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First Things: An Inquiry Into the First Principles of Morals and Justice
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First Things: An Inquiry Into the First Principles of Morals and Justice

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  20 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
This book restores to us an understanding that was once settled in the "moral sciences": that there are propositions, in morals and law, which are not only true but which cannot be otherwise. It was understood in the past that, in morals or in mathematics, our knowledge begins with certain axioms that must hold true of necessity; that the principles drawn from these axioms ...more
Paperback, 447 pages
Published August 21st 1986 by Princeton University Press (first published August 1st 1986)
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Bill Cunningham
Aug 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any college student, politically interested adult
Recommended to Bill by: William F. Buckley
An excellent modern summation of natural law and the dead end of philosophical and moral relativism.

Arkes presents a clear and cogent outline of First Principles - the immutable and undeniable foundations of moral argument. Much political argument today goes off the rails because of the ill-fated modern attempt to avoid these principles.

Understanding these First Principles helps, among other things, to comprehend and articulate the dividing line between the political - those things about which
...more
Michael Rittenhouse
Aug 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Prof. Arkes begins with little more than "I think, therefore I am" and constructs an impervious Judeo-Christian ethic.

I'd recommend this especially for college students on summer break.
Yodee
Jul 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
an inquiry into the first principles of morals and justice.
Jacob Mooney
Aug 22, 2011 is currently reading it
So good!!!
Cathy Sahu
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Jacob O'connor
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Arkes advances a Kantian ethics, and he does so well.  At least in theory.  His writing requires effort, but it's worth it.  My big takeaway is that moral propositions are universal.  Meaning they apply the same to everyone in the same circumstances.  He adds something that sidesteps the main objection to Kant.  Something is wrong when we do it *without justification*.  Many have complained that Kant's "categorical imperative" would keep us from lying to the Gestapo.  The Secret Police ask if we ...more
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