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Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics
 
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Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics [Kindle Edition]

Simon Blackburn
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon.co.uk Review

Being Good is not your typical ethics book: its sleek physical dimensions mirror Simon Blackburn's intelligent but unencumbered treatment of the main threats and origins of ethics. Blackburn addresses the fear that "ethical claims are a kind of sham" before sketching a roadmap of the history of ethics, its practical consequences, and ultimate foundations. All this is an ambitious task for such a diminutive volume.

Simon Blackburn, a professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge, is one of the giants of contemporary moral theory and a trustworthy guide through its labyrinth. He prefers parsimony to complexity--helpful for readers with only a casual acquaintance with philosophy--and yet he manages to avoid trivialising his subject matter. Moreover, Being Good is wonderfully enlivened by illustrations by Paul Klee, William Blake, Eugene Delacroix, Francisco de Goya, and even Vietnam war photography and cartoons. Blackburn concludes on a promising note: "If we are careful, and mature, and imaginative, and fair, and nice, and lucky, the moral mirror in which we gaze at ourselves may not show us saints. But it need not show us monsters, either." --Eric de Place

Amazon Review

Being Good is not your typical ethics book: its sleek physical dimensions mirror Simon Blackburn's intelligent but unencumbered treatment of the main threats and origins of ethics. Blackburn addresses the fear that "ethical claims are a kind of sham" before sketching a roadmap of the history of ethics, its practical consequences, and ultimate foundations. All this is an ambitious task for such a diminutive volume.

Simon Blackburn, a professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge, is one of the giants of contemporary moral theory and a trustworthy guide through its labyrinth. He prefers parsimony to complexity--helpful for readers with only a casual acquaintance with philosophy--and yet he manages to avoid trivialising his subject matter. Moreover, Being Good is wonderfully enlivened by illustrations by Paul Klee, William Blake, Eugene Delacroix, Francisco de Goya, and even Vietnam war photography and cartoons. Blackburn concludes on a promising note: "If we are careful, and mature, and imaginative, and fair, and nice, and lucky, the moral mirror in which we gaze at ourselves may not show us saints. But it need not show us monsters, either." --Eric de Place

Review

"A brief introduction to ethics, one that plays lightly and gracefully over a number of philosophical themes, including the relationship between being good and living well."--Jim Holt, New Yorker
"A slender but rich meditation on why humans should choose to behave well when the possibilities for doing evil are so abundant. . . . Highly accessible, and highly rewarding."--Kirkus Reviews
"Simon Blackburn's short book takes the big moral questions head on and does so brilliantly...a witty, vivid writer with an enviable popular touch...this is a wonderfully enlightening book."--Ben Rogers, Sunday Telegraph

Product Description

It is not only in our dark hours that scepticism, relativism, hypocrisy, and nihilism dog ethics. Whether it is a matter of giving to charity, or sticking to duty, or insisting on our rights, we can be confused, or be paralysed by the fear that our principles are groundless. Many are afraid that in a Godless world science has unmasked us as creatures fated by our genes to be selfish and tribalistic, or competitive and aggressive. Simon Blackburn, author of the best-selling
Think, structures this short introduction around these and other threats to ethics. Confronting seven different objections to our self-image as moral, well-behaved creatures, he charts a course through the philosophical quicksands that often engulf us. Then, turning to problems of life and death, he shows
how we should think about the meaning of life, and how we should mistrust the sound-bite sized absolutes that often dominate moral debates. Finally he offers a critical tour of the ways the philosophical tradition has tried to provide foundations for ethics, from Plato and Aristotle through to contemporary debates.

About the Author


Simon Blackburn is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Until recently he was Edna J. Doury Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, and from 1969 to 1999 was a Fellow and Tutor at Pembroke College, Oxford. He is the author of The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (1994) and the best-selling Think (OUP, 1999), among other books.
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