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James Rachels (1941–2003)

Forfatter af The Elements of Moral Philosophy

18+ Works 1,817 Members 8 Reviews 1 Favorited

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Værker af James Rachels

Associated Works

A Companion to Ethics (1991) — Bidragyder — 380 eksemplarer
Western Philosophy: An Anthology (1996) — Forfatter, nogle udgaver181 eksemplarer
The Moral Life: An Introductory Reader in Ethics and Literature (1999) — Bidragyder — 169 eksemplarer
Applied Ethics (1986) — Bidragyder — 117 eksemplarer
God (Hackett Readings in Philosophy) (1996) — Bidragyder, nogle udgaver58 eksemplarer
Divine Commands and Morality (1981) — Bidragyder — 24 eksemplarer

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I thought this was a wonderfully readable short introduction to the philosophy of morality. Serious but not overly complicated. For a 200 page paperback it's frighteningly expensive since it's frequently used as a textbook; thank god for libraries! I read the 4th ed of this book, so I'm not sure how different the most recent 6th edition is.
steve02476 | 4 andre anmeldelser | Jan 3, 2023 |
Lavender3 | 4 andre anmeldelser | Dec 21, 2022 |
Socrates: We are discussing no small matter, but how we ought to live.

This review is mostly for who is new to the world of Ethics-by-the-book, as I am.
Therefore, if you want to expand your knowledge and ethical reasoning beyond the golden rule, this book might be the best start. It is very up-to-date, very structured, not boring at all: it tries to explain philosophically the answers to many questions we have asked ourselves:

  • [How] should we judge cultures that have different moral codes?

  • • Does morality depend on religion? What is their true relationship, anyway?

  • • How can you objectively define what is right and what is wrong?

  • • Are women different than men or not? Should we treat men and women differently?

  • • etc.

After starting with very interesting and modern examples to illustrate the questions above, the author goes on to analyse the proposals of the great philosophers to explain Ethics as a solution for humanity (and not only) so that the happiness of the individual is also optimised. Thus, it goes to the description, pro's and con's of:

  • • Ethical Egoism - do whatever is in your best interest

  • • Utilitarianism - do whatever promotes the best ratio of happiness over unhappiness in the world

  • • Kant's idea that we should find moral rules that can be followed by everybody no matter the circumstances. (E.g.: you shouldn't lie, no matter what.)

  • • Social Contract - do whatever is of mutual benefit to you and the society you live in as a self-interested, rational individual

All of them seem attractive at first sight, but no, none is perfect :)
Actually, that is what disappoints me regarding this book - that there is no clear solution to "how we ought to live" and the moral problems described in the first chapters seem to remain unsolved, because the author tries to be politically correct. Nevertheless, the ideas of Ethics of Care (feminism) and Ethics of Virtue proposed are almost convincing.

To put it differently,the fact that the book is more a textbook than a philosophical thesis meant to convince, is the reason why I liked much, much more the first Ethics book I've read -- [b:Ética para Amador|112646|Ética para Amador|Fernando Savater|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1184548934s/112646.jpg|108460], by [a:Fernando Savater|17835|Fernando Savater|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1352055666p2/17835.jpg]; this one went straight to my heart, even though it is simpler (it is a book for teenagers.) So I will promote it to 4 or 5 starts.
… (mere)
luciarux | 4 andre anmeldelser | Jul 3, 2022 |
A great 14-page condensation of _The Case for Animal Rights_ by Tom Regan and "The Divine Imperative" by Emil Brunner. Rachels is the naturalist philosopher who opened the door to a great many pro-animal theorists.
vegetarian | 1 anden anmeldelse | Sep 6, 2012 |

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Associated Authors

Bertrand Russell Contributor
Joseph C. McKenna Contributor
John Stuart Mill Contributor
Milton K. Munitz Contributor
Ernest Nagel Contributor
Thomas Nagel Contributor
Kai Nielsen Contributor
Michael Novak Contributor
Blaise Pascal Contributor
John Plamenatz Contributor
Nicholas Rescher Contributor
Catherine Roberts Contributor
Gilbert Ryle Contributor
A. H. Maslow Contributor
Jean-Paul Sartre Contributor
Irwin Savodnik Contributor
John R. Searle Contributor
Ninian Smart Contributor
Huston Smith Contributor
John Somerville Contributor
W. T. Stace Contributor
T. D. Suzuki Contributor
Richard Taylor Contributor
Leo Tolstoy Contributor
Michael Walzer Contributor
H. J. McCloskey Contributor
Karl Marx Contributor
Aristotle Contributor
Jacques Ellul Contributor
Hugo A. Beadau Contributor
Clive Bell Contributor
Jeremy Bentham Contributor
Jacob Bronowski Contributor
Steven M. Cahn Contributor
Ernst Cassirer Contributor
Carlos Castaneda Contributor
Reo M. Christenson Contributor
Morris R. Cohen Contributor
Arthur Danto Contributor
Simone de Beauvoir Contributor
René Descartes Contributor
A. S. Engel Contributor
Herbert Marcuse Contributor
Herbert Feil Contributor
Charles Fried Contributor
Galileo Contributor
Newton Garver Contributor
R. M. Hare Contributor
Carl G. Hempel Contributor
John Hick Contributor
Thomas Hobbes Contributor
R. F. Holland Contributor
Sidney Hook Contributor
H. J. N. Horsburgh Contributor
Immanuel Kant Contributor
Abraham Kaplan Contributor
Edward H. Madden Contributor
Robert Paul Wolff Contributor


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