Should we aim to maximize happiness? Are there characteristics that we should foster within ourselves? Why is it important to act morally? From the ancient Greeks to Sartre, from utilitarianism to the categorical imperative, Ethics: A Beginner’s Guide presents this vital topic of philosophy via its most influential thinkers and theories.
With characteristic wit, philosopher Peter Cave steers us around well known and not-so-well known ethical traps – in the private sphere, in community life, and in relation to God and religion.
As well as a guide to ongoing theoretical debates, Cave shows how the discipline helps us to confront topical controversies including those of the environment, abortion, and animal welfare. For anyone who questions how we ought to live, there is no better introduction to ethics and how it relates to twenty-first-century society.
Writer and broadcaster Peter Cave teaches philosophy for The Open University and City University London. Author of the bestselling Can A Robot Be Human?, he chairs the Humanist Philosophers’ Group, frequently contributes to philosophy journals and magazines, from the academic to the popular, and has presented several philosophy programmes for the BBC. He lives in London.
“Rich, comprehensive and provocative, with illustrative examples that are original and stimulating… altogether a fine and authoritative introduction to the subject.”
– Michael Clark – Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Nottingham
“A must-read. It is thorough and complete, yet always accessible and entertaining, written in Cave’s signature sharp style. No matter what your background, this book will inform and challenge you – just as moral philosophizing should.”
– Andrew Pessin – Professor of Philosophy, Connecticut College
“Readable and entertaining… With characteristic verve, Peter Cave surveys a wide range of topics and challenges readers to think their way through complex moral problems. For those seeking to make sense of life’s dilemmas, as well as for students enrolled in philosophy courses, this is an ideal guide.”
– Dan Cohn-Sherbok – Professor Emeritus of Judaism, University of Wales
“A clear, comprehensive, and witty tour of the terrain.”
– William Irwin – Professor of Philosophy, King’s College Pennsylvania
“Lucid, witty, erudite, and wise. This is more than a brilliant survey of ethical theories: it is an invitation to reflect on your life and to challenge your own settled views.”