Imatge de l'autor

James Rachels (1941–2003)

Autor/a de The Elements of Moral Philosophy

18+ obres 1,879 Membres 8 Ressenyes 1 preferits

Sobre l'autor

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Obres de James Rachels

Obres associades

A Companion to Ethics (1991) — Col·laborador — 386 exemplars
Western Philosophy: An Anthology (1996) — Autor, algunes edicions185 exemplars
The Moral Life: An Introductory Reader in Ethics and Literature (1999) — Col·laborador — 178 exemplars
Applied Ethics (1986) — Col·laborador — 121 exemplars
God (Hackett Readings in Philosophy) (1996) — Col·laborador, algunes edicions57 exemplars
Divine Commands and Morality (1981) — Col·laborador — 26 exemplars


Coneixement comú

Nom normalitzat
Rachels, James
Data de naixement
Data de defunció
Lloc de naixement
Columbus, Georgia, USA
Lloc de defunció
Birmingham, Alabama, USA
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Ph.D.)
Mercer University



I thought this was a wonderfully readable short introduction to the philosophy of morality. Serious but not overly complicated. For a 200 page paperback it's frighteningly expensive since it's frequently used as a textbook; thank god for libraries! I read the 4th ed of this book, so I'm not sure how different the most recent 6th edition is.
steve02476 | Hi ha 4 ressenyes més | Jan 3, 2023 |
Socrates: We are discussing no small matter, but how we ought to live.

This review is mostly for who is new to the world of Ethics-by-the-book, as I am.
Therefore, if you want to expand your knowledge and ethical reasoning beyond the golden rule, this book might be the best start. It is very up-to-date, very structured, not boring at all: it tries to explain philosophically the answers to many questions we have asked ourselves:

  • [How] should we judge cultures that have different moral codes?

  • • Does morality depend on religion? What is their true relationship, anyway?

  • • How can you objectively define what is right and what is wrong?

  • • Are women different than men or not? Should we treat men and women differently?

  • • etc.

After starting with very interesting and modern examples to illustrate the questions above, the author goes on to analyse the proposals of the great philosophers to explain Ethics as a solution for humanity (and not only) so that the happiness of the individual is also optimised. Thus, it goes to the description, pro's and con's of:

  • • Ethical Egoism - do whatever is in your best interest

  • • Utilitarianism - do whatever promotes the best ratio of happiness over unhappiness in the world

  • • Kant's idea that we should find moral rules that can be followed by everybody no matter the circumstances. (E.g.: you shouldn't lie, no matter what.)

  • • Social Contract - do whatever is of mutual benefit to you and the society you live in as a self-interested, rational individual

All of them seem attractive at first sight, but no, none is perfect :)
Actually, that is what disappoints me regarding this book - that there is no clear solution to "how we ought to live" and the moral problems described in the first chapters seem to remain unsolved, because the author tries to be politically correct. Nevertheless, the ideas of Ethics of Care (feminism) and Ethics of Virtue proposed are almost convincing.

To put it differently,the fact that the book is more a textbook than a philosophical thesis meant to convince, is the reason why I liked much, much more the first Ethics book I've read -- [b:Ética para Amador|112646|Ética para Amador|Fernando Savater||108460], by [a:Fernando Savater|17835|Fernando Savater|]; this one went straight to my heart, even though it is simpler (it is a book for teenagers.) So I will promote it to 4 or 5 starts.
… (més)
luciarux | Hi ha 4 ressenyes més | Jul 3, 2022 |
A great 14-page condensation of _The Case for Animal Rights_ by Tom Regan and "The Divine Imperative" by Emil Brunner. Rachels is the naturalist philosopher who opened the door to a great many pro-animal theorists.
vegetarian | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Sep 6, 2012 |

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½ 3.6

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