The Moral Philosophers: An Introduction to Ethics

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The second edition of this accessible book features a new chapter on Nietzsche and an entirely new Part III that covers contemporary utilitarianism, rights-based ethical theories, contractarian ethics and virtue ethics, and recent debates between realism and anti-realism in ethics. The strengths of the first edition-its readability, historical approach, coverage of specific moral philosophers, and detailed recommended reading sections at the beginning of each chapter-combined with the new material make this an essential resource for all readers interested in ethics.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (February 26, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198752164
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198752165
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.3 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces

Customer Reviews

Good Book

One person found this helpful.
 on January 8, 2014
By Penelope
This book came in a reasonable amount of time and was very helpful with material needed for a course I took. The supplier did indeed have it in good condition so my expectations were met. The price was also affordable and I would consider purchasing from this supplier again.

Five Stars

 on September 11, 2014
By wayne smith
Everything A-Okay with this purchase. Using the text in a course now.

A Challenging Introductory Text for most Undergraduate Level Philosophy Readers

4 people found this helpful.
 on September 6, 2005
By cvairag
Richard Norman is an interesting moral philosopher in his own right. His work on just war theory in this nuclear age is of note. This book, which purports to be an introductory ethics primer, is written at a rather sophisticated level – really, at one step beyond some of the more popular introductory texts – However, the thicker prose does not obviate its value.

Combination of Good Overview and Analysis

6 people found this helpful.
 on March 4, 2001
By R. Albin
This is a very good and surprisingly ambitious introduction to moral philosophy. In this concise book, Norman aims to acquaint readers with the essential features of important moral philosophers, provide a critical evaluation of these ideas, lead readers through the process of critically evaluating ideas, and sketching an outline of what would constitute an acceptable moral theory. The last is an aim that is well beyond the confines of most textbooks and is quite interesting. The book falls into 3 parts; the work of the Ancients – Plato and Aristotle; the now classic moderns – Hume, Kant, Mill, and Hegel (seen largely through the lens of his British disciple Bradley); and 20th century work, mainly the Anglo-American tradition. There is a chapter on Nietsche, which serves as a reminder of other possible perspectives. Norman’s explications of the Ancients and 20th century work is particularly good. I find the sections on Hume and Kant less satisfactory. The quality of explanation is not as good as the other chapters. This is the one section of the book where Norman’s aims of providing a critique of ideas and outlining the characteristics of an acceptable moral theory tend to overpower the strictly explanatory aim. This is not a major flaw. I think Norman also makes some small but significant errors. In his discussion of Hume’s views on property, he ignores the fact that historians suggest that property had a somewhat different meaning in the 18th century, including not just possessions but also aspects of character, reputation, and even rights. I think as well that Norman is incorrect in some of his statements about the important contemporary philosopher John Rawls. Norman wants his readers to be actively engaged in thinking about this issues and his goal of outlining the grounds for an acceptable moral theory is a challenge to readers. This is an unusual but effective teaching method.

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