Wednesday, September 5, 2007
My website features a number of scholarly and public-oriented materials, and now for the first time I am going to offer book reviews. Many of my publications are fairly wide-ranging and forbid, for reasons of length, a detailed discussion of many philosophical views. Book reviews afford an ideal chance for such a discussion. My first book review is of David Brink, Moral Realism and the Foundations of Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 1989). Warning: it is academic, and especially likely to be clear to those who have completed advanced studies in ethical theory, metaethics in particular. That said, clarity is still my first rule of style, and a determined lay person could conceivably make sense of it. This particular review focuses on one of the key questions of ethics: which is correct, moral realism or moral anti-realism? Anti-realism is the view that nothing is really right or wrong, good or bad, and the like. Realism is just the opposite. As well, the review examines one of the finest articulations of "indirect utilitarianism," any theory that claims it maximizes utility for people not to deliberate in a utilitarian manner. This claim sounds paradoxical on the surface, and in fact I find reason to claim that the direct approach of my own theory, best caring ethics, is preferable (see best caring ethics as an ethical theory sketched in my article, featured on this website, "The Rights of Animal Persons"). I look forward to doing future book reviews on books that I regard to be particularly significant and substantive.