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What makes an action right or wrong? Why is something good or bad? How does one make moral decisions about what is right and good? These are among the main questions of ethics. This book explores some of the most historically important and currently debated moral theories about the nature of the right and good.
After introducing students in the first chapter to some of the main aims and methods of evaluating a moral theory, the remaining chapters are devoted to an examination of various moral theories including the divine command theory, moral relativism, natural law theory, Kant's moral theory, moral pluralism, virtue ethics, and moral particularism.
Providing an introduction to moral theory that explains and critically examines the theories of such classical moral philosophers as Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, Bentham, Mill, and Ross, this book acquaints students with the work of contemporary moral philosophers.
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Mark Timmons is professor of philosophy at the University of Memphis and author of Morality without Foundations (Oxford, 1999). He has published extensively in the areas of ethics and moral theory.Review:
A first-rate text for anyone interested in an introduction to moral theory. (Choice)
Mark Timmons's Moral Theory is one of the best ethics textbooks in existence: clear, careful, non-superficial, erudite, systematic, wide-ranging, organized, and fair. . . . I recommend it unhesitatingly for upper division undergraduate courses in ethical theory. I also recommend it as a reference for teachers and graduate students of philosophy. (Ethics)
I will be adopting Mark Timmons's Moral Theory. Moral Theory is an outstanding book for my course in ethical theory. (Ted A. Warfield)
It is hard to imagine how anyone could write a better survey of normative moral theory than does Mark Timmons in Moral Theory: An Introduction. (Hooker, Brad)
An ideal introduction to the first-time moral theory student. Mark Timmons balances accessibility with depth. Moral Theory is an excellent preparatory reading for anyone interested in the complexities of modern moral theory. Timmons deserves high praise. (Prakash Chenjen)
Mark Timmons has produced a first-rate introduction to moral philosophy. He manages to present a very broad range of material in an exceptionally clear and fair-minded way. He has covered all of the important bases, and done so by incorporating reference to the best of the recent literature in the areas he has covered. The many topical examples and accessible style make this an ideal source for students who want a rigorous introduction to the central philosophical issues concerning right and wrong. (Russ Shafer-Landau)
Mark Timmons's Moral Theory: An Introduction is a first-rate critical overview of nine important approaches to moral theory. It is remarkably clear and accessible to undergraduates with no prior experience of philosophy and sufficiently deep to be of use to graduate students preparing for a comprehensive exam in ethics. The author's assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the theories is insightful and scrupulously fair. (William Tolhurst)
This is a comprehensive introduction to moral theory. It is well-conceived, well-written, and well-reasoned. (Philosophical Books)
" I believe that it is the best introduction to normative ethics available. Part of what makes the book so good is that it focuses on normative ethics, letting meta-ethical questions come in only as necessary. Many of the existing introductions to moral theory don't make the distinctions clear enough--this is the text I've been looking for! My students enjoyed it as well." (Mark Decker)
A fine and reliable text in this area of philosophy. (Rev. Professor Blaine O'Connor)
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