David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In his book, Conversations on Ethics, Alex Voorhoeve interviews eleven prominent moral philosophers about central aspects of their views as well as about their intellectual development.1 In their order of appearance, these are: Frances Kamm, Peter Singer, Daniel Kahneman, Philippa Foot, Alasdair MacIntyre, Ken Binmore, Allan Gibbard, Thomas Scanlon, Bernard Williams, Harry Frankfurt, and David Velleman. The book is both richly instructive and delightful to read. Voorhoeve has a sophisticated command of his interlocutorsʼ philosophical views, and his questions often hit the nail on the head. He has the talent to ask difficult questions in a welcoming way, setting the stage for his interviewees to explain their positions as clearly as they can. For the reader interested in moral theory this is a true asset, since Voorhoeve managed to assemble quite a few of the figures that have shaped the face of moral philosophy in the past generation to discuss fundamentals of their moral views. As a set of conversations with different philosophers, the book does not aim to advance any philosophical thesis of its own. Rather, the conversational method, with its unique ability to dwell on the more obscure or vulnerable junctions of a philosophical view, helps deepen our understanding of what is sometimes hidden between the lines of systematic texts. My own comments, accordingly, focus mainly on some of the virtues of the bookʼs dialogical method. A review of the main ideas presented is first in order, however.
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