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Platonistic and Disenchanting Theories of Ethics

Hugh S. Chandler

In the first half of this book, Hugh S. Chandler updates the theory that rational creatures should be governed by «self love» and concludes that creatures that operate in this way should sometimes be quite nasty. Nevertheless, such creatures can be just as «rational» and «reasonable» as anyone. Ordinary reason or reasonableness do not demand genuine, full-scale, self-sacrificial virtue. In the second half of the book, the author adds a «conscience» to the creatures described in the earlier chapters. Given both a «conscience» and «self love,» he says, we have a basis for genuine morality. Presumably our «conscience» for the most part tells us what is truly, objectively, irreducibly right and wrong. Chandler argues that this traditional view of morality is still acceptable. The book is intended for use as a text in upper level courses and seminars in ethics, but it is also written for non-students who are interested in the subject.