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Conversations on Ethics


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Table of Contents

Introduction Part I. Ethics and Intuitions 1: Frances Kamm: In Search of the Deep Structure of Morality 2: Peter Singer: Each of Us Is Just One Among Others 3: Daniel Kahneman: Can We Trust Our Intuitions? Part II. Virtue and Flourishing 4: Philippa Foot: The Grammar of Goodness 5: Alasdair MacIntyre: The Illusion of Self-Sufficiency Part III. Ethics and Evolution 6: Ken Binmore: The Origin of Fairness 7: Allan Gibbard: A Pragmatic Justification of Morality Part IV. Unity and Dissent 8: T. M. Scanlon: The Kingdom of Ends on the Cheap 9: Bernard Williams: A Mistrustful Animal Part V. Love and Morality 10: Harry Frankfurt: The Necessity of Love 11: David Velleman: Really Seeing Another

About the Author

Alex Voorhoeve is a Senior Lecturer in philosophy at the London School of Economics. He has written on ideals of equality and responsibility, on well-being, and on the theory of rational choice. His articles have appeared in Philosophy & Public Affairs, Economics and Philosophy, and The Journal of Political Philosophy, among others.


`Review from previous edition Voorhoeve succeeds in making the conversations accessible to and even potentially thrilling for the non specialist... [He] excels in many conversations at probing the ideas of his interlocutor... All in all, a great contribution to the field, which will not only prove of interest to the student of ethics but also to the novice and the historian.' Francois Claveau, Ethics & Economics `A superb collection of interviews with leading figures in moral philosophy: Voorhoeve deftly limns the broad outlines of their thought and paints a physical picture of the setting, before interrogating his subjects' theories... There are dramatic moments, too, when an interlocutor turns the tables and begins to question the interviewer, who scrupulously records his own pauses and concessions... [A]n exemplary demonstration of philosophical discussion in action.' Steven Poole's Non-Fiction Choice, The Guardian `The book is both richly instructive and delightful to read. Voorhoeve has a sophisticated command of his interlocutors' philosophical views, and his questions often hit the nail on the head. He has the talent to ask difficult questions in a welcoming way, setting the stage for his interviewees to explain their positions as clearly as they can. For the reader interested in moral theory this is a true asset, since Voorhoeve managed to assemble quite a few of the figures that have shaped the face of moral philosophy in the past generation to discuss fundamentals of their moral views... [It] provides the most valuable insights on the nature of ethics.' Shlomo Cohen, Iyyun: The Jerusalem Philosophical Quarterly `I have rarely enjoyed a philosophy book as much. Voorhoeve's bold effort really works. He cunningly brings ethical theory to life through insightful conversations with key philosophers and scientists. Not only do the issues come alive, but the participants do as well. Don't miss the chance to eavesdrop on these conversations.' Norman Daniels, Harvard University `This volume is an extraordinarily rich resource. Alex Voorhoeve has interviewed many of the most interesting and influential recent thinkers on ethical topics, expertly focusing on their core positions and arguments in a series of insightful philosophical dialogues. In doing so he has produced not only a comprehensive introduction to contemporary ethical thought, but also a real sense of the human beings behind the writings.' Jonathan Wolff, University College London `In the introduction to his first interview, Voorhoeve cites Nietzsche's dictum that all great problems demand great love... Nietzsche was a hard man to please. But he would have felt some satisfaction had he encountered Voorhoeve's eleven interviews. His philosophers are passionate devotees of their own moral systems. They fight for their theories, defending them ferociously and lovingly... Each of them argues his or her case convincingly. Almost always, one falls in with their reasoning - at least, this is what happened to me. But, of course, this leads to inconsistency. For the difference in their views is far too great. This is bewildering, and teaches us a good lesson: not to be unmovable in one's attachments to one's moral views... As the book progresses, Voorhoeve shows how difficult moral calculation and justification of one's views to others is... Puzzling and fascinating.' Jan Greven, Trouw

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