September 5, 2012
By Thom Brooks
I warmly recommend Robin Attfield’s new Ethics: An Overview recently published by Continuum. The book’s blurb:
“This is the definitive companion to the study of ethics. It provides students with an accessible, comprehensive and philosophically rigorous introduction to the major thinkers, issues and debates. Ideal for use on undergraduate courses, but also of lasting value for postgraduate students, the structure and content of this textbook closely reflect the way ethics is studied.
Thematically structured, the text provides a historical overview of the subject and a comprehensive introduction to the main branches of ethics: meta-ethics, normative ethics and applied ethics. The book also includes coverage of key aspects of value theory and key issues concerning agency and moral responsibility. It applies ethics to contemporary issues such as climate change, the environment, development, poverty and war. Crucially, the book encourages students to do ethics for themselves, equipping the reader with a wide-ranging grasp of the discipline in all its central areas of contemporary study and reflection.
Robin Attfield’s cogent and thorough analysis is supplemented by a companion website featuring a wealth of student-friendly features, including chapter summaries, study questions, exercises, and a comprehensive guide to further reading and other resources.”
‘An uncommonly clear, fair-minded and up-to-date survey of this vast and contentious field. Attfield is particularly good about Evolution.’
— Mary Midgley, author of Beast and Man: the Roots of Human Nature
‘… one of the most comprehensive overviews of the discipline… The intellectual and moral thoughtfulness so characteristic of Attfield’s work make his book one of the best introductions for all those who expect from ethics both conceptual analyses and concrete answers to the question: What is right?’
— Vittorio Hösle, Paul Kimball Professor of Arts and Letters, Notre Dame University, USA
‘This is an admirable up-to-date introduction to the main fields of ethics… Attfield consistently avoids being magisterial. Instead, the reader is invited to think things through for himself and to come to his own conclusions.’
— Dieter Birnbacher, Professor of Philosophy, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany