The Why and the What of It

Book - 2012
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Perseus Publishing

An essential text for all students and scholars of ethics and political philosophy, this book offers a thought-provoking presentation of distinguished philosopher James P. Sterba's moral and political philosophy, with probing critical responses from some of the most prominent scholars in the field today.

This book invites philosophers and their students to consider two of the most fundamental questions in moral and political philosophy: Why be moral? And, what does morality require? Distinguished philosopher James P. Sterba presents his unique views on these topics. Sterba first argues from rationality to morality and then from morality to substantial equality. Prominent scholars Charles W. Mills, Candace A. Vogler, Anita Superson, Russ Shafer-Landau, Allan F. Gibbard, Gerald Gaus, and Tibor Machan provide thought-provoking critical responses. In the final part, Sterba addresses these critiques, inviting readers to explore the various arguments and reach their own conclusions on these fundamental questions of moral and political philosophy. Morality: The Why and What of It is an essential text for all students and scholars of ethics and political philosophy.

Book News
This collection of essays examines what morality requires of us and why we should even be moral. They are organized around Sterba's opening essay, which attempts to answer these questions by first of all arguing that we must be moral because we are rationally compelled, but by also advancing a number of positions from a libertarian perspective about egotism and altruism, negative liberty, welfare and equality. Each of essays not written by Sterba critiques a facet of his argument. They focus mostly on the rational underpinning of morality; moral skepticism; egotism, altruism and social cooperation; and how libertarianism does not lead to welfare and equality. Sterba responds to these critiques in a final essay. The other authors are professors of philosophy with specialties in moral thinking. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Boulder, Colo. : Westview Press, c2012
ISBN: 9780813346816
Branch Call Number: 170 MOR
Characteristics: viii, 253 p. :,ill. ;,23 cm.
Additional Contributors: Sterba, James P.


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