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Good and Evil: An Absolute Conception Paperback – 26 Aug 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (26 Aug. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415332893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415332897
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 747,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'A marvellous work, one which ought to change the tone as well as the focus of much contemporary moral philosophy.' - Bernadette Tobin, Australian

'A superb, richly textured discussion which engages directly with real people and their deeply serious moral concerns.' - Brenda Almond, THES

'One can only acknowledge the justice and admire the acuteness of many of its critical contributions to contemporary debates in moral philosophy.' - A.D.M. Walker, Journal of Applied Philosophy

About the Author

Raimond Gaita is Professor of Moral Philosophy at Kings College London and Professor of Philosophy at Australian Catholic University. His books include the award-winning biography of his father, Romulus, My Father, A Common Humanity and The Philosopher's Dog.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The following is a passage from Chaim Kaplan's Warsaw Diary: A rabbi in Lodz was forced to spit on a Torah scroll that was in the Holy Ark. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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I bought this on Kindle having read the book originally a few years ago. Going back to it now, having subsequently read some of his more recent work ('A Common Humanity', for example), some of the passages of 'Good and Evil' read a little bold. But his project is bold, and it's better to have strong, clear theses than endlessly qualified cop-outs.

I still think Gaita is basically right, and I wish that his work had greater recognition and influence. This book, especially with the new preface, contains all the central elements of his meta-ethics. I'd recommend reading 'Romulus, My Father', not just because it's an excellent book in its own right, but because it really makes clear where a lot of the ideas in 'Good and Evil' come from; the moral example of his father, for example. I suspect there are gaps in this book that are filled by 'A Common Humanity' too, though the new preface and afterword seems to cover the most relevant ground.

Anyone doing moral philosophy ought to be aware of Gaita's work, if only to break out of the standard view of 'Kant versus the utilitarians'.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. Allford on 15 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
this is the most thought-provoking piece of work i've read for a very long time. full of humanity and genuine insight. a treatment of morality that avoids the clinical eye or the wilfully simplistic approach (so popular now in modern ethical debates).

for those who thought goodness could not be persuasively defended as an irreducible property (cf. G.E.Moore) this is a real eye-opener. provided me at least, with a fresh look at why plato was and continues to be so brilliant.

incredibly readable, even for the non-philosopher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Strong arguments, difficult reading 7 Mar. 2008
By Martin Firestein - Published on
Format: Paperback
Professor Gaita's book deals with the dual themes of true (absolute) goodness and remorse for evil deeds. Both concepts seem (if I understand the book correctly) to hinge upon the idea of individuality - the notion that each of us is a thinking, feeling, and rational being who experiences joy and pain and has their own unique perspective on their life and the world around them.

This is definitely a challenging book (probably the most challenging I've ever read). Gaita writes in a very scholarly fashion, and there will be times, most likely, where you'll need a dictionary to understand various words he uses. There are also passages where, quite frankly, his meaning would've been clearer if he had dumbed down the style in which he writes his sentences. Don't be surprised if you end up having to reread passages (or even entire chapters) one or more times before you truly grasp his meaning.

I think the excessively academic style of the text clouds the power of the book's overall message to some degree, but if you can get past that and see what he's trying to say, it's a very powerful book.

Overall, I recommend this book, but be forewarned that it won't be easy reading and won't be a book that you can finish off in a day or two.
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