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By James R. Otteson

'Actual Ethics' deals an ethical security of the 'classical liberal' political culture and applies it to numerous of today's vexing ethical and political matters.

James Otteson argues Kantian notion of personhood and an Aristotelian notion of judgment fit or even complementary. He indicates why they're morally appealing, and maybe such a lot controversially, whilst mixed, they suggest a restricted, classical liberal political kingdom. Otteson then addresses numerous modern difficulties - wealth and poverty, public schooling, animal welfare, and affirmative motion - and indicates how every one will be plausibly addressed in the Kantian, Aristotelian and classical liberal framework.

Written in transparent, attractive, and jargon-free prose, 'Actual Ethics' will provide scholars and normal audiences an summary of a strong and wealthy ethical and political culture that they may not in a different way think about.

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Example text

If one does not help distant suffering people, one is immoral; if one does, one is (at least on this count) not immoral. Yet we tend to recognize in our everyday dealings with people something like the two-place conception I have been describing. We say that I disagree with what you say, but that you have a right to say it; we say that you are wasting your life doing what you do, but that it is your business to do so; we say that you are making a mistake to pay so much money for a car, but that it is your money.

I suggest that a theory of causation that counts as “causes” actions or events whose presence or absence makes no material difference is not a good theory. Instead, what seems required is a theory of causation by which the only actions or events that count as “causing” something to happen are those for which it is the case that, at a minimum,28 had they not been there or had they not acted the way they did, the event in question would not have happened either. That certainly fits better with our everyday notion of causation, and I believe it will capture our considered judgments in the majority of cases.

And of course, yes, we are biologically driven to find means to survive and to pass on our genes, but what means to these ends should one avail oneself of? Should you be a lawyer, an accountant, a plumber, a philosophy professor? Should you travel and live the life of a bohemian, or should you settle down and start a family? How many kids should you have? If we 30 See Chandran Kukathas’s The Liberal Archipelago. 32 Working Out the Position can know generally that exercise is good for everyone, does that mean that you should run marathons, practice martial arts, go for daily walks, lift weights thrice weekly?

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