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Profile: Thomas Hurka (University of Toronto)
  1.  20
    Bernard Suits & Thomas Hurka (2005). The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia. Broadview Press.
    In the mid twentieth century the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein famously asserted that games are indefinable; there are no common threads that link them all. "Nonsense," says the sensible Bernard Suits: "playing a game is a voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles." The short book Suits wrote demonstrating precisely that is as playful as it is insightful, as stimulating as it is delightful. Suits not only argues that games can be meaningfully defined; he also suggests that playing games is a central (...)
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  2.  90
    Thomas Hurka (2003). Virtue, Vice, and Value. OUP Usa.
    What are virtue and vice, and how do they relate to other moral properties such as goodness and rightness? Thomas Hurka defends a distinctive perfectionist view according to which the virtues are higher-level intrinsic goods, ones that involve morally appropriate attitudes to other, independent goods and evils. He develops this highly original view in detail and argues for its superiority over rival views, including those given by virtue ethics.
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  3. Thomas Hurka (1993). Perfectionism. Oxford University Press.
    Hurka gives an account of perfectionism, which holds that certain states of humans, such as knowledge, achievement and friendship are good apart from any pleasure they may bring, and that the morally right act is always the one that most promotes these states. Beginning with an analysis of its central concepts, Hurka tries to regain for perfectionism a central place in contemporary moral debate.
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  4.  95
    Thomas Hurka (2005). Proportionality in the Morality of War. Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (1):34–66.
  5. Thomas Hurka (2011). The Best Things in Life: A Guide to What Really Matters. Oxford University Press Usa.
    For centuries, philosophers, theologians, moralists, and ordinary people have asked: How should we live? What makes for a good life? In The Best Things in Life, distinguished philosopher Thomas Hurka takes a fresh look at these perennial questions as they arise for us now in the 21st century. Should we value family over career? How do we balance self-interest and serving others? What activities bring us the most joy? While religion, literature, popular psychology, and everyday wisdom all grapple with these (...)
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  6.  40
    Thomas Hurka (2010). The Best Things in Life: A Guide to What Really Matters. Oxford University Press.
    Feeling good: four ways -- Finding that feeling -- The place of pleasure -- Knowing what's what -- Making things happen -- Being good -- Love and friendship -- Putting it together.
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  7. Thomas Hurka (2007). Nietzsche : Perfectionist. In Brian Leiter & Neil Sinhababu (eds.), Nietzsche and Morality. Oxford University Press 9--31.
    Nietzsche is often regarded as a paradigmatically anti-theoretical philosopher. Bernard Williams has said that Nietzsche is so far from being a theorist that his text “is booby-trapped not only against recovering theory from it, but, in many cases, against any systematic exegesis that assimilates it to theory.”1 Many would apply this view especially to Nietzsche’s moral philosophy. They would say that even when he is making positive normative claims, as against just criticizing existing morality, his claims have neither the content (...)
     
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  8. Daniel Y. Elstein & Thomas Hurka (2009). From Thick to Thin: Two Moral Reduction Plans. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (4):pp. 515-535.
    Many philosophers of the last century thought all moral judgments can be expressed using a few basic concepts — what are today called ‘thin’ moral concepts such as ‘good,’ ‘bad,’ ‘right,’ and ‘wrong.’ This was the view, fi rst, of the non-naturalists whose work dominated the early part of the century, including Henry Sidgwick, G.E. Moore, W.D. Ross, and C.D. Broad. Some of them recognized only one basic concept, usually either ‘ought’ or ‘good’; others thought there were two. But they (...)
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  9.  22
    Thomas Hurka (2016). The Geometry of Desert, by Shelly Kagan. Mind 125 (498):598-604.
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  10. Bruce Ackerman, Richard J. Arneson, Ronald W. Dworkin, Gerald F. Gaus, Kent Greenawalt, Vinit Haksar, Thomas Hurka, George Klosko, Charles Larmore, Stephen Macedo, Thomas Nagel, John Rawls, Joseph Raz & George Sher (2003). Perfectionism and Neutrality: Essays in Liberal Theory. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
    Editors provide a substantive introduction to the history and theories of perfectionism and neutrality, expertly contextualizing the essays and making the collection accessible.
     
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  11. Thomas Hurka (1987). Why Value Autonomy? Social Theory and Practice 13 (3):361-382.
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  12. Thomas Hurka (2006). Virtuous Act, Virtuous Dispositions. Analysis 66 (289):69–76.
    Everyday moral thought uses the concepts of virtue and vice at two different levels. At what I will call a global level it applies these concepts to persons or to stable character traits or dispositions. Thus we may say that a person is brave or has a standing trait of generosity or malice. But we also apply these concepts more locally, to specific acts or mental states such as occurrent desires or feelings. Thus we may say that a particular act (...)
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  13.  94
    Thomas Hurka (2003). Moore in the Middle. Ethics 113 (3):599-628.
    The rhetoric of Principia Ethica, as of not a few philosophy books, is that of the clean break. Moore claims that the vast majority of previous writing on ethics has been misguided and that an entirely new start is needed. In its time, however, the book’s claims to novelty were widely disputed. Reviews in Mind, Ethics, and The Journal of Philosophy applauded the clarity of Moore’s criticisms of Mill, Spencer, and others, but said they were “not altogether original,” had for (...)
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  14. Thomas Hurka (2006). Games and the Good. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 106 (1):217-235.
    Using Bernard Suits’s brilliant analysis (contra Wittgenstein) of playing a game, this paper examines the intrinsic value of game-playing. It argues that two elements in Suits’s analysis make success in games difficult, which is one ground of value, while a third involves choosing a good activity for the property that makes it good, which is a further ground. The paper concludes by arguing that game-playing is the paradigm modern (Marx, Nietzsche) as against classical (Aristotle) value: since its goal is intrinsically (...)
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  15. Thomas Hurka (2006). Value and Friendship: A More Subtle View. Utilitas 18 (3):232-242.
    T. M. Scanlon has cited the value of friendship in arguing against a ‘teleological’ view of value which says that value inheres only in states of affairs and demands only that we promote it. This article argues that, whatever the teleological view's final merits, the case against it cannot be made on the basis of friendship. The view can capture Scanlon's claims about friendship if it holds, as it can consistently with its basic ideas, that (i) friendship is a higher-level (...)
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  16.  84
    Thomas Hurka (2010). Right Act, Virtuous Motive. In Heather D. Battaly (ed.), Virtue and Vice, Moral and Epistemic. Wiley-Blackwell 58-72.
    Abstract: The concepts of virtue and right action are closely connected, in that we expect people with virtuous motives to at least often act rightly. Two well-known views explain this connection by defining one of the concepts in terms of the other. Instrumentalists about virtue identify virtuous motives as those that lead to right acts; virtue-ethicists identify right acts as those that are or would be done from virtuous motives. This essay outlines a rival explanation, based on the "higher-level" account (...)
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  17.  45
    Thomas Hurka (2007). Liability and Just Cause. Ethics and International Affairs 21 (2):199–218.
    in just war theory that is revisionist and even, as he says, “heretical.” Moreover, the general tendency of his revisions is to make the theory less permissive, or less likely to approve the use of military force. In this paper I defend a standard, more permissive version of just war theory against his revisions.
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  18.  50
    Thomas Hurka (1998). Two Kinds of Organic Unity. Journal of Ethics 2 (4):299-320.
    This paper distinguishes two interpretations of G. E. Moore''s principle of organic unities, which says that the intrinsic value of a whole need not equal the sum of the intrinsic values its parts would have outside it. A holistic interpretation, which was Moore''s own, says that parts retain their values when they enter a whole but that there can be an additional value in the whole as a whole that must be added to them. The conditionality interpretation, which has been (...)
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  19.  58
    Thomas Hurka (1996). Monism, Pluralism, and Rational Regret. Ethics 106 (3):555-575.
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  20. Thomas Hurka (2006). Value Theory. In David Copp (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory. Oxford University Press 357--379.
  21.  71
    Thomas Hurka (1983). Value and Population Size. Ethics 93 (3):496-507.
    Just because an angel is better than a stone, it does not follow that two angels are better than one angel and one stone. So said Aquinas (Summa contra Gentiles III, 71), and the sentiment was echoed by Leibniz. In section 118 of the Theodicy he wrote: "No substance is either absolutely precious or absolutely contemptible in the sight of God. It is certain that God attaches more importance to a man than to a lion, but I do not know (...)
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  22. Thomas Hurka (2008). Proportionality and Necessity. In Larry May & Emily Crookston (eds.), War: Essays in Political Philosophy. Cambridge University Press
    to appear in Larry May, ed., War and Political Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
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  23. Thomas Hurka, The Justification of National Partiality.
    The moral issues about nationalism arise from the character of nationalism as a form of partiality. Nationalists care more about their own nation and its members than about other nations and their members; in that way nationalists are partial to their own national group. The question, then, is whether this national partiality is morally justified or, on the contrary, whether everyone ought to care impartially about all members of all nations. As Jeff McMahan emphasizes in [another chapter of the book (...)
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  24.  52
    Thomas Hurka (2001). The Common Structure of Virtue and Desert. Ethics 112 (1):6-31.
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  25. Thomas Hurka (1998). How Great a Good is Virtue? Journal of Philosophy 95 (4):181-203.
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  26.  70
    Thomas Hurka (2006). A Kantian Theory of Welfare? [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 130 (3):603 - 617.
    Two main foundations have been proposed for the side-constraints that deontologists think make it sometimes wrong to do what will have the best effects. Thomist views agree with consequentialism that the bearers of value are always states of affairs, but hold that alongside the duty to promote good states are stronger duties not to choose against them.1 Kantian views locate the relevant values in persons, saying it is respect for persons rather than for any state that makes it wrong to (...)
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  27.  1
    Thomas Hurka (2005). Proportionality in the Morality of War. Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (1):34-66.
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  28. Thomas Hurka (2003). Desert: Individualistic and Holistic. In Serena Olsaretti (ed.), Desert and Justice. Oxford University Press 45--45.
  29.  13
    Thomas Hurka (2013). Aristotle on Virtue. In Julia Peters (ed.), Aristotelian Ethics in Contemporary Perspective. Routledge 9.
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  30.  96
    Thomas Hurka (1987). `Good' and `Good For'. Mind 96 (381):71-73.
  31.  41
    Thomas Hurka (1990). Two Kinds of Satisficing. Philosophical Studies 59 (1):107 - 111.
    Michael Slote has defended a moral view that he calls "satisficing consequentialism." Less demanding than maximizing consequentialism, it requires only that agents bring about consequences that are "good enough." I argue that Slote's characterization of satisficing is ambiguous. His idea of consequences' being "good enough" admits of two interpretations, with different implications in (some) particular cases. One interpretation I call "absolute-level" satisficing, the other "comparative" satisficing. Once distinguished, these versions of satisficing appear in a very different light. Absolute-level satisficing is (...)
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  32.  74
    Thomas Hurka (2010). Asymmetries In Value. Noûs 44 (2):199-223.
    Values typically come in pairs. Most obviously, there are the pairs of an intrinsic good and its contrasting intrinsic evil, such as pleasure and pain, virtue and vice, and desert and undesert, or getting what one deserves and getting its opposite. But in more complex cases there can be contrasting pairs with the same value. Thus, virtue has the positive form of benevolent pleasure in another’s pleasure and the negative form of compassionate pain for his pain, while desert has the (...)
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  33.  19
    Thomas Hurka (1999). From the Editorial Board. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 29 (2):5-5.
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  34.  98
    Thomas Hurka (1982). The Speech Act Fallacy Fallacy. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 12 (3):509-526.
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  35. Thomas Hurka, Satisficing and Substantive Values.
    Satisficing theories, whether of rationality or morality, do not require agents to maximize the good. They demand only that agents bring about outcomes that are, in one or both of two senses, “good enough.” In the first sense, an outcome is good enough if it is above some absolute threshold of goodness; this yields a view that I will call absolute-level satisficing. In the second sense, an outcome is good enough if it is reasonably close to the best outcome the (...)
     
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  36.  79
    Thomas Hurka (2004). Normative Ethics: Back to the Future. In Brian Leiter (ed.), The Future for Philosophy. Oxford University Press
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  37.  89
    Thomas Hurka (1995). Indirect Perfectionism: Kymlicka on Liberal Neutrality. Journal of Political Philosophy 3 (1):36–57.
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  38.  52
    Thomas Hurka (2010). Underivative Duty: Prichard on Moral Obligation. Social Philosophy and Policy 27 (2):111-134.
    20 century. But this common picture of Prichard underestimates his place in the history of ethics, which I believe is central. This is not because he defended completely distinctive ideas; his most important views were shared by other philosophers of his period, from Henry Sidgwick to A.C. Ewing. But it is often Prichard who stated those views most forcefully and defended them best. These views can be summarized in a slogan Prichard himself did not use: “duty is underivative.” But the (...)
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  39.  35
    Thomas Hurka (2014). Sidgwick on Consequentialism and Deontology: A Critique. Utilitas 26 (2):129-152.
    In The Methods of Ethics Henry Sidgwick argued against deontology and for consequentialism. More specifically, he stated four conditions for self-evident moral truth and argued that, whereas no deontological principles satisfy all four conditions, the principles that generate consequentialism do. This article argues that both his critique of deontology and his defence of consequentialism fail, largely for the same reason: that he did not clearly grasp the concept W. D. Ross later introduced of a prima facie duty or duty other (...)
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  40. Thomas Hurka, On Audi's Marriage of Ross and Kant.
    As its title suggests, Robert Audi’s The Good in the Right1 defends an intuitionist moral view like W.D. Ross’s in The Right and the Good. Ross was an intuitionist, first, in metaethics, where he held that there are self-evident moral truths that can be known by intuition. But he was also an intuitionist in the different sense used in normative ethics, since he held that there are irreducibly many such truths. Some concern the intrinsic goods, which are in turn plural, (...)
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  41. Thomas Hurka (2007). Five Questions About Normative Ethics. In Jesper Ryberg & Thomas S. Peterson (eds.), Normative Ethics: Five Questions. Automatic Press/Vip
    in Thomas S. Petersen and Jesper Ryberg, eds., Normative Ethics: 5 Questions.
     
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  42. Thomas Hurka, On Normative Ethics.
    I became interested in normative ethics in my last term as a philosophy undergraduate at the University of Toronto. Influenced by a traditional conception of the discipline, I’d till then studied mostly history of philosophy, with a special interest in, of all things, Hegel. But seeing the value of a balanced philosophy program, I enrolled in an ethics seminar in the winter of 1975. I’d studied the ethics of Plato, Leibniz, Hegel, and others in my history courses, but this was (...)
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  43.  49
    Thomas Hurka (2011). Dworkin , Ronald . Justice for Hedgehogs . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011. Pp. 506. $35.00 (Cloth). Ethics 122 (1):188-194.
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  44.  73
    Thomas Hurka (1987). The Well-Rounded Life. Journal of Philosophy 84 (12):727-746.
  45.  16
    Thomas Hurka (1992). Virtue as Loving the Good. Social Philosophy and Policy 9 (2):149.
    In a chapter of The Methods of Ethics entitled “Ultimate Good”, Henry Sidgwick defends hedonism, the theory that pleasure and only pleasure is intrinsically good, that is, good in itself and apart from its consequences. First, however, he argues against the theory that virtue is intrinsically good. Sidgwick considers both a strong version of this theory — that virtue is the only intrinsic good — and a weaker version — that it is one intrinsic good among others. He tries to (...)
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  46.  52
    Thomas Hurka (1982). Rights and Capital Punishment. Dialogue 21 (4):647-660.
  47.  30
    Thomas Hurka (2001). Vices as Higher-Level Evils. Utilitas 13 (2):195-212.
    This paper sketches an account of the intrinsic goodness of virtue and intrinsic evil of vice that can fit within a consequentialist framework. This treats the virtues and vices as higher-level intrinsic values, ones that consist in, respectively, appropriate and inappropriate attitudes to other, lower-level values. After presenting the main general features of the account, the paper illustrates its strengths by showing how it illuminates a series of particular vices. In the course of doing so, it distinguishes between the categories (...)
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  48.  17
    Thomas Hurka (2014). Many Faces of Virtue. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (2):496-503.
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  49.  18
    Thomas Hurka (2002). Capability, Functioning, and Perfectionism. Apeiron 35 (4):137-162.
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  50.  63
    Thomas Hurka (2001). Liberalism, Perfectionism and Restraint. Steven Wall. Mind 110 (439):878-881.
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