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On What MattersVolume Two$
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Derek Parfit

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572816

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199572816.001.0001

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Hiking the Range

Hiking the Range

(p.33) Hiking the Range
On What Matters

Susan Wolf

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the book, which deals with philosophical ethics. It is filled with challenging and provocative discussions on a wide range of philosophical positions and problems. All of these discussions are at least loosely presented as being in the service of the search for the supreme principle of morality. This chapter comments on the suggestion that there is a single true morality, a suggestion that has both a metaethical and a normative aspect. It argues that there are tensions in our common moral thought at least some of which are reflected in the differences among Kantian, contractualist, and consequentialist perspectives. One such tension, which is frequently associated with the difference between Kantian and consequentialist ethics, is that between respect for autonomy and concern for optimific results. The chapter considers how this tension disappears when the author of this book transforms Immanuel Kant's theory. It also examines the tensions between contractualist and noncontractualist theories, as well as the importance (or unimportance) of finding a supreme principle of morality.

Keywords:   philosophical ethics, morality, contractualism, consequentialism, autonomy, optimific results, Immanuel Kant

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