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Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics Writing with wit and elegance, Simon Blackburn tackles the basic questions of ethics in this lively book, highlighting the complications and troubling issues that spring from the very simple question of how we ought to live Blackburn dissects the many common reasons for why we are skeptical about ethics Drawing on examples from history, politics, religion and everyday personal experience, he shows how cynicism and self consciousness can paralyze us into considering ethics a hopeless pursuit He assures us that ethics is neither futile nor irrelevant, but an intimate part of the most important issues of living of birth, death, happiness, desire, freedom, pleasure, and justice Indeed, from moral dilemmas about abortion and euthanasia, to our obsession with personal rights, to our longing for a sense of meaning in life, our everyday struggles are rife with ethical issues Blackburn distills the arguments of Hume, Kant and Aristotle down to their essences, to underscore the timeless relevance of our voice of conscience, the pitfalls of complacency, and our concerns about truth, knowledge and human progress Blackburn s rare combination of depth, rigor, and sparkling prose, along with his distinguished ranking among contemporary philosophers, mark Being Good as an important statement on our current disenchantment with ethics It challenges us to take a thoughtful reading of our ethical climate and to ponder carefully our own standards of behavior Good overview that would be a decent introduction for a layman I admired its concision and plainspoken approach I thought he did a good job of summarizing Kant and Aristotle in a couple paragraphs It was a bit dry at times Also, the foundation Blackburn lays for moral philosophy to shore it up against the depredations of the Grand Unifying Pessimisms he describes is a pretty thin one Kind of a bummer when the conclusion is there is no Reason for moral behavior, and all we have to build upon Good overview that would be a decent introduction for a layman I admired its concision and plainspoken approach I thought he did a good job of summarizing Kant and Aristotle in a couple paragraphs It was a bit dry at times Also, the foundation Blackburn lays for moral philosophy to shore it up against the depredations of the Grand Unifying Pessimisms he describes is a pretty thin one Kind of a bummer when the conclusion is there is no Reason for moral behavior, and all we have to build upon is a feeling that there is some shared consensus of things that are bad and things that are good Obviously, if morality is built on nothingthan a nebulous shared intuition of right and wrong, then that consensus may shift over time in ways that make sense extending rights to disenfranchised groups, trying to dismantle institutional sexism and racism and ways that are a little dismaying rising ethnonationalism, totalitarianism, etc But how do we critique positions that put forward a totalizing but repugnant moral vision, if there is no privileged purchase for moral thought arising from virtue, natural law, or otherwise Maybe that s really where we re left, but I can t help feeling he cedes too much to relativism for my comfort My moral intuition is that alt right Nazis are bad, independent of a shared agreement that they are Because what if that has already changed Slowly working my way through the Very Short Introduction series This has been the worst of the lot till now in fact the series had been pretty good until this one Blackburn seems to be unaware that the standards had been set a tad higher in this series and chooses to ramble on about just societies etc instead of focusing on a compact introduction with enough fresh thoughts to send the reader packing on his way to denser pastures That is what the authors I have read in the series until now Slowly working my way through the Very Short Introduction series This has been the worst of the lot till now in fact the series had been pretty good until this one Blackburn seems to be unaware that the standards had been set a tad higher in this series and chooses to ramble on about just societies etc instead of focusing on a compact introduction with enough fresh thoughts to send the reader packing on his way to denser pastures That is what the authors I have read in the series until now had done In any case, I will continue working through the VSIs They usually tend to be good Being Good A Short Introduction to Ethics Very Short Introductions 80 , Simon Blackburn Writing with wit and elegance, Simon Blackburn tackles the basic questions of ethics in this lively book, highlighting the complications and troubling issues that spring from the very simple question of how we ought to live Blackburn dissects the many common reasons for why we are skeptical about ethics Drawing on examples from history, politics, religion and everyday personal experience, he shows how cy Being Good A Short Introduction to Ethics Very Short Introductions 80 , Simon Blackburn Writing with wit and elegance, Simon Blackburn tackles the basic questions of ethics in this lively book, highlighting the complications and troubling issues that spring from the very simple question of how we ought to live Blackburn dissects the many common reasons for why we are skeptical about ethics Drawing on examples from history, politics, religion and everyday personal experience, he shows how cynicism and self consciousness can paralyze us into considering ethics a hopeless pursuit When I got to the joke about the priest who presented the Truth about eternal life and the promise of salvation and it was received as, Wow, terrific, if that works for you that s great on page 26 I knew I didn t need this kind of book on ethics, especially since his witness was used as the butt of the joke and a relativist claim to authority According to Blackburn, The moral is that once a relativist frame of mind is really in place, nothing no claims to truth, authority, certainty, or When I got to the joke about the priest who presented the Truth about eternal life and the promise of salvation and it was received as, Wow, terrific, if that works for you that s great on page 26 I knew I didn t need this kind of book on ethics, especially since his witness was used as the butt of the joke and a relativist claim to authority According to Blackburn, The moral is that once a relativist frame of mind is really in place, nothing no claims to truth, authority, certainty, or necessity will be audible except as onesaying like all the others Too bad I hoped this might be a good book

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