I had a strange dream, or half-waking vision, not long ago. I found myself at the top of a mountain in the mist, feeling very pleased with myself, not just for having climbed the mountain, but for having achieved my life's ambition, to find a way of answering moral questions rationally. But as I was preening myself on this achievement, the mist began to clear, and I saw that I was surrounded on the mountain top by the graves of all (...) those other philosophers, great and small, who had had the same ambition, and thought they had achieved it. And I have come to see, reflecting on my dream, that, ever since, the hard-working philosophical worms have been nibbling away at their systems and showing that the achievement was an illusion. True, their skeletons, indigestible to worms, remained, and were surprisingly similar to one another. But I was led to think again about what one can, and what one cannot, achieve in this direction. (shrink)
R. M. Hare writes in his Preface: 'I offer this taxonomy of ethical theories to all those who are lost in the moral maze, including many of my philosophical colleagues. They are lost because, like most of those who hold forth on moral questions in the media, they have no map of the maze. This is has been my aim to provide.' Sorting Out Ethics is a characteristically lucid and lively survey of rival ethical theories by one of the most (...) influential moral philosophers of the century. It also constitutes a definitive summary of Hare's own fundamental ethical position. (shrink)
R. M. Hare has brought together in this volume the best of his uncollected essays in moral philosophy, several of them previously unpublished or revised for this collection. They span the whole range of his ethical interests, from the most abstract to the most down-to-earth. The volume provides a compelling demonstration of Hare's commitment to bringing together the theoretical and the practical in ethics.
R. M. Hare, one of the most widely discussed of today's moral philosophers, here presents his most important essays on religion and education, in which he brings together the theoretical and the practical. The book opens with an exposition of his ideas on the meaning of religious language. There follow several essays, theoretical and practical, on the relations between religion and morality, which have deep implications for moral education. The central question addressed in the rest of the volume is how (...) children can be educated to think for themselves, freely but rationally, about moral questions; and Professor Hare examines the effects on society of failure to achieve this. He argues that those who want to dispense with morality are in effect resigning from a vital educational task. Attitudes to euthanasia and to equality of educational opportunity are taken as examples of how our thinking can go wrong. -/- 'The former Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford . . . has brought together a collection of papers exploring, with his customary clarity of thought and elegance of expression, the light which moral philosophy can shed on certain religious and educational questions . . . it is illuminating to follow an eminent philosopher at work on matters of great practical importance, and in prodding theologians to think more clearly.' Church Times -/- '[a] cogent and compelling vision, enunciated with all the intelligence, elegance and vigour for which Hare is justly renowned' Times Literary Supplement -/- 'All the essays are a delight to read: clear, succinct, precisely expressed, and devoid of technical jargon. The collection will be welcomed by philosophers of education.' Theology -/- 'an important resource for persons interested in clarifying the language of moral education in a religiously pluralist society' Religious Studies Review -/- 'admirably clear and straightforward' IJournal of the American Academy of Religion -/- 'It is . . . a pleasure to receive for review a book by someone who is palpably expert in a particular discipline, and able to deploy that discipine on topics which have a demonstrably practical relevance to education. Most books satisfy neither criterion; this one satisfies both. Add Hare's well-known clarity of style and presentation, and we have something really worth reading.' Oxford Review of Education. (shrink)
R.M. Hare is well known both for his fundamental work in ethical theory and for his applications of it to practical issues. For this volume he has selected the best of his writings on medical ethics and related topics. The book's chief theoretical interest lies in its synthesis between utilitarian and Kantian ethics, which are shown to have the same practical consequences. The main practical thesis in the book is that we can harm possible people by preventing them from becoming (...) actual people. This thesis, if understood and accepted, would radically alter the terms of the public debate about embryo experimentation and population policy, and (perhaps surprisingly) support a fairly liberal view on abortion. There are also general introductions to medical and psychiatric ethics, and essays on the concept of health, on the morality of experimentation on children, on health care policy, on free will, and on vegetarianism. (shrink)
Torture does need to be defined if we are to know exactly what we are seeking to ban; but no single definition will do, because there are many possible ones, and we may want to treat different practices that might be called torture differently. Compare the case of homicide; we do not want to punish manslaughter as severely as murder, and may not want to punish killing in self-defence at all. There are degrees of torture as of murder. Unclarities simply (...) play into the hands of would-be torturers. Downie is unsuccessful in deriving the duty of doctors not to be involved in torture from an analysis of the word `doctor'. It may be contrary to the role-duty of doctors to participate in torture; but there might be other duties which overrode this role-duty. The right approach is to ask what principles for the conduct of doctors have the highest acceptance-utility, or, as Kant might have equivalently put it, what the impartial furtherance of everyone's ends demands. This approach yields the result that torture (suitably defined) should be banned absolutely. It also yields prescriptions for the conduct of doctors where, in spite of them, torture is taking place. (shrink)
R.M. Hare is one of the most widely discussed of today's moral philosophers. In this volume he has collected a number of essays, including one which is previously unpublished, which fill in the theoretical background of his thought. Each essay is self-contained, but together they give a connected picture of his views on such questions as the objectivity and rationality of moral thinking, the issue between the ethical realists and their opponents, the place in our moral thought of appeals to (...) common convictions, and how to tell whether a feature of a situation is morally relevant. (shrink)
These essays, all written within the last decade, represent Hare's thinking on a range of contemporary issues in political morality, including political obligation, terrorism, morality and war, rights, quality, and the environment. Three of the essays are previously unpublished.
Many practical issues in medical ethics depend on an understanding of the concept of health. The main question is whether it is a purely descriptive or a partly evaluative or normative concept. After posing some puzzles about the concept, the views of C Boorse, who thinks it is descriptive, are discussed and difficulties are found for them. An evaluative treatment is then suggested, and used to shed light on some problems about mental illness and to compare and contrast it with (...) physical illness and with political and other deviancies which are not illnesses. (shrink)
R. M. Hare (1982). Plato. In R. M. Hare, Jonathan Barnes & Henry Chadwick (eds.), Founders of Thought. Oxford University Press.
The earliest philosopher whose work has survived extensively, Plato remains the starting-point in the study of logic, metaphysics, and moral and political philosophy. R.M. Hare provides a concise, well-connected introduction to Plato's dialogues, focusing on the central problems which led Plato to become a philosopher. He describes these problems and Plato's solutions with great clarity, and sets them in the context of Plato's life and times, and his place in the history of philosophy.
Founders of Thought offers introductions to three of the most influential intellects of classical antiquity: Plato, whose dialogues form the basis of the study of logic, metaphysics, and moral and political philosophy; Aristotle, polymath, tutor of Alexander the Great and "master of those who know"; and Augustine, the Christian convert who asked God to make him good, "but not yet." Brief, accessible, and written by outstanding scholars, these studies offer readers an introduction to the ideas and achievements of the thinkers (...) whose works are essential to a full understanding of western thought and culture. (shrink)
Properly universal prescriptions (necessary in analysis of value-judgments) entail past-tense imperatives. does the unusability of the latter rule out the former? no, because there are many usable rules which entail past-tense imperatives. else we could not point to past breaches when teaching the rule, which remains the same throughout the teaching process, or punish for past breaches of the same rule which is still in force. similar problem about imperatives in other than the second person succumbs to kenny's distinction between (...) directives and fiats and that between different senses of 'the person commanded'. (shrink)
This article discusses the definition of slavery as a status in society and a relation to an owner. an imaginary case in which utilitarian arguments could justify slavery. this case, just because it is highly unlikely to occur in the actual world, does not provide an argument against utilitarianism. if it did occur, slavery would be justified in this case, but that is no reason for abandoning our intuitive principle condemning slavery. the adoption of this principle has in the actual (...) world a good utilitarian justification. slavery is wrong because in the world of men as they are it will almost always cause misery. (shrink)