Ethics: A Critical Introduction

Ethics: A Critical Introduction

Ethics: A Critical Introduction

Ethics: A Critical Introduction

Excerpt

The purpose of this book is to introduce the student to ethical criticism as developed in the history of philosophy and as practiced by contemporary philosophers. The study of philosophy is here understood as involving both the history and the criticism of ideas. Our ethical ideas we derive first from our community, and our community derives them from a long tradition. In the course of that tradition they have received much criticism, and they need fresh criticism in every generation. The present generation has made very important advances in the practice of this criticism. Its new methods have brought to light important new views and insights, but the rapidity with which these have changed demonstrates their instability and the need for an understanding of present criticism in the light of the history of criticism and of the history of the ideas criticized.

The present work, therefore, adopts very largely the historical method to introduce the student to ethical criticism, but it does not claim to be a history of ethics. It selects what the author regards as the best representatives of those points of view and methods of criticism which still have living importance and the best or most typical representatives of the new points of view and methods developed in the present generation. From these it picks out what is most alive and significant in their contributions to the various facets of ethical thinking and subjects them in turn to criticism. Part I is devoted to the development of moral ideas independent . . .

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