What is normative ethics

Given the range and diversity of the field, there is no single article that can comprehensively survey normative ethics. This suggests two alternative routes into the subject. Beca

What is normative ethics

Given the range and diversity of the field, there is no single article that can comprehensively survey normative ethics. This suggests two alternative routes into the subject. Because of the role played by history in contemporary normative ethics, one route to an overview of the subject is via a historical study such as MacIntyre 1998. It is a strength, not a weakness, of this recently republished classic that the author has a very engaged point of view on his subject matter. More up to date and more comprehensive is the three-volume study consisting of Irwin 2007, Irwin 2008, and Irwin 2009. Alternatively, the second route into the subject draws on individual entries in the main reference overviews of moral philosophy. Comprehensive and very helpful recent reference overviews are Singer 1991, LaFollette 2001, Copp 2007, and Skorupski 2010. These reference overviews are divided fairly evenly between meta-ethical and normative topics.

Copp, David, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195325911.001.0001

Part 2 contains eight entries on normative ethics, including one on a topic not well represented elsewhere, namely, chapter 20, Particularism and Antitheory, by Mark Lance and Margaret Little.

Irwin, Terence. The Development of Ethics: A Historical and Critical Study. Vol. 1, From Socrates to the Reformation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

This is the first volume of a trilogy that is the outstanding recent multivolume history ethical thought by classical scholar Terence Irwin.

Irwin, Terence. The Development of Ethics: A Historical and Critical Study. Vol. 2, From Suarez to Rousseau. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

The continuation of Irwins narrative through the early modern period.

Irwin, Terence. The Development of Ethics: A Historical and Critical Study. Vol. 3, From Kant to Rawls. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Irwins trilogy concludes with a volume that extends up to the moral philosophy of Rawls. It includes three chapters that are thematic overviews of trends in recent moral philosophy.

LaFollette, Hugh. The Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001.

Entries on Act-Utilitarianism by R.G. Frey, Rule-Consequentialism by Brad Hooker, essays on Deontology by Frances Myrna Kamm, Thomas E. Hill Jr., Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, David McNaughton, and L.W. Sumner. An entry on Virtue Ethics by Michael Slote.

MacIntyre, Alasdair. A Short History of Ethics: A History of Moral Philosophy from the Homeric Age to the Twentieth Century. 2d ed. London: Routledge, 1998.

A second edition of a book from 1966 that is the best concise, single-volume history of ethics.

Singer, Peter, ed. A Companion to Ethics. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991.

Contains entries on Kantian Ethics by Onora ONeill, Contemporary Deontology by Nancy Ann Davis, Consequentialism by Philip Pettit, and Virtue Theory by Greg Pence.

Skorupski, John, ed. The Routledge Companion to Ethics. London: Routledge, 2010.

Part 4, entitled Perspectives in Ethics, contains entries on Consequentialism by Brad Hooker, Contemporary Kantian Ethics by Andrews Reath, Virtue Ethics by Michael Slote, and Contractualism by Rahul Kumar.

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