Some Fundamental Ethical Controversies

Henry Sidgwick

in Essays on Ethics and Method

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780198250234
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598432 | DOI:

Series: British Moral Philosophers

 Some Fundamental Ethical Controversies

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In this piece, Sidgwick provides his own commentary on the Methods of Ethics, the treatise in which he endeavours both to expound the various methods of ethics implicit in our commonsense moral reasoning and to point out where they conflict. By method of ethics, Sidgwick means a rational procedure by which we determine what individuals ought to do. His aim in this paper is to clarify points of the main treatise and to address certain objections, such as Fowler's challenge that Sidgwick provides an inadequate theoretical solution to the problem of free will. To this Sidgwick replies that he had no pretension to offer such a solution, restricting himself to a practical solution to the conflict between the formidable evidence for determinism and the libertarian affirmation of consciousness at the time of deliberate action.

Keywords: commonsense; consciousness; determinism; ethics; free will; method; ought; rational procedure; Sidgwick

Chapter.  6482 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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