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Living the Good Life: In Introduction to Moral Philosophy

Living the Good Life: In Introduction to Moral Philosophy
ISBN
1557782350
Weight
2.00 lbs
Cover
Paper

Pages
222

Size
6x9

Date Available
1999/11/30


Index , Bibliography
Price:
$24.95 (18.71)
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Well written
“...very well written...works well at involving the reader and moving the reader.” –Canadian Philosophical Reviews

An interesting introduction
“Interesting introduction to Western moral thought” –Teaching Philosophy

Lively and relevent
“Graham’s approach is lively and relevant. [He] relates his philosophical discussions to issues of contemporary concern such as drug-abuse, homosexuality, population growth and the problems of underdeveloped countries, and also includes enlivening anecdotes in which Dr. Johnson, Faust, and Trollope’s Lady Linlithgow make brief illustrative appearances. He offers helpful thematic reading guides, usefully divided into original sources, commentaries and contemporary discussions. An excellent introduction to ethics.” –Brenda Almond, Philosophical Quarterly

What is the best life a human being can lead? The premier minds of western moral philosophy have attempted solutions to this fundamental question of human existence.

In Living the Good Life, Gordon Graham introduces undergraduate students to the moral arguments of Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Kierkegaard, Nietzche, Mill, and Sartre in a dialectical manner that splices historical thought and the pressing concerns of modern readers, by making genuine connections between the questions that non-philosophers argue in real life and the essential academic ones. What gives our lives the most meaning and value? What should we want out of life? Is the best life a virtuous one or a happy one? Is happiness composed simply of pleasure? Does religion provide the best guide for a fulfilling existence?

TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
INTRODUCTION: How to Use This Book

CHAPTER ONE EGOISM: GETTING WHAT YOU WANT OUT OF LIFE
Philosophy and the good life • Instrumental and intrinsic value • Subjective and objective value • Socrates versus the sophists • Psychological egoism • Ethical egoism • Nietzsche and the ‘will to power’ • The objective value of ethical egoism • Desires and interests

CHAPTER TWO HEDONISM: PLEASURE AND HAPPINESS
The Cyrenaics • The Epicureans • John Stuart Mill and higher and lower pleasures • Sadistic pleasures • Aristotle on pleasure • ‘Eudaimonism’ or the pursuit of happiness • Man as a functioning animal • The good for human beings • Ethics and ethology • The natural and the normal • Homosexuality: A test case • Is the ‘good for man’ good? • Natural good and freedom

CHAPTER THREE EXISTENTIALISM: GOOD FAITH AND RADICAL FREEDOM
The argument so far • Kierkegaard and the origins of existentialism • Sartre and radical freedom • Anguish and bad faith • Existentialism examined • Absurdity and anguish • Is it better to act in good faith? • Are we creators of value? • Are human beings radically free? • Resumé

CHAPTER FOUR THE MORAL LIFE I: DUTY FOR DUTY’S SAKE
Virtue and happiness: Faring well and doing right • Kant and ‘the good will’ • David Hume and practical reason • Hypothetical and categorical imperatives • Pure practical reason and the moral law • Universalizability • Summary of Kant’s philosophy • Is the Kantian moral life a good one? • Act, intention, and outcome • Universalizability (more) • Duty for duty’s sake

CHAPTER FIVE THE MORAL LIFE II: UTILITARIANISM
Utility and the greatest happiness principle • Jeremy Bentham • Egoism, altruism, and generalized benevolence • Act and rule utilitarianism • Utilitarianism and consequentialism • Ascertaining consequences • Assessment and prescription • Objections to consequentialism considered • Act and rule utilitarianism reconsidered • Summary: Does the end justify the means? • The nature of happiness • Measuring happiness • Distributing happiness • Mill’s proof and preference utilitarianism • Motivation and the limitless moral code

CHAPTER SIX RELIGION AND THE MEANING OF LIFE
The argument so far • The authority of morality • The problem of evil • The problem of religious knowledge • Plato and the Euthyphro dilemma • Religious experience and religious practice • The myth of Sisyphus • Subjective value and objective meaning • The religious perspective • The three difficulties reconsidered • The unity of the objective and subjective

BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX

GORDON GRAHAM is the Regius Professor of Philosophy at King’s College, University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He is the author of Politics in Its Place, Contemporary Social Philosophy, and The Idea of Christian Charity.

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