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Rethinking the Good: Moral Ideals and the Nature of Practical Reasoning
— —
Larry S. Temkin
Rethinking the Good: Moral Ideals and the Nature of Practical Reasoning by Larry S. Temkin at Abbey's Bookshop,

Rethinking the Good: Moral Ideals and the Nature of Practical Reasoning

Larry S. Temkin


9780190233716

Oxford University Press


Philosophy;
Ethics & moral philosophy


Paperback

640 pages

$65.95
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In choosing between moral alternatives -- choosing between various forms of ethical action -- we typically make calculations of the following kind: A is better than B; B is better than C; therefore A is better than C. These inferences use the principle of transitivity and are fundamental to many forms of practical and theoretical theorizing, not just in moral and ethical theory but in economics. Indeed they are so common as to be almost invisible. What Larry Temkin's book shows is that, shockingly, if we want to continue making plausible judgments, we cannot continue to make these assumptions. Temkin shows that we are committed to various moral ideals that are, surprisingly, fundamentally incompatible with the idea that better than can be transitive. His book develops many examples where value judgments that we accept and find attractive, are incompatible with transitivity. While this might seem to leave two options -- reject transitivity, or reject some of our normative commitments in order to keep it -- Temkin is neutral on which path to follow, only making the case that a choice is necessary, and that the cost either way will be high. Temkin's book is a very original and deeply unsettling work of skeptical philosophy that mounts an important new challenge to contemporary ethics.

By:   Larry S. Temkin
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 159mm,  Spine: 39mm
Weight:   916g
ISBN:   9780190233716
ISBN 10:   0190233710
Series:   Oxford Ethics Series
Pages:   640
Publication Date:   March 2015
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Further / Higher Education
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

1. Introduction ; 2. Aggregation and Problems about Trade-offs: Many-Person Spectrum ; 3. A New Principle of Aggregation ; 4. On the Separateness of Individuals, Compensation, and Aggregation ; 5. Aggregation and Problems about Trade-offs Within Lives: Single- Person Spectrum Arguments ; 6. Another Spectrum Argument: From Infant to Fertilized Ovum ; 7. Exploring Transitivity: Part I ; 8. Exploring Transitivity: Part II ; 9. Expected Utility Theory/Expected Value Theory ; 10. Spectrum Arguments: Objections and Replies ; 11. On the Value of Utility and Two Models for Combining Ideals ; 12. On the Nature of Moral Ideals, Part I ; 13. On the Nature of Moral Ideals, Part II ; 14. Juggling to Preserve Transitivity ; 15. Conclusion ; Appendices ; Notes ; Bibliography ; Index

Larry S. Temkin is Distinguished Professor and Chair of Philosophy, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.


... [A] great work of philosophy... both groundshaking and crafted with near-perfect precision... one of the most important works in ethics to appear in recent decades, sure to be studied closely by philosophers and non-philosophers alike for decades to come... [a] brilliant and exciting book. --Melinda Roberts, Analysis Larry Temkin's monumental book Rethinking the Good is by far the most resourceful and penetrating investigation into the various aspects of the value of outcomes to date. -- Ingmar Persson, Law, Ethics, and Philosophy A real tour de force... --Veronique Munoz-Darde, The Journal of Moral Philosophy ...a rich and challenging work, and a profound contribution. --Richard Kraut, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews Rethinking the Good is the most powerful challenge to our understanding of axiology and normative theory in contemporary philosophy to date. Calling it a classic or a masterpiece is an understatement: it is a true milestone with which we enter a new stage in the study of value theory. --Oscar Horta, Law, Ethics, and Philosophy The most important work in choice theory and social choice in some time. --Tyler Cowen, MARGINALREVOLUTION Larry Temkin's magnum opus, Rethinking the Good... is unquestionably one of the grandest, most significant, and most profound works on value and practical reasoning ever written. --Jake Ross, The Journal of Moral Philosophy This book is about some of the most profound issues in human life... its challenging and sophisticated arguments will be sources of insight and inspiration for anyone who reflects on them. --Roger Crisp, Oxford University Rethinking the Good is a genuinely awe-inspiring achievement. ...Its discussions of a broad range of the deepest and most perplexing issues in normative ethics are unsurpassed in imaginativeness, subtlety, and rigor... Temkin's rich and brilliant book will transform our understanding of many of the most important problems in ethical theory. -- Jeff McMahan, Oxford University Rethinking the Good threatens to overturn some of our most deeply entrenched beliefs about our various values and practical reasoning.... [It is] an utterly original work of philosophy, almost breath-takingly so. --Shelly Kagan, Yale University It is a rich and challenging work, and a profound contribution to that part of moral philosophy that seeks a ground for decision-making in the evaluation of states of affairs. --Richard Kraut, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews Larry Temkin's Rethinking the Good threatens to overturn some of our most deeply entrenched beliefs about our various values and practical reasoning. The issues that Temkin discusses are completely central to moral philosophy and beyond, and Temkin's conclusions are deeply unsettling. Indeed, I think it fair to say that they are so surprising that most people will simply assume that they must be wrong. But as Temkin painstakingly demonstrates, there are no easy solutions to the problems that he discusses--there is no way to avoid giving up something to which we are pretty deeply committed. Rethinking the Good is, in its way, an utterly original work of philosophy, almost breathtakingly so. --Shelly Kagan, Yale University This book is about some of the most profound issues in human life, including our own good, and how to weigh the good of one person against that of others. Its conclusions have significant implications for the very possibility of practical rationality, and its challenging and sophisticated arguments will be sources of insight and inspiration for anyone who reflects on them. --Roger Crisp, St. Anne's College, Oxford Rethinking the Good is a genuinely awe-inspiring achievement. Its discussions of a broad range of the deepest and most perplexing issues in normative ethics are unsurpassed in imaginativeness, subtlety, and rigor. On the foundational but extraordinarily difficult issue of whether our moral reasons are 'person-affecting' or impersonal in character, or whether there are reasons of both sorts that may conflict, it contains the best discussion I know of since the appearance of Parfit's seminal arguments in Reasons and Persons. Temkin's rich and brilliant book will transform our understanding of many of the most important problems in ethical theory. --Jeff McMahan, author of The Ethics of Killing and Killing in War

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