Actual Ethics

Cambridge University Press
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Actual Ethics offers a moral defense of the 'classical liberal' political tradition and applies it to several of today's vexing moral and political issues. James Otteson argues that a Kantian conception of personhood and an Aristotelian conception of judgment are compatible and even complementary. He shows why they are morally attractive, and perhaps most controversially, when combined, they imply a limited, classical liberal political state. Otteson then addresses several contemporary problems - wealth and poverty, public education, animal welfare, and affirmative action - and shows how each can be plausibly addressed within the Kantian, Aristotelian and classical liberal framework. Written in clear, engaging, and jargon-free prose, Actual Ethics will give students and general audiences an overview of a powerful and rich moral and political tradition that they might not otherwise consider.
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About the author

James Otteson is associate professor in and chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. The author of Adam Smith Marketplace of Life, he has held research fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, at the Centre for the Study of Scottish Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen, and at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center, Bowling Green State University, Ohio. He has also received grants from the University of Alabama, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Earhart Foundation.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Jun 19, 2006
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Pages
341
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ISBN
9781139457101
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
Philosophy / Political
Political Science / History & Theory
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This content is DRM protected.
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Adam Smith (1723–90) studied under Francis Hutcheson at the University of Glasgow, befriended David Hume while lecturing on rhetoric and jurisprudence in Edinburgh, was elected Professor of Logic, Professor of Moral Philosophy, Vice-rector, and eventually Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow, and, along with Hutcheson, Hume, and a few others, went on to become one of the chief figures of the astonishing period of learning known as the Scottish Enlightenment. He is the author of two books: The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). TMS brought Smith considerable acclaim during his lifetime and was quickly considered one of the great works of moral theory. It deeply impressed Immanuel Kant, for example, who called Smith his 'Liebling' or 'favourite', and Charles Darwin, who in his Descent of Man (1871) endorsed and accepted several of Smith's 'striking' conclusions. TMS went through fully six revised editions during Smith's lifetime. Since the nineteenth century, Smith's fame has largely rested on his Wealth of Nations, which must be considered one of the most important works of the millennium: its argument for free trade, its explanation of the price mechanism and the division of labor, its qualified defense of market economies, and its powerful criticisms of mercantilist economic theories are now standard fare in economics courses, not to mention the basis of a large portion of today's worldwide economic policy. And its account of human nature is now classic. Both The Theory of Moral Sentiments and the Wealth of Nations reveal Smith's impressively broad learning, but he wrote and lectured on a number of other subjects as well. This anthology collects, for the first time in one volume, not only generous selections from each of Smith's books but also substantial selections from his other work, including his lectures on jurisprudence, his history and philosophy of science, his criticism and belles lettres, and his philosophy of language. It also includes two important letters from Hume, as well as Smith's account of Hume's death.
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