An engaging introduction to ethical reasoning.
In this engaged and engaging survey Piers Benn examines the major currents of ethical theory, concentrating on sound reasoning about morality. Benn's account offers a qualified defence of Aristotelian virtue theory, while bringing out what is distinctive and valuable in a broad range of approaches, such as those of Kant and the Utilitarians. His examples emphasize the ordinary choices of everyday life - gossip, friendship, honesty, sexual relations, work, and self-realization. Benn stimulates a concern for moral discourse through an initial discussion of moral objectivity and relativism, a central problem for ethical theory as well as one of the most immediate and practical concerns in our contemporary world. He suggests that most of the arguments offered in support of relativism are really arguments for tolerance and elucidates the crucial distinction and its implications. His emphasis on showing the reader how to think critically about the issues is brought to bear on key moral concepts throughout the book. Free will and determinism, pleasure and happiness, reasons and causes, authority, and rationality are examined with insight and clarity. Benn's elegant and perceptive treatment makes Ethics an ideal text for undergraduate courses. The guides to further reading provided in each chapter help the reader pursue interesting topics and facilitate using the book in conjunction with primary sources.