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The Methods of Ethics
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The Methods of Ethics

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  50 ratings  ·  2 reviews
This Hackett edition, first published in 1981, is an unabridged and unaltered republication of the seventh (1907) edition as published by Macmillan and Company, Limited.

From the forward by John Rawls:

In the utilitarian tradition Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900) has an important place. His fundamental work, The Methods of Ethics (first edition 1874, seventh and last edition 1907,
Paperback, 568 pages
Published August 1st 1981 by Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. (first published January 1st 1981)
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The most comprehensive and to my mind the finest and most intelligent look into the dusty drab corners utilitarianism. But that was not why I read it so intently. It was because this is a masterpiece of English prose. When I saw that I was not going to be able to reason as clearly as Sidgwick I tried to see if I could speak like him. But all I did was raise a few eyebrows here and there, and I noticed that people started backing away from me.
All ethical argumentation ultimately reduces to reasoning about happiness. Sidgwick is persuasive to an impressive degree, but not absolutely.

Are preferences conducive to happiness really always exogenous? How are we to arbitrate between different people's conflicting desires for happiness without a higher good?
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  • On What Matters (2 Volume Set)
  • Utilitarianism: For and Against
  • Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy
  • Natural Goodness
  • Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong
  • Principia Ethica (Philosophical Classics)
  • A Spinoza Reader: The Ethics and Other Works
  • Political Liberalism
  • The Expanding Circle: Ethics and Sociobiology
  • The Philosophy of Language
  • The Fable of the Bees and Other Writings
  • Experiments in Ethics
  • Frontiers of Justice Disability, Nationality, Species Membership (OIP): Disability, Nationality, Species Membership (Tanner Lectures on Human Values) (The Tanner Lectures on Human Values)
  • J. S. Mill: 'On Liberty' and Other Writings
  • The Sources of Normativity
  • Mortal Questions
  • Word and Object
  • Mind, Language And Society: Philosophy In The Real World
Outlines of the History of Ethics for English Readers Practical Ethics: Collection of Addresses and Essays Essays On Ethics And Method The Methods of Ethics (Interesting Ebooks) The Elements of Politics

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“Truthspeaking is only valuable as a means to the preservation of society: only if it be admitted that it is valuable on this ground I should say that it is implied that the preservation of society---or some further end to which this preservation, again, is a means---must be valuable per se, and therefore something at which a rational being, as such, ought to aim. If it be granted that we need not look beyond the preservation of society, the primary ‘dictate of reason' in this case would be ‘that society ought to be preserved': but reason would also dictate that truth ought to be spoken, so far as truthspeaking is recognised as the indispensable or fittest means to this end: and the notion “ought'' as used in either dictate is that which I have been trying to make clear.” 0 likes
“For we conceive it as the aim of a philosopher, as such, to do somewhat more than define and formulate the common normal opinions of mankind. His function is to tell men what they ought to think, rather than what they do think: he is expected to transcend Common Sense in his premises, and is allowed a certain divergence from Common Sense in his conclusions. It is true that the limits of this deviation are firmly, though indefinitely, fixed: the truth of a philosopher's premises will always be tested by the acceptability of his conclusions: if in any important point he be found in flagrant conflict with common opinion, his method is likely to be declared invalid. Still, though he is expected to establish and concatenate at least the main part of the commonly accepted moral rules, he is not necessarily bound to take them as the basis on which his own system is constructed. Rather, we should expect that the history of Moral Philosophy--so far at least as those whom we may call orthodox thinkers are concerned--would be a history of attempts to enunciate, in full breadth and clearness, those primary intuitions of Reason, by the scientific application of which the common moral thought of mankind may be at once systematized and corrected.” 0 likes
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