Chapter

Introduction

David Phillips

in Sidgwickian Ethics

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199778911
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919093 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199778911.003.0001
Introduction

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My aim in this book is to interpret and evaluate the central argument of The Methods of Ethics, in a way that brings out the important conceptual and historical connections between Sidgwick's views and contemporary moral philosophy. I suggest that the most exciting, interpretively troubling, and ultimately rewarding parts of the Methods are the parts where Sidgwick is discussing conflicts between the different methods: most centrally III XI, III XIII, IV II, and the Concluding Chapter. I focus on these (as I think) most interesting parts of the Methods: on the metaethical and epistemological views that shape his treatment of the conflicts, as articulated particularly in I III and I VIII, and on the two key conflicts, between, respectively, utilitarianism and intuitionism, and utilitarianism and egoism. By focusing on them, I believe we can see most of what is most important and distinctive about Sidgwick.

Keywords: The Methods of Ethics; utilitarianism; intuitionism; egoism; conflicts

Chapter.  2826 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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