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Moral Theory: A Non-Consequentialist Approach




Moral Theory: A Non-Consequentialist Approach

David S. Oderberg

ISBN: 978-0-631-21903-3 February 2000 Wiley-Blackwell 212 Pages


Moral Theory sets out the basic system used to solve moral problems, the system that consequentialists deride as 'traditional morality'. The central concepts, principles and distinctions of traditional morality are explained and defended: rights; justice; the good; virtue; the intention/foresight distinction; the acts/omissions distinction; and, centrally, the fundamental value of human life.
Preface and Acknowledgements.

1 Ethics, Knowledge and Action.

1.1 Introduction.

1.2 Ethics and Knowledge.

The Fact-Value Distinction.


Prescriptivism and Expressivism.

1.3 Ethics and Action.

2 Basic Concepts in Moral Theory I.

2.1 Introduction.

2.2 The Good.

2.3 Virtue.

2.4 Rights and Duties.

2.5 Rights and Contracts.

2.6 Rights and Consequentialism.

2.7 Collision of Rights.

3 Basic Concepts in Moral Theory II.

3.1 Intention and Foresight.

Good, Evil and the Will.

The Principle of Double Effect.

Criticisms of PDE and Replies.

3.2 Acts and Omissions.

Another Derided Distinction.

Initial Clarifications of AOD.

The Derided Distinction Defended.

4 Close-Up on the Good of Life.

4.1 Life as a Good.

4.2 The Right to Life and the Sanctity of Life.

4.3 The Sanctity of Life and its Critics:.


A Life Not Worth Living?.

4.4 Persons and Human Beings.

Notes and Further Reading.


"Oderberg's discussion of [the] issues is rich and thought provoking. [The] work is, even for non-believers, an important and engaging statement of non-consequentialist moral theory" Kaspar Lippert-Rasmussen, The Philosophical Quarterly, vol. 51, no. 204, July 2001.

"Oderberg writes clearly and with precision in a way that is neither patronising, popularist, or difficult.... His is a serious look at what's gone wrong in recent moral philosophy and at how we ought to recast our theories. As such it offers no feel good John Lennon 'Imagine' type view of the changed world. What it does instead is to remind us of a strangely misplaced aim to morality, that of living the good life, of simply being or trying to be a good and whole person....This is a book that throws a new light in a new direction on an old subject and as such should be widely read by both those in the business of philosophy and, perhaps equally importantly, by those outside the academic circles." Reviewed by Ashley Harrold, bookseller at Blackwell's Bookshop, King's Road Reading

"Moral Theory ... provides a welcome alternative to current debates dominated by the consequentialist approach" CHOICE

  • Presents a controversial non-consequentialist view of ethics that will provoke lively debate among liberal moral philosophers such as Peter Singer and his proponents.

  • Explains the leading ideas of traditional morality in a straightforward way.
  • Equips the reader with the theorietical groundwork necessary to apply traditional morality to modern-day controversies.