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How Should We Live?: A Practical Approach to Everyday Morality

How Should We Live?: A Practical Approach to Everyday Morality (Hardback)

£30.00
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Synopsis

What is your highest ideal? What code do you live by? We all know that these differ from person to person. Nonetheless philosophers have long sought a single, overriding ideal that should guide everyone, always, everywhere, and after centuries of debate we're no closer to an answer. In How Should We Live?, John Kekes offers a refreshing alternative, one in which we eschew absolute ideals and instead consider our lives as they really are. Kekes argues that ideal theories are abstractions from the realities of everyday life and its problems. The well-known arenas where absolute ideals conflict-dramatic moral controversies about complex problems involved in abortion, euthanasia, plea bargaining, privacy, and other hotly debated topics - should not be the primary concerns of moral thinking. Instead, he focuses on the simpler problems of ordinary lives in ordinary circumstances. In each chapter he presents the conflicts that a real person - a schoolteacher, lawyer, father, or nurse, for example - is likely to face.

He then uses their situations to shed light on the mundane issues we all must deal with in everyday life, such as how we use our limited time, energy, or money; how we balance short- and long-term satisfactions; how we deal with conflicting loyalties; how we control our emotions; how we deal with people we dislike; and so on. Along the way he engages some of our most important theorists, including Donald Davidson, Thomas Nagel, Christine Korsgaard, Harry Frankfurt, Charles Taylor, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Bernard Williams, ultimately showing that no ideal - whether autonomy, love, duty, happiness, or truthfulness-trumps any other. Rather than rejecting such ideals, How Should We Live? offers a way of balancing them by a practical and pluralistic approach - rather than a theory - that helps us cope with our problems and come closer to what our lives should be.

Philosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesPhilosophy TheoryEthics & moral philosophy Publisher: The University of Chicago Press Publication Date: 08/09/2014 ISBN-13: 9780226155654  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: To Order. Estimated despatch in 1-3 weeks.  

John Kekes is professor emeritus of philosophy at the University at Albany, State University of New York and research professor at Union College. He is the author of many books, most recently The Human Condition, Enjoyment: The Moral Significance of Styles of Life, and The Enlargement of Life: Moral Imagination at Work.

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