Ethics: A Very Short Introduction

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Our self-image as moral, well-behaved creatures is dogged by scepticism, relativism, hypocrisy, and nihilism, by the fear that in a Godless world science has unmasked us as creatures fated by our genes to be selfish and tribalistic, or competitive and aggressive. In this clear introduction to ethics Simon Blackburn tackles the major moral questions surrounding birth, death, happiness, desire and freedom, showing us how we should think about the meaning of life, and how we should mistrust the soundbite-sized absolutes that often dominate moral debates.

About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192804421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192804426
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.5 x 4.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces

Customer Reviews

Ethics: A Very Short Introduction

6 people found this helpful.
 on September 11, 2013
By easy going
Excellent–the book has stirred lots of thought and given me a grasp on an important field of thought. I recommend it.

Five Stars

 on July 13, 2015
By Julie Shearer
A worthy introduction to the field of ethics….


4 people found this helpful.
 on September 13, 2012
By Franco
Once again a book from the VSI series that really accomplish what it promises. Excellent first reading on the topic, it was really helpful preaparing a lecture on biomedical ethics for undergraduate students.

A very useful Little Book

12 people found this helpful.
 on April 17, 2010
By N. A. Ramirez MD
I enjoyed the simple approach, easy explanations and clear language. It is useful as a “Reader’s Digest” view of ethics for the everyday person, or the beginner student.

Five Stars

 on June 15, 2016
By Lauren Tillman

Ethics: Let my imaginary friend tell you what to think

15 people found this helpful.
 on May 28, 2011
By Noah C
Rather than an overview of the topic, this book reads more like a personal essay, and is written in a rather disorganized fashion. The author’s prejudice that anyone that believes in (or even considers the possibility) that there is an Almighty Baked Potato is not only in evidence but on constant display. Within the first few pages he manages to kill off the Almighty Baked Potato, and decrees that there is a higher ethical code than that given by any religion and by which religion itself can be judged. He then neatly sidesteps the obvious question of where such a code could possibly have come from, if not from an Almighty Baked Potato. He commits the fallacy common among academics – “Since I can’t understand why the Almighty Baked Potato acted the way he did in a certain circumstance, it therefore follows that there is no Almighty Baked Potato.” This is only a valid argument if your wisdom is infinite.

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