The Point of View of the Universe: Sidgwick and Contemporary Ethics (Hardback)
  • The Point of View of the Universe: Sidgwick and Contemporary Ethics (Hardback)
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The Point of View of the Universe: Sidgwick and Contemporary Ethics (Hardback)

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£36.99
Hardback 432 Pages / Published: 22/05/2014
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What does the idea of taking 'the point of view of the universe' tell us about ethics? The great nineteenth-century utilitarian Henry Sidgwick used this metaphor to present what he took to be a self-evident moral truth: the good of one individual is of no more importance than the good of any other. Ethical judgments, he held, are objective truths that we can know by reason. The ethical axioms he took to be self-evident provide a foundation for utilitarianism. He supplements this foundation with an argument that nothing except states of consciousness have ultimate value, which led him to hold that pleasure is the only thing that is intrinsically good. Are these claims defensible? Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek and Peter Singer test them against a variety of views held by contemporary writers in ethics, and conclude that they are. This book is therefore a defence of objectivism in ethics, and of hedonistic utilitarianism. The authors also explore, and in most cases support, Sidgwick's views on many other key questions in ethics: how to justify an ethical theory, the significance of an evolutionary explanation of our moral judgments, the choice between preference-utilitarianism and hedonistic utilitarianism, the conflict between self-interest and universal benevolence, whether something that it would be wrong to do openly can be right if kept secret, how demanding utilitarianism is, whether we should discount the future, or favor those who are worse off, the moral status of animals, and what is an optimum population.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199603695
Number of pages: 432
Weight: 786 g
Dimensions: 241 x 162 x 32 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
[The authors]... do something new and worthwhile. They present Sidgwicks most important ideas in an admirably clear and accessible way...And they do a fine job of illuminating connections between ideas discussed by Sidgwick and related ideas in contemporary moral philosophy. * David Phillips, Mind *
de Lazari-Radek and Singer succeed in explaining Sidgwick's views in a clear and engaging way ... this book nicely explains many brilliant ideas that Sidgwick had * Jussi Suikkanen, The Philosophers Magazine *
This book might well represent the most significant statement and defense of act utilitarianism since the 19th century, when the classical utilitarianism of Bentham, Mill, and Sidgwick became the spirit of the age. Indeed, in many respects, it marks a crucial return to classical utilitarianism in its finest flowering. ... Restoring Sidgwick to his rightful place of philosophical honor and cogently defending his central positions are obviously no small tasks, but the authors are remarkably successful in pulling them off ... their book is full of riches. * Bart Schultz, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews *

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