The elements of moral philosophy

[Dubuque]: McGraw-Hill Education. Edited by James Rachels (2015)
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Abstract

Moral philosophy is the study of what morality is and what it requires of us. As Socrates said, it's about "how we ought to live"-and why. It would be helpful if we could begin with a simple, uncontroversial definition of what morality is. Unfortunately, we cannot. There are many rival theories, each expounding a different conception of what it means to live morally, and any definition that goes beyond Socrates's simple formula-tion is bound to offend at least one of them. This should make us cautious, but it need not paralyze us. In this chapter, I will describe the "minimum conception" of morality.

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Stuart Rachels
University of Alabama

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