who have graciously consented to having them reprinted here. We believe this connected set of surveys is an elegant overview of the history of Western philosophical ethics.

In the Encyclopedia, of course, readers will find separate articles on most of the philosophers, philosophical movements, and ethical theories that are mentioned here in passing, and much more extensive bibliographic resources than these survey articles were meant to provide by themselves. For their stand-alone publication, we have provided two pieces of compensatory apparatus at the end of the book: a select bibliography drawn from other parts of the Encyclopedia, and a glossary of technical terms. But that is, of course, not an adequate substitute for the more specialized articles themselves, nor for the enrichment to be found in the Encyclopedia's many articles on non-Western ethical thought and theological ethics.

Our thanks to the staff at Routledge for proposing this 2nd edition of A History of Western Ethics. And for local editorial assistance and advice, our thanks to Joshua James Evans.

Lawrence C. Becker

Charlotte B. Becker

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