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Acting on Principle
An Essay on Kantian Ethics

2nd Edition


  • Date Published: December 2013
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107675537

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About the Authors
  • 'Two things', wrote Kant, 'fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe: the starry heavens above and the moral law within'. Many would argue that since Kant's day, the study of the starry heavens has advanced while ethics has stagnated, and in particular that Kant's ethics offers an empty formalism that tells us nothing about how we should live. In Acting on Principle Onora O'Neill shows that Kantian ethics has practical as well as philosophical importance. First published in 1975, the book is regarded as a classic account and defence of the Kantian ethical position. It addresses Kant's account of reasoning about action, in particular his controversial claim that the Categorical Imperative guides action and is basic to ethics and justice. This second edition offers a substantial new introduction and updated bibliography, and will be valuable for a wide readership in Kant studies and those studying ethics.

    • A second edition featuring a substantial new introduction and updated bibliography by Onora O'Neill
    • Shows that the Kantian Categorical Imperative offers a rigorous, interesting and in many ways convincing account of reasoned decisions about how to act
    • Sets reasoning about what we should do in a broad ethical landscape in which right action, duties (both to oneself and to others) and virtues all have a place
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The most incisive and thoughtful defence of Kant along these lines that we have … [O'Neill] writes with a kind of brisk lucidity that is entirely admirable.' The Times Literary Supplement

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    Product details

    • Edition: 2nd Edition
    • Date Published: December 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107675537
    • length: 297 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Preface to the original edition
    Introduction to the second edition
    1. Principles of action
    2. The problem of relevant act descriptions
    3. A solution to the problem of relevant descriptions
    4. Ethical categories
    5. Applying the categorical imperative
    6. An assessment of Kant's ethical theory
    7. Right decisions and assessments of right

  • Author

    Onora O'Neill
    Onora O'Neill is a cross-bench member of the House of Lords. She has written extensively on ethics and political philosophy and in particular on Kant. Recent books include: A Question of Trust: The BBC Reith Lectures 2002 (Cambridge University Press, 2002), Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics (2002) and Rethinking Informed Consent in Bioethics (with Neil Manson, 2007).

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