Reading Parfit: On What Matters (Paperback) book cover

Reading Parfit

On What Matters

Edited by Simon Kirchin

© 2017 – Routledge

242 pages

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pub: 2017-03-21
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Description

Derek Parfit was one of the world’s leading philosophers. His On What Matters was the most eagerly awaited book in philosophy for many years. Reading Parfit: On What Matters is an essential overview and assessment of volumes 1 and 2 of Parfit’s monumental work by a team of international contributors, and includes responses by Parfit himself. It discusses central features of Parfit’s book, including the structure and nature of reasons; the ideas underlying moral principles; Parfit’s discussions of consequentialism, contractualism and Kantian deontology; and his metaethical ideas and arguments.

Reading Parfit will be central reading for students of ethics and anyone seeking a deeper understanding of one of the most important works of philosophy published in the last fifty years.

Reviews

"Derek Parfit’s On What Matters is a major contribution to moral philosophy. The timely essays of this wonderful volumeboth clarify and evaluate Parfit’s central arguments. Anyone interested in Parfit’s work should study them carefully." Jussi Suikkanen, University of Birmingham, UK

"Reading Parfit features an impressive group of ethicists and metaethicists offering well-aimed critiques of Parfit’s many arguments from his book, On What Matters. Parfit reacts in his characteristic style in a long response essay. The discussion illuminates many of the most important features of his argument and position. Mark van Roojen, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, USA

Derek Parfit was one of the world’s leading philosophers. His On What Matters is the most eagerly-awaited book in philosophy for many years and heralded by Peter Singer in the Times Literary Supplement as "the most significant work in ethics since Sidgwick’s masterpiece, The Methods of Ethics, was published in 1873."

Table of Contents

Notes on contributors

Acknowledgements

Introduction

SIMON KIRCHIN

1. Reflections from Wolf and Wood: Incommensurability, Guidance, and the ‘Smoothing Over’ of Ethical Life

SIMON KIRCHIN

2. Normative Naturalism and Normative Nihilism: Parfit’s Dilemma for

Naturalism.

DAVID COPP

3. On what it is to Matter

JULIA MARKOVITS

4. The Buck-Passing Account of Value: Assessing the Negative Thesis

PHILIP STRATTON-LAKE

5. Normativity, Reasons and Wrongness: How to be a Two-Tiered Theorist

DAVID McNAUGHTON and PIERS RAWLING

6. Wrong-making Reasons

KIERAN SETIYA

7. Parfit on Reasons and Rule Consequentialism

DOUGLAS W. PORTMORE

8. Advice for Non-analytic Naturalists

J. L. DOWELL and DAVID SOBEL

9. Contingency and Constructivism

JULIA DRIVER

10. Responses

DEREK PARFIT

Index

Index

About the Editor

Contributors: David Copp, J.L. Dowell and David Sobel, Julia Driver, Simon Kirchin, David McNaughton and Piers Rawling, Julia Markovits, Derek Parfit, Douglas W. Portmore, Kieran Setiya and Philip Stratton-Lake.

Simon Kirchin is Reader in Philosophy at the University of Kent. He is the author of Metaethics (2012) and is the editor of Arguing about Metaethics (with Andrew Fisher) (Routledge, 2006).

Derek Parfit (1942–2017) was for many years a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, retiring as Senior Research Fellow in 2010, whereupon he became an Emeritus Fellow. He also held visiting professorships at New York University, Harvard and Rutgers.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHI000000
PHILOSOPHY / General

Editor Interview

Editor Interview: Simon Kirchin

For more information about this book, read our exclusive interview with Simon Kirchin to find out why Derek Parfit was such an influential philosopher, as well as discussion of Parfit's theories including Contractualism and 'Triple Theory'.

Read the interview