A Critical Introduction to Ethics

A Critical Introduction to Ethics

A Critical Introduction to Ethics

A Critical Introduction to Ethics

Excerpt

This book is intended to orient students toward the methods and problems of philosophy by way of ethics. Implicit in the choice and arrangement of materials is the assumption that ethics is a philosophical discipline, whose subject-matter, while significant for the practical affairs of daily life on the one hand, is dialectically interconnected with the more abstruse problems of metaphysics and epistemology on the other. The nature of the self, the meaning of objectivity, the possibility of free choice, the cosmic or chaotic character of the natural world, and the relevance of trans-natural principles of explanation are questions that become persistent for anyone who inquires very far and with much circumspection into the moral realm. I have tried to indicate the meaning and importance of such questions wherever they seemed to be especially pertinent to the ethical discussion, and their more prominent aspects are further developed in the last chapter.

Considerable emphasis is given to methodology. One of the great difficulties that a teacher of ethics ordinarily encounters is a failure on the part of students to think logically -- or a perhaps even more hazardous failure to adapt the rules of formal validity to the matter in hand. The first two chapters of this book are accordingly devoted to the formulation of a methodology suitable to the problems and aims of ethics; and the subsequent chapters may be regarded, from one point of view, as . . .

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