Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong

New York: Penguin Books (1977)
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Abstract

John Mackie's stimulating book is a complete and clear treatise on moral theory. His writings on normative ethics-the moral principles he recommends-offer a fresh approach on a much neglected subject, and the work as a whole is undoubtedly a major contribution to modern philosophy.The author deals first with the status of ethics, arguing that there are not objective values, that morality cannot be discovered but must be made. He examines next the content of ethics, seeing morality as a functional device, basically the same at all times but changing significantly in response to changes in the human condition. He sketches a practical moral system, criticizing but also borrowing from both utilitarian and absolutist views. Thirdly, the frontiers of ethics, areas of contact with psychology, metaphysics, theology, law and politcs, are explored.Throughout, his aim is to discuss a wide range of questions that are both philosophical and practical, working within a distinctive version of subjectivism-an "error" theory of the apparent objectivity of values. John Mackie has drawn on the contributions of such classic thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Kant and Sidgwick, and on more recent discussions, to produce a thought-provoking account that will inspire both the general reader and the student of philosophy.

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Citations of this work

Moral Error Theory: History, Critique, Defence.Jonas Olson - 2014 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings.David John Chalmers (ed.) - 2002 - New York: Oxford University Press USA.
The transparency of experience.Michael G. F. Martin - 2002 - Mind and Language 17 (4):376-425.
Modeling Morality.Walter Veit - 2019 - In Matthieu Fontaine, Cristina Barés-Gómez, Francisco Salguero-Lamillar, Lorenzo Magnani & Ángel Nepomuceno-Fernández (eds.), Model-Based Reasoning in Science and Technology: Inferential Models for Logic, Language, Cognition and Computation. Springer Verlag. pp. 83–102.

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