The concepts of freedom and equality lie at the heart of much contemporary political debate. But how, exactly, are these concepts to be understood? And do they really represent desirable political values? Norman begins from the premise that freedom and equality are rooted in human experience, and thus have a real and objective content. He then argues that the attempt to clarify these concepts is therefore not just a matter of idle philosophical speculation, but also a matter of practical politics, (...) for the philosophical conclusions we reach also have important implications for the day-to-day world of political action. Touching on the work of such influential thinkers as Mill, Berlin, Hayek, Nozick, Rawls, and Williams, this book serves as a valuable introduction to the central issues in political philosophy. (shrink)
The second edition of this accessible book features a new chapter on Nietzsche and an entirely new Part III that covers contemporary utilitarianism, rights-based ethical theories, contractarian ethics and virtue ethics, and recent debates between realism and anti-realism in ethics. The strengths of the first edition--its readability, historical approach, coverage of specific moral philosophers, and detailed recommended reading sections at the beginning of each chapter--combined with the new material make this an essential resource for all readers interested in ethics.
The author defends his version of the parallel which can be drawn between Wittgenstein's 'private language' argument and the argument that practical reasons must necessarily be public reasons. This position is compared and contrasted with recent attempts by Christine Korsgaard and Ken O'Day to formulate a 'public reasons' argument. The position is defended against the criticism that it cannt account for the practical force of reasons. Finally it is argued that, although the claim that the reasons must be 'public' is (...) not to be confused with the claim that reasons must be 'other-regarding', the former claim does help to remove certain obstacles to the idea of other-regarding reasons. (shrink)