Simon Blackburn puts forward a compelling original philosophy of human motivation and morality. He maintains that we cannot get clear about ethics until we get clear about human nature. So these are the sorts of questions he addresses: Why do we behave as we do? Can we improve? Is our ethics at war with our passions, or is it an upshot of those passions? Blackburn seeks the answers in an exploration of guilt, shame, disgust, and other moral emotions; he draws
also on game theory and cognitive science in his account of the structures of human motivation.
Many philosophers have wanted a naturalistic ethics-a theory that integrates our understanding of human morality with the rest of our understanding of the world we live in. What is special about Blackburn's naturalistic ethics is that it does not debunk the ethical by reducing it to the non-ethical. At the same time he banishes the spectres of scepticism and relativism that have haunted recent moral philosophy. Ruling Passions sets ethics in the context of human nature: it offers a
solution to the puzzle of how ethics can maintain its authority even though it is rooted in the very emotions and motivations that it exists to control.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 344
Weight: 681 g
Dimensions: 242 x 164 x 25 mm
Executed with Blackburn's characteristic witty eloquence, with stylish literary references and many examples * Mind *
This book is that rare thing: a work of philosophy beautifully written, able to engage the interest of those outside a narrow sphere of academic specialists, while attending to philosophical problems that most worry those who spend their professional life trying to solve them * Ethics *
Ruling Passions gives us our humanity, providing some answers to those sceptics who find Kantian morality devoid of psychological realism * Alex Klaushoefer, Times Higher Education Supplement *
A fascinating book that seeks to clarify what we are doing when we make moral judgments * Philosophy *